center-355600 ESAMI BUSINESS SCHOOL FOR US BY US

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ESAMI BUSINESS SCHOOL
FOR US BY US?
A STUDY INTO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES IN MALAWI
BY
ERIC ALEXANDER JELENJE
SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTERS IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (MBA)
AT
ESAMI BUSINESS SCHOOL, ARUSHA, TANZANIA
ESAMI BUSINESS SCHOOL
P.O. BOX 3030
ARUSHA
TANZANIA
SEPTEMBER 2018

DECLARATIONI, Eric Alexander Jelenje, declare that I am the sole author of this thesis, that during the period of registered study, I have not been registered for any other academic award or qualification, nor has any of the material been submitted wholly or partly for any other award. This thesis is a result of my own research work, and where other people’s research was used, they have been duly acknowledged.

Date: 14th September, 2018Signature _________________________________
CANDIDATE

SUPERVISOR ENDORSEMENTDate: ____________________________Name____________________________________
SUPERVISOR
Signature_________________________________
SUPERVISOR
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI would firstly like to thank the following who all contributed to this research:
Mr Charles Mandala and Mr Paul Chipeta of LDF, Mr Rodney Simwaka (DC, Nkhata Bay), Mr Kondwani Ghambi, Mr Isaac Mdindo and Mr Oscar Maseko of Nkhata Bay District Council, and to all the Councillors, MPs, TAs and communities of Mkumbira and Timbiri and my supervisor, Dr George Hadrian Kainja.

To my parents Alex and Mandy, and siblings, Zengani, Rachel, Tamiko, Alexander and Karen:
I am grateful for your support and words of encouragement.

To my children, Ryan and Ayanda, thank you for understanding my long absences from home and not complaining when it happened. I promise I will be around more now.

Last but not least, to my wife Mada, you have advised me and willed me on throughout this long and arduous journey and I am grateful for that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

ABSTRACTOverseas Development Assistance has been a staple of the post-colonial North-South cooperation between developed countries as donors and developing nations as recipients. But with events such as the 2008 Global Financial Crisis putting pressure on worldwide public expenditure, foreign aid flows are now at a premium. This requires countries to maximise the benefits of their expenditure on development activities and theory proposes citizen participation as the best way of doing so.
This thesis looked at determining if the concept in Malawi is effective in facilitating development, this with a view to spurring further research and advocating for increased citizen participation in development.

Using a case study approach to examine Malawi’s MASAF IV programme as implemented in one of the country’s twenty-eight administrative districts, the research utilised a mix of both qualitative and quantitative data to measure the degree of participation and whether initiatives resulting from that participation were successfully implemented.

It was found that the programme allows for a great deal of participation at the grassroots. Responsibility is predominantly bottom-up and the development projects conceived by the grassroots have mostly been implemented successfully in terms of time and cost, further supporting the positive influence of citizen participation over development. However, it was also found that there is very little grassroots participation in some important areas such as project M;E activities, resulting in poor outputs as a consequence.

