On the National Scale

From an expert viewpoint

  • Establishing participatory processes and structures
  • Creating local funds
  • Improving local and public decision-making and planning institutions
  • Mobilizing and organizing active groups at the village level
  • Fostering the belief  that participating in the decision-making process, sharing responsibility, and having the power to make choices form the true and tangible components of public participation in it real sense;
  • Preparing the grounds for communication among official and local institutions based on a team planning approach;
  • Change of attitudes among local communities toward participation in planning and its significance;
  • Exercising participatory work at the intra-sectoral and, to a lesser degree, inter-sectoral levels among and between public organizations toward the implementation of a single project;
  • Enhancement of skills for identifying problems and needs, prioritizing problems, developing solutions by the local communities and capacity building among the local people;
  • Introducing project development skills for meeting the needs by the local people;
  • Preparing the grounds for the youths and women to play better and more active roles;
  • Admission of women into the village decision-making systems;
  • Establishing a transient relation (which unfortunately broke up soon) between the local unofficial fund and the Bank of Agriculture (in the pilot villages of Lazour and Hesarbon);
  • Improving the management role of the local Islamic councils in accordance with provisions made in the national Constitution of I.R.I;
  • Change of attitude among some of the officers involved in project implementation toward participatory project execution and its significance for local communities;
  • Implementing GEF/SGP projects in the pilot villages including pharmaceutical plants project, bee-breeding project, and Farm School (FFS) project.
  • Ensuring an effective life for most projects due to the sense of responsibility by  the local people in the preservation and ,maintenance of projects executed;
  • Instilling self-trust among  local communities with regard to their power to design and implement projects;
  • Developing unified projects by integrating expert views and local people aspirations using local indigenous knowledge, modern science, sense of responsibility, and commitment to project implementation;
  • Establishing the fact that projects derived from real problems guarantee their own success;
  • Training of project officers, managers, and facilitators and developing participatory methods for the land and farm management in Tehran and Semnan provinces;
  • Gaining successful experiences in some of the pilot villages and empowerment of local communities; the process has had the potential for replication in other parts of Semnan Province (Kalpush village near Shahroud);
  • Execution of a major portion of the reclamation projects in agriculture and watershed management using the participatory approach leading to valuable experiences gained in participatory project execution;
  • Promoting the public participatory culture in executing soil and water projects in the region, especially in educational centers such as Garmsar Azad Islamic University
  • Reducing public expectations from the government agencies during the participatory workshops held at the local level; a valuable experience that deserves consideration;
  • Enhancing skills for pest control in such crops as wheat, barley, watermelon, cotton, etc. as well as irrigation management through executing pilot projects, joint investment in constructing and equipping a pilot lab; these activities led to reduced costs for local farmers and its sustainability was measured against its further development after the project was completed.
  • Paying due attention to organizing the rural community using financial instruments; this measure was capable of taking decisive steps toward project objectives;
  • Paying due attention to people’s livelihood and food basket and projects were planned, designed and executed toward this goal;
  • Strengthening and enhancing the culture for optimal exploitation of natural resources and making efforts to develop a participatory model sensitive to the socio-economic conditions of the neighborhood;
  • Increasing direct income for portions of the rural men and women communities;
  • Familiarizing the rural people with the potentials and resources available at the village by helping them to draw maps of these resources and their villages;

From the viewpoint of the rural people

  • It was a good project (we never imagined all in the same pot); now, we are in a better position to sit together and think together for our problems
  • Improved the relations among users sharing the same water resources (Qanats and irrigation networks) to better manage the present situation and to reclaim the traditional irrigation systems and, finally, to reduce conflicts
  • Reclamation of Qanats, construction of water storage tanks, and improvement of farm irrigation system
  • Improved production conditions and income level for certain groups of farmers and landlords (in the case of projects already implemented)
  • Establishment of a local cooperative with local people as members for providing the potential for enhanced sustainable income through optimized exploitation of soil and water resources
  • People learned that prohibition of rangeland is better than seeding it, and that seeding is better planting seedlings
  • Controlling and reducing damages due to floods and protecting roads and residences
  • Beautification of the Havir and Dehnar villages by constructing dykes along the rivers
  • Improved relations and understanding between local people and such public agencies as natural resources and watershed management organizations
  • Reducing grazing pressures on rangelands
  • Increased efficiency in meat production due to the establishment of a grazing management system , especially by increasing access to drinking water for the cattle by constructing water storage tanks at suitable locations
  • Improving conditions for continued production and increasing orchard areas in valleys where flooding events have come under control
  • Improved traffic to and from villages by constructing access roads
  • Increased income for fruit growers and seasonal crop growers due to facilitated transportation at the right time and reduced transportation costs
  • Reduced product wastage due to faster transportation and improved access to markets
  • Creating pilot extension farms and production of plant gist and extracts from pharmaceutical plants by an independent women’s cooperative
  • He detailed study for operation carried out by the consultant, adequate and relevant coordination was foreseen between the facilitators and the rural planning group using a participatory approach
  • Actual practice in participatory development of projects in response to potentials available and the demands of the community
  • Creating a local fund and developing its constitution in which the fund is designed to rely on domestic resources
  • Introducing preservation regulations into the traditional rangeland management systems and making efforts to alter and modify the traditional migratory and livestock breeding practices by the Livestock Breeders Committee of the Lezour Village
  • Dissemination of the success stories and achievements of Lezour village in national and international journals and periodicals
  • Establishing village coordination committee from among male and female trustees
  • Setting up a village central group for planning, designing and executing projects
  • Successful execution of various projects under the local people’s direct management and with their participation
  • Participation of women in Lazour village in different fairs at the provincial, national, and international levels (held in Hamedan, Tehran, Damavand, and Kish Island)
  • Promoting local people’s skills and power to follow up the decisions about different projects with government departments and agencies (mineral water, tourism, and cooperative projects)
  • Developing a role-model and setting examples for their peers from other villages to follow
  • Assisting rural people’ income and livelihood
  • Publication of the Hablehrud project report in the Journal of  World Resource
  • Publication of a paper on the project in Washington Post
  • Visits by UN experts, NGOs, and international experts paid to the project sites
  • Selection of Lazour Village by the World Bank as an example village
  • Direct relation between the village central group in Lazour with UN and implementation of joint projects on preservation of pharmaceutical and endangered plants and development of the rangeland plan through joint efforts of the women

Lessons learned

  • Projects with long-term returns disrupt the stability of rural organizations; they should, therefore, be implemented along with projects with short-term returns.
  • Familiarity with the culture, traditions, and customs of the rural people and establishing cultural and friendly relations with the target community are helpful and instrumental in project execution.
  • Classification of the rural people in terms of age and education, and their categorization in terms of activities help project implementation.
  • People tend to get involved deeper into planning, execution, and protection of a project if they have personal interests in it; this is true especially true if portions of the project is assigned to individual to execute.
  • This report was presented to third meeting of the steering committee of the Hablehrud Project on 5 August 2009.