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Area Based Development Findings, Recommendations, Lessons Learnt. “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back”. ABD Programming. ABD project is a long-term intervention targeting integrated multi- sectoral , multi-donor and multi-beneficiary intervention ;

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Area Based Development

Findings, Recommendations, Lessons Learnt

“To know the road ahead, ask those coming back”

Abd programming
ABD Programming

  • ABD project is a long-term intervention targeting integrated multi-sectoral, multi-donor and multi-beneficiary intervention;

  • Programming is very important – involvement of stakeholders is crucial for the project success!

    • It is very difficult to design an ABD projects;

    • How to identify all the stakeholders?

    • How to accommodate all the interests?

    • How to involve stakeholders at the national level?

    • Other donor agencies?

    • Proper planning of the exit strategy is very important

Abd programming1
ABD Programming

  • Project evaluations have shown insufficient involvement of stakeholders in the programming phase;

  • Practical implications: lack of ownership/commitment, donor dependency/clientelism

Abd programming2
ABD Programming

  • Be aware: one project intervention cannot solve all the problems in the area – keep the focus on the main problem(s);

  • Make SMART Objectives and RACER (Relevant, Accepted, Credible, Easy and Robust) Indicators;

  • Make sure implementation arrangements are appropriate for the efficient and effective project delivery;

  • A contingency reserve is necessary to budget;

Abd programming3
ABD Programming

Always be honest with the beneficiaries about what they will/can get from the project;


  • Be aware, ABD project implementation is even more difficult than programming!

  • It’s very difficult to coordinate multi-stakeholder initiative – building trust is crucial!

    • Always start with quick wins and with outputs that produce high visibility;

    • Be aware of hidden agendas, lobby groups, political interests, etc;

    • Try to get substantial involvement of policy makers at the national level;

    • Networking is good but there is a work to be done - keep stakeholders tight to their responsibilities;


  • Management structures should be carefully designed, potential management responsibilities of stakeholders should be clearly described;

  • Who is responsible and accountable for steering the project?

  • The location of the main project office should be chosen by consensus of all/majority of beneficiaries.

  • It is important to keep the high presence in the field – having local coordinators might be costly but will contribute significantly to the results delivery.


  • Donor demands for having quick results and for keeping the budgeting schedule might spoil the quality of the project results;

  • Do not rush, try to be flexible as much as possible;


  • No matter how well the project document is written, likelihood to be changed is almost certain to happen

    • Beneficiaries and donors change their priorities: make a review of the stakeholder analysis;

    • It’s easy to be pulled out to a different direction;

  • If the changes happens during the implementation phase, make sure they are well documented and objectives/results/indicators/implementation modality are adjusted to the new circumstances;


  • Try to get beneficiaries involved in project implementation as much as possible - it is important to make them to be proud of being part of the projects;

  • Try not to get involved in (local) politics (usually it is unavoidable);

  • ABD is about developing local capacities – have that in mind when doing recruitment and tendering;


  • Direct impact in the field of project intervention is very difficult to achieve

  • How and when to measure impact?

  • Do not have high expectation in achieving quick impact results on long term issues such as capacity development/institutional building, knowledge transfer, etc.

  • Spin-offs are likely to happen (how to capture them?)


  • Very often one ABD project intervention is not sufficient to make substantial changes on target groups;

  • Sustainability is possible to achieve only if beneficiaries are actively/gradually engaged in implementation from the beginning;

  • Do not expect the public sector will (be able to) handle over the project after the implementation;

  • Do not leave beneficiaries without support between two phases of projects;

  • Try to coordinate with other donors;