Through this, the main recommendation is for continued and greater grassroots participation, as well as investing in further capacitating the community stakeholders and structures involved. Additional research within the same parameters but in more districts and a bigger population, as well as to determine the longer term effects of participation on development are also recommended.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
TOC o “1-4” h z u DECLARATION PAGEREF _Toc526672722 h iiSUPERVISOR ENDORSEMENT PAGEREF _Toc526672723 h iiiACKNOWLEDGEMENTS PAGEREF _Toc526672724 h ivABSTRACT PAGEREF _Toc526672725 h vLIST OF FIGURES PAGEREF _Toc526672726 h ixLIST OF TABLES PAGEREF _Toc526672727 h xLIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS PAGEREF _Toc526672728 h xiCHAPTER 1INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc526672729 h 121.1.Background PAGEREF _Toc526672730 h 121.2.Problem Statement PAGEREF _Toc526672731 h 151.3.Research Objectives PAGEREF _Toc526672732 h 161.4.Research Questions PAGEREF _Toc526672733 h 171.5.Research Proposition PAGEREF _Toc526672734 h 171.6.Significance of the Study PAGEREF _Toc526672735 h 171.7.Scope of the Study PAGEREF _Toc526672736 h 181.8.Limitations of the Study PAGEREF _Toc526672737 h 191.8.1.Time PAGEREF _Toc526672738 h 191.8.2.Access to Sampled Populations PAGEREF _Toc526672739 h 191.8.3.Availability of Data PAGEREF _Toc526672740 h 201.8.4.Language Barriers PAGEREF _Toc526672741 h 201.9.Thesis Structure PAGEREF _Toc526672742 h 20CHAPTER 2LITERATURE REVIEW PAGEREF _Toc526672743 h 222.1.Introduction PAGEREF _Toc526672744 h 222.2.Theoretical Framework PAGEREF _Toc526672745 h 222.2.1.Definition and History of Citizen Participation PAGEREF _Toc526672746 h 222.2.2.Types of Participation PAGEREF _Toc526672747 h 232.2.3.Means of Participation PAGEREF _Toc526672748 h 252.2.4.Decentralisation PAGEREF _Toc526672749 h 302.3.Citizen Participation in Practice PAGEREF _Toc526672750 h 322.3.1.The Third World PAGEREF _Toc526672751 h 322.3.2.Malawi PAGEREF _Toc526672752 h 332.3.3.The Malawi Social Action Fund PAGEREF _Toc526672753 h 36CHAPTER 3CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND RESEARCHMETHODOLOGY PAGEREF _Toc526672754 h 393.1.Introduction PAGEREF _Toc526672755 h 393.2.Problem Statement PAGEREF _Toc526672756 h 393.3.Research Objectives PAGEREF _Toc526672757 h 403.4.Conceptual Framework PAGEREF _Toc526672758 h 403.4.1.Citizen Participation PAGEREF _Toc526672759 h 413.4.1.1.Who Participates PAGEREF _Toc526672760 h 423.4.1.2.What Kinds of Participation Occur PAGEREF _Toc526672761 h 423.4.1.3.How is Participation Occurring? PAGEREF _Toc526672762 h 433.4.2.Successful Programme/Project Implementation PAGEREF _Toc526672763 h 433.5.Research Design PAGEREF _Toc526672764 h 443.6.Research Method PAGEREF _Toc526672765 h 453.6.1.Data Collection PAGEREF _Toc526672766 h 453.6.1.1.Primary Data PAGEREF _Toc526672767 h 473.6.1.2.Secondary Data PAGEREF _Toc526672768 h 473.6.2.Data Analysis PAGEREF _Toc526672769 h 483.7.Research Population PAGEREF _Toc526672770 h 48CHAPTER 4DATA ANALYSIS, FINDINGS AND DISCUSSIONS PAGEREF _Toc526672771 h 524.1.Introduction PAGEREF _Toc526672772 h 524.2.Case – The MASAF IV programme in Nkhata Bay PAGEREF _Toc526672773 h 524.2.1.Nkhata Bay District – A Short Overview PAGEREF _Toc526672774 h 524.2.2.MASAF IV PAGEREF _Toc526672775 h 544.2.2.1.Planning PAGEREF _Toc526672776 h 544.2.2.2.Implementation PAGEREF _Toc526672777 h 554.2.2.3.Beneficiary