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People Centered Planning: A Suggested Model for Central Asian countries Dr. Amitava Mukherjee Regional Advisor for Poverty Reduction United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Some Problem Statements Unemployment is a major problem

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People Centered Planning: A Suggested Model for Central Asian countries

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people centered planning a suggested model for central asian countries

People Centered Planning: A Suggested Model for Central Asian countries

Dr. Amitava Mukherjee

Regional Advisor for Poverty Reduction

United Nations

Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

some problem statements
Some Problem Statements
  • Unemployment is a major problem
  • Disguised unemployment in Agriculture
  • Migration is rampant and significant
  • “Welfarist” Approach of the GoK being replaced
  • Models set up by Donors like UNDP, EU Assisted Projects (Rural Advisory Services) etc needs scaling up.
  • Many relatively small scale interventions
planning system an interim finding
Planning System: An Interim Finding
  • A system of “prognosis” in place at national level: short and medium term.
  • National perspective is 1-3 and 3 years
  • At Regional level, plans are prepared by Departments and at Village level plans are prepared by Village Office
  • Plans are integrated at the Regional Level
addition to past efforts
Addition to PAST EFFORTS
  • UNDP Efforts; World Bank assisted projects and current system
  • Add:

Participation of People.

Resources: Social, Physical, Political, Natural and Financial Capital

one way to improve and institutionalize planning
One Way to Improve and Institutionalize planning
  • “Bottom up approach”
  • People at the center stage: they know best.
  • Move to empowerment approach to development through people centered planning (PCP)
  • Change attitudes and behavior
why would people centered planning would yield better result
Why would people centered planning would yield better result?
  • Different approach
  • Different perspective
  • Different methods
  • Different knowledge base
  • Different technology
  • Different ownership
the foundations
The Foundations
  • Go to the people!
  • Live with them!
  • Love them!
  • Learn from them!
  • Plan with them!
  • Start with what they have!
why go to the people whose reality counts
Why Go to the People? Whose Reality Counts
  • Whose analysis: their’s or ours?
  • Whose criteria: their’s or ours?
  • Whose problems: their’s or ours?
  • Whose needs: their’s or ours?
  • Whose planning: their’s or ours?
  • Whose monitoring: their’s or ours?
  • Whose evaluation: their’s or ours?
  • Whose value system: their’s or ours?
  • Whose knowledge: their’s or ours?
step 1 sensitizing the community

Step 1: Sensitizing the Community

Sensitizing the community is a composite of several steps.

(1) If the community being worked with is new to Planning facilitators, the obvious thing to do first is to “build rapport”.

(2) Inform the community, the purpose of the planning exercise, its scope, limitations and the parameters within which it must operate. Open and transparent beginning is very important.

(3) Managing the community’s expectation.

(4) Making an assessment of the preparedness of the community to participate in the planning exercise.

step 2 determining the planning approach and the process
Step 2: Determining the Planning Approach and the Process

The people centered planning process has to ideally inter alia determine


  • Composition of the multi-disciplinary team of facilitators, avoiding the eight biases (a) Time Bias, (b) People Bias, (c) Professional Bias, (d) Gender Bias, (e) Seasonal Bias, (f) Location Bias, (g) Organizational Bias and (h) Institutional Bias.
  • Kind of participation that the facilitator is seeking: eight kinds of participation: passive participation, participation by furnishing information, participation by consultation, participation for material incentives functional participation, participation by self-mobilization, participation by contribution and partipulation (participation by manipulation).
  • In people centered planning, seek interactive-participation.
  • Entry point for the people centered planning.
  • Time to start the “process” avoiding time bias and seasonal bias
step 3 community s dream determining the community s perspective
Step 3: Community’s Dream: Determining the Community’s Perspective
  • The understanding the community’s perspective is fundamental to a good people centered planning: what changes does the community see as signaling their development, which must be reached.
  • Good governance, increased political participation, enhanced social, capital, sustainable livelihoods, modernization of agriculture, higher levels of household income or whatever.
  • “Sectoral dreams” (read perspective) (“health for all”) as well like “Social dreams” (“a migration free country”).
step 4 situation analysis

Step 4: Situation Analysis

People centered planning is a system (when applied to a community or an area) in which, people produce in most cases most ofl the required data.