Selection PAGEREF _Toc526672778 h 564.3.Discussions and Findings PAGEREF _Toc526672779 h 574.3.1.How Citizen Participation is effected under MASAF IV PAGEREF _Toc526672780 h 574.3.1.1.Interviews with Government Officials PAGEREF _Toc526672781 h 574.3.1.2.Interviews with Local Leaders PAGEREF _Toc526672782 h 584.3.1.3.Interviews with Local Residents PAGEREF _Toc526672783 h 604.3.2.Assessing the National Framework for Participation Under MASAF IV PPWP PAGEREF _Toc526672784 h 634.3.3.Evaluation of overall Citizen Participation PAGEREF _Toc526672785 h 654.3.3.1.What Kind of Participation? PAGEREF _Toc526672786 h 654.3.3.2.Who Participates? PAGEREF _Toc526672787 h 694.3.3.3.How is Participation Occurring? PAGEREF _Toc526672788 h 694.3.4.Determining the Success Levels of citizen-driven projects under MASAF IV PPWP PAGEREF _Toc526672789 h 71CHAPTER 5SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS PAGEREF _Toc526672790 h 755.1.INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc526672791 h 755.2.SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS PAGEREF _Toc526672792 h 765.3.CONCLUSIONS PAGEREF _Toc526672793 h 765.3.1.MIXTURE OF BOTTOM-UP AND TOP DOWN PARTICIPATION PAGEREF _Toc526672794 h 775.3.2.LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT AND DECENTRALISATION POLICY HAVE ENHANCED CITIZEN PARTICIPATION PAGEREF _Toc526672795 h 775.3.3.LARGE PROPORTION OF SUB PROJECTS CONCEIVED BY THE GRASSROOTS SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTED PAGEREF _Toc526672796 h 775.4.RECOMMENDATIONS PAGEREF _Toc526672797 h 785.4.1.THE COUNCIL PAGEREF _Toc526672798 h 795.4.1.1.Develop a Community-Based M;E system PAGEREF _Toc526672799 h 795.4.1.2.Provide Secondary Incentives for Sub-Project Completion PAGEREF _Toc526672800 h 795.4.1.3.Incorporate Traditional Leadership in Programme Processes PAGEREF _Toc526672801 h 795.4.1.4.More Effective Distribution of Tools and Materials PAGEREF _Toc526672802 h 805.4.2.THE COMMUNITY STRUCTURES PAGEREF _Toc526672803 h 805.4.2.1.Provide Open Platform for All to Discuss Developmental Issues PAGEREF _Toc526672804 h 805.4.2.2.Enable Participation of Non-Beneficiaries PAGEREF _Toc526672805 h 805.5.FURTHER RESEARCH PAGEREF _Toc526672806 h 81BIBLIOGRAPHY PAGEREF _Toc526672807 h 82APPENDIX PAGEREF _Toc526672808 h 91Appendix A – Questionnaires for Community Stakeholders and Council Management PAGEREF _Toc526672809 h 91Appendix B – Consent letter from Nkhata Bay District Council PAGEREF _Toc526672810 h 100
LIST OF FIGURESFigure 1-ATotal assistance provided to developing countries, (USD billions), 2000 – 2016…….13
Figure 1-BDevelopment assistance received by Malawi, (USD millions), 2000 – 2016…….……14
Figure 2-ATypes of participation …………………………………………………………….……25
Figure 2-BModel for describing and analysing rural development participation………..…….……26
Figure 2-CStakeholders in citizen participation…………………………………………..…….……28
Figure 2-DCitizen Participation Ladder…………………………………………………..…….……29
Figure 2-ETypes of Decentralisation ……………………………………………………..…….……31
Figure 2-FInstitutional Framework for District Local Government .……………………..…….…..34
Figure 3-AConceptual Framework………………………………….……………………..…….……41
Figure 3-BTypes of interviews ………………………………….………………………….…….……46
Figure 4-ANkhata-Bay District………………………………….………………………….…….……52
Figure 4-BParticipation by activity type amongst Local Leaders ………………………….…….……60
Figure 4-CBeneficiary opinion of roles under PPWP …………..………………………….…….……63

LIST OF TABLESTable 3-AData collection methods for Conceptual Framework variables ……………………….45
Table 3-BAnalysis method(s) by Data type …………………….………………………….…….……48
Table 3-C Samples sizes for various stakeholders………………………………………………..49
Table 4-AList of TAs and GVHs, Nkhata Bay…………………………………………………..53
Table 4-BResponses to Participation amongst Local Leaders……………………………………59
Table 4-CRespondent classification for interviewed Local Residents……………………………61
Table 4-DLocal Resident (beneficiary) participation by activity type……………………………61
Table 4-EOpinion of role under PPWP amongst beneficiaries…………………………………..62
Table 4-FAnalysis of official roles discharged under MASAF IV PPWP ……………………….64
Table 4-GParticipation by decision type……………………………………………………………66
Table 4-HParticipation by implementation type………………………………………………….67
Table 4-IParticipation by Benefit type…………………………………………………………..68
Table 4-JOccurrence of Citizen Participation by Cohen and Uphoff’s Participation
Types…………………………………………………………………………………..69
Table 4-KAnalysis of how participation occurs………………………………………………….69
Table 4-LExtract of performance assessment……………………………………………………72
Table 4-MSummary of project performance by Triple Constraint Parameters…………………..73

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMSADC-Area Development Committee
AEC-Area Executive Committee
CBD-Community-based Development
CDD-Community-driven Development
CEO-Chief Executive Officer
CLLR-Councillor
DC-District Commissioner
DDP-District Development Plan
DCDO-District Community Development Officer
DPD-Director of Planning and Development
DPW-Director of Public Works
FEWS-Famine Early Warning System
GVH-Group Village Head
LGAP-Local Government Accountability and Performance
LGRP-Local Government Reform Programme (Tanzania)
LSD-Livelihood and Skills Development Programme
M&E-Monitoring and Evaluation
MASAF-Malawi Social Action Fund
MASAF IV-Fourth Malawi Social Action Fund
MIS-Management Information System
MLGRD-Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development
NSO-National Statistics Office (Malawi)
NZSIF-New Zealand Social Infrastructure Fund
ODA-Overseas Development Assistance
OECD-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
PMT-Proxy Means Test
PPWP-MASAF IV Productive Public Works Programme
PRD-Participatory Rural Development
PSRP-Public Sector Reform Programme (Zambia)
SCTP-Social Cash Transfer Programme
TA-Traditional Authority
USDA-United States Department of Agriculture
VDC-Village Development Committee
VH-Village Head
VLAP-Village-Level Action Plan/Planning
INTRODUCTIONBackgroundThe Republic of Malawi is a small, inland country harbouring a population of 18.09 million, which the World Bank (2018) estimates to be growing by three (3) percent annually. With approximately three-quarters of the population below the international poverty line and an economy heavily dependent on agriculture (UN 2014), Malawi relies on ODA as a means of supplementing its own resources earmarked for developmental and other public activities.

ODA refers to government-funded support channeled towards “the economic development and welfare of developing countries” (OECD 2018) and comes in multiple forms, from debt relief to the construction of social and economic infrastructure such as hospitals and roads respectively (NZSIF 2018). The assistance originates from wealthier nations and institutions set up to support in-country development. According to the World Bank (2018), Malawi received USD1.24bn in ODA in 2016.

The flow of development aid from rich to poor countries has become volatile. Statistics from the OECD (Figure 1-A) indicate that, despite reaching its highest ever total of USD144 billion in 2016, aid flows in preceding years had been a mixture of dips and rises, specifically between 2005 and 2007, and from 2010 to 2012.The trend in the latter years could be attributed to the effects of the 2008 financial crisis, which was predicted to cause across-the-board budget cuts in donor countries, in turn affecting ODA levels (Dabla-Norris, Minoiu and Zanna 2010).

Figure 1-A: Total assistance provided to developing countries, (USD billions), 2000 – 2016.
Source: Adapted from OECD. 2018. “Distribution of net ODA: Least developed countries, Million US Dollars, 2000 – 2016,”OECD Online. Available from https://data.oecd.org/oda/distribution-of-net-oda.htm#indicator-chart; Internet; accessed 19 February 2018
This volatility is similarly evident when analysing aid figures for Malawi. World Bank statistics show a similar if not worse trend than that globally over the same period (Figure 1-B). Furthermore, events such as the recent Cashgate scandal contributed to this, with key donors having pulled out of supporting Malawi on multiple occasions (BBC 2011), the effects of which were likely witnessed between 2010 and 2015.

Figure 1-B: Development assistance received by Malawi, (USD millions), 2000 – 2016.
Source: Adapted from World Bank. 2018. “Net official development assistance and official aid received (current US$),” World Bank Online. Home Page Online. Available from https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/DT.ODA.ALLD.CD?end=2016&start=2000 ; Internet; accessed 19 February 2018.