Analysis by the people: Whose reality Counts?

five kinds of analysis

Five Kinds of Analysis

Analysis of Space

Analysis of Time

Analysis of Relationships

Analysis of Institutions

Analysis of Priorities

There is no particular sequence in which these could be done. But generally, it is easy to start with analysis of space.


Fig. 3: Phase of

Low Level

of Facilitation


Analysis of Space: Social overhead (Schools, Health outlets, roads etc.), availability of resources (natural resources, infrastructure, soil types, common property resources etc.)

Analysis of Time: historical development of the area, major events in the life of people, seasonal variations in economic and social variables like employment, food intake, credit availability etc., major trends in livelihood, state of resource etc.

Situation Analysis

Analysis of social and economic relationships between castes, class, religious groups, political parties, institutions, employment provider etc.

Analysis of Institutions: importance and efficiency, utility, accessibility, usefulness etc. a different institutions interfacing the community

Analysis of preferences for institutions, facilities, resources etc. of different groups of people, women, men and girl children, marginalized groups like disabled, SCs and STs etc.

Prioritized activities or Goals for solving the problems relating to space, time, relationships and institutional arrangements.

Problems Identification

Problems relating to space, time, relationships and institutional arrangements.

Prioritization of the Problems

Activity Prioritization

Solutions to problems relating to space, time, relationships and institutional arrangements.

Finding Solutions: Gives Activities or Projects

step 5 potential problem identification

Step 5: Potential Problem Identification

The situation analysis will lead to identification of the potential and problems of the people.

(i) Space (such as lack of access roads)

(ii) Time (seasonal unemployment, seasonal diseases).

(iii) Institutions (such as decay of community institutions or familial social security system or long run degradation of moral values).

(iv) Relationships (gender discrimination).

(v) Preferences (traditional water harvesting structures or lift irrigation).

fig 4 phase of high facilitation and moving to box three of johari s window

Finding, Solutions: Yields Activities or Projects

Activity Prioritization: This will yield the Goals

Activities relating to problems of relationships caste, class and gender discrimination

Solutions (activities) for solving problems relating to space: degradation of natural resources, depletion of CPR lack of roads, poor housing, lack of basic facilities in the area, problems of markets etc.

Activities to deal with problems of access; denial of access for marginalized groups to basic needs; discrimination in access to public services; lack of access to resources (such as land, water forest), access to markets and raw materials etc.

Prioritized activities or Goals for solving the problems relating to space, time, relationships and institutional arrangements

Solution to problem relating to time: seasonal unemployment seasonal shortage of food, seasonal availability of credit, seasonal volatility of income etc.

Fig. 4. Phase of high Facilitation and Moving to box three of Johari’s Window

Activities to deal with institutional problems inefficiency, corruption, inaccessibility etc.

Location of private benefits

Location of public services

Spatial Planning

Location of community benefits

step 6 problem prioritization
Step 6: Problem Prioritization
  • The problems identified need to be placed in an ordered sequence in terms of their importance.
  • Prioritization of problems is a crucial step.
  • The prioritized problems, become the objectives of the people centered planning.
  • For instance, the problem identified is poor quality of sanitation, then the objective of the plan will be to “improve the quality of sanitation”. If unemployment is a major problems, then objective of the plan will be “employment generation”.
step 7a finding solutions
Step 7A: Finding Solutions

There can be two sources of solutions.

  • One the people will their own solutions, based on indigenous knowledge (tacit knowledge), indigenous technology, traditional wisdom and practices.
  • In terms of Johari’s Window, “They Know-We Do Not Know” Box.
  • Two, the facilitators may need to supply the people with knowledge which outsiders have such as technical knowledge.
  • Fill in Box-3 of Johari’s Window (“We Know-They Do Not Know”) to help the people generate alternative solutions and make an informed choice.
step 7b finding solutions what they must meet
Step 7B: Finding Solutions: What they must meet
  • The solutions must meet the needs of physical planning, temporal planning and spatial planning.
  • That is, the people must say :
    • “What they want?” (Say, 2 vocational training centers).
    • “when they want it?” (Say, in year 2 of the plan period).
    • “where they want?” (Say one on the land adjoining the Village Office and the other in the Veterans colony).
  • This will enable the people to make an informed choice that will serve them best.
step 8 solution activity prioritization
Step 8: Solution (Activity) Prioritization

There is a need to prioritize the activities

  • If the people centered planning process is to generate a Closed-Ended Plan, then there may be a need to eliminate those activities, which lie beyond the ambit of the exercise.
  • If alternatively resources are limited, activities may be prioritized and a list of activities in descending order of priorities is necessary.
  • Activities will be taken up according to their rank in the list of priorities.
step 9a spatial planning
Step 9A: Spatial Planning
  • The final step in the people centered planning is the spatial planning.
  • Each of the activities has to be located in the space. For instance, if a series of tube-wells is to be constructed, the exact locations of the tube-wells have to be decided.
  • Similarly, for other activities.
step 9b kinds of spatial planning
Step 9B: Kinds of Spatial Planning

Generally, there will be three kinds of activities.

  • Activities giving individual benefit to households (such as support for housing to a widow-headed households) for giving individual benefits. In this case locate/mark especially the households which will receive the benefits.
  • Activities accruing benefits to community owned assets (say desilting a community pond). In this case locate/mark especially the community owned asset.
  • Activities, in the nature of public good (say creation of a SME).Mark the location of the new SME on the map.
step 10a determining allocation of the project
Step 10A: Determining Allocation of the Project
  • Normally, the activities that emerge out of a people centered planning process are many.
  • And many of the identified activities, will not fit into the scope of planning or cannot be accommodated within the available resources.
  • If an open-ended or integrated plan is developed, then the chances of generating a long list of desired and prioritized activities are very high.
  • It is important that as many of the activities identified by people get implemented as possible.
definition of sectors
Definition of Sectors
  • People’s Sector
  • Bank Sector
  • Government Sector
  • Donor Sector
  • Diaspora Sector

( f) Combined Sector

(g) Residual Sector

step 10b a method for allocation of the project
Step 10B: A Method for Allocation of the Project

For this purpose all activities have to be classified as falling into one of the seven sectors outlined below:

Note: p stands for people’s sector; b for bank sector, g for government sector, d for donor sector, pi for PRI sector, c for combined sector and r for residual sector.

FigActivity-Sector Classification Matrix

step 11 injecting the time element
Step 11: Injecting the Time Element
  • It is necessary to divide the activities according to a time period.
  • Normally, a people centered planning plan for three to five years should be adequate.
  • That is, activities which would be done in period-1 (year-1, month-1 or week-1 as the case may be) are clubbed in period-1. Those activities, which would be undertaken in period-2, should be classified separately. And so on.
  • The exercise of injecting time element into a people centered planning generates sequencing of activities easily.
step 12 determining appropriateness for marginalized groups
Step 12: Determining Appropriateness for Marginalized Groups
  • Often in people centered planning the marginalized groups are left out.
  • The benefits flow to those who are more vocal and those who can represent their interest forcefully.
  • Hence, it is imperative to make it doubly sure that the activities do benefit the marginalized groups.
  • To check this a Activity Benefit Matrix may be worked out with the community.

Note : A tick mark indicates the benefit of the activity to the relevant group. A cross mark indicates non-applicability of the activity of the relevant group.

Fig 6: Project Benefit Matrix