It does not appear that the status quo will change any time soon. Donors are non-committal about resumption of aid (Jimu 2015); that said, since 2015, the United Kingdom has been channeling aid “off-budget”, through means other than funding Malawi’s annual National Budget (Khunga 2015).

Against this backdrop, it is obvious that the world is and will continue to operate under resource constraints. The developing world will need to maximize the benefits from what little there is in ODA and this calls for continued and critical appraisals of how development processes are managed and effected.

Recent history has seen the emergence of development initiatives driven by the contributions of those societies to benefit. This “citizen participation” centers on allowing the ordinary masses to influence decision-making around policies or programmes targeted towards socio-economic development (UNPAN 2008).

Ahmad and Abu Talib (2011, 58) use the term Participatory Rural Development (PRD) in reference to grassroots involvement and accountability-driven development programmes; Mansuri and Rao (2004, 1) use the prefixes “Community-based” and “Community-driven” to describe development resulting from initiatives that “include” the grassroots and gives them the final say. The two also cite decentralisation, the provision of responsibility for planning, decision-making and public sector management from the top levels of government downwards (Rondinelli, 1981, cited by Conyers, 1986), as a mechanism for advancing PRD and, in turn, citizen participation.

This purported benefit was at the heart of Malawi’s decentralisation programme, through which accountability shifted from central government to District and Urban Councils in Malawi’s twenty-eight (28) districts (Chiweza 2010, 21). Piggybacking on this devolution of power, there has been an upsurge in donor-funded development programmes such as MASAF IV and LGAP that explicitly engage communities for their input throughout the project life cycle (LDF 2014; DAI 2016).

With this much investment and focus on citizen participation, can it be deemed to be a more effective approach to enhancing community development than other methods such as, say, a “top down” style where development priorities are determined by the summit of the hierarchy?
With the Malawi Fourth Social Action Fund (MASAF IV) Strengthening Safety Nets Programme as the reference case, this thesis attempts to determine if citizen participation has worked and whether it has a future in development activities in Malawi.

Problem StatementAs alluded to before, citizen participation has been touted as an ideal mechanism for driving the success of development initiatives in the third world.
But does allowing the citizenry to influence the direction of a project or programme that will benefit them work? If they are allowed to choose the type of initiative, will their choice be something that works? Are they capable of amassing the technical know-how they need to effectively participate in all the relevant processes? Should citizens be allowed free reign or should their involvement be restricted to specific processes or activities?
Determining whether this type of participation is indeed a driver of development in Malawi is the primary issue this research will look into. Whilst there are multiple examples of success outside of Malawi, such as with the farmer-led irrigation schemes concept in Sri Lanka (UN 2016, 134), there is very little research on citizen participation in actual development projects in Malawi and whether that has led to improved socio-economic development.

Through this thesis, the researcher attempted to establish if there is a correlation between citizen participation and the success of development projects in Malawi, with focus on the Malawi Fourth Social Action Fund (MASAF IV) programme, which is centered on the participation of its beneficiary communities at multiple levels, including the selection of development projects as well as the utilisation of beneficiaries as labour (LDF 2014).

As alluded to before, the ambiguity around citizen participation validates this research; the significant financial investment in community-driven development programmes in Malawi is based on foreign examples, which in no way guarantees success in this country. As such, not researching the problem area maintains the status quo, which is the potential mis-utilisation of already scarce economic resources through a development approach that is relatively unproven locally.

Research ObjectivesWith the above in mind, the primary objective of the research was to determine if the participation of citizens or communities can result in successful development projects or programmes in Malawi.

From this, the following secondary objectives also drove the research:
To determine how citizens at the grassroots participate in the selection and implementation of initiatives under the PPWP sub-component of MASAF IV.

To determine if national policies on citizen participation have worked under MASAF IV.

To establish the level of success of implemented citizen-driven PPWP projects.

To make recommendations that can help improve and/or boost the effectiveness of citizen participation.

Research QuestionsFrom the objectives, the research attempted to answer the following questions:
What mechanisms does the MASAF IV programme apply to enable citizens to participate in the programme in Nkhata Bay?
Are there national policies/legislative instruments designed to support citizen participation? How successful have they been in doing so?
Of the projects selected by the grassroots and implemented under MASAF IV, how many have been successfully completed?
From the findings, can any recommendations be made to make citizen participation more effective or enhance its benefits?
Research PropositionOnce undertaken, the research looked to determine the validity of the following proposition: Citizen Participation results in development projects/programmes being implemented successfully
Significance of the StudyAs highlighted in the introduction, Malawi with other developing countries receive a great deal of finances in the form of development aid, part of which is invested in quite resource-intensive development programmes. For example, up to USD 107 million will have been invested in the MASAF IV programme upon its completion (LDF 2014), an amount higher than the respective amounts in aid received annually in all but four (4) of the last sixteen (16) years. The Government of Malawi, World Bank as financiers and other stakeholders will be keen to see this investment reap dividends and provide lessons for the future. Part of their focus will be on assessing how involved the communities are choosing projects and how well these projects are implemented, issues which will be tackled by this study.

As such, this research is important because of the potential to confirm or rethink the established theory around citizen participation and, in turn, its applicability in Malawi. The issues being tackled by the research are also relevant to socio-economic development nationally and the findings can be used as evidence for developing future policies.

With MASAF IV nearing its 2019 end date, this research could be utilised as one of possibly multiple independent evaluations of the programme, thereby feeding into the design process for future development initiatives in general.

Most importantly, the ultimate goal for the country is to advance socio-economic development and it is intended for this research to contribute to the debate around ideal third-world development mechanisms.

Scope of the StudyDue to time and other resource constraints, the study was done in the district of Nkhata Bay. According to official records, the district has 9212 beneficiaries under PPWP, 5800 under SCTP and 5,937 under LSD; the latter has no limits on how many people can benefit. The district was selected primarily because it and Dedza were the two districts that have served as test areas for some of the key initiatives introduced under the programme between its inception in 2014 and now, such as the Mthandizi MIS used to manage beneficiaries, whose validation meetings were documented on the Malawi Social Support Programme’s Facebook page on 9 June, 2015. Additionally, the district is where the researcher works and this made the data collection process easier.
Although there are multiple programmes in Malawi driven by citizen participation, the MASAF IV programme was the reference because of its coverage across Malawi and that the implementation modalities in one district are representative of what is being done across the country. Because this research was primarily at community level, the focus was on community development, explained as being concerned with improvement of the welfare of people within a specific jurisdiction (Nikkhah and Redzuan 2009, 170), as opposed to the development of the country as a whole.
Additionally, the research only focused on the aspects of the programme that allow for the highest in terms of potential participation of the citizenry, including project selection, implementation and monitoring and evaluation, which is the Productive Public Works Programme (PPWP) (LDF 2014). The Livelihood and Skills Development (LSD) component, which is indicated to have an element of participation and the Social Cash Transfer sub-component, which only sees beneficiaries receive cash handouts, were not studied because of time restrictions.
Limitations of the StudyOver the course of the research being undertaken, the following were the issues identified that affected how key activities were undertaken.

TimeDue to the researcher concurrently committed to work assignments, preparation for exams and writing this thesis, the time apportioned to the thesis was affected by the other undertakings. Additionally, the researcher engaged work colleagues assigned to working in the areas sampled who themselves had to balance time between the research and their own work. This also affected the completion of the research against planned timelines.

Access to Sampled PopulationsDue to the research being undertaken in a rural setting, it was sometimes difficult to meet respondents. This was as result of factors such as rough terrain, poor roads and the inability to communicate with respondents over the phone, which affected the response rate.

Availability of DataThere was also difficulty in obtaining data, in this instance secondary, because of incomplete, unavailable or outdated records and reports from sources including the Council and online.

Language BarriersThe rural setting of the research issue meant that the interactions were with a majority of respondents that are not fluent in English. This meant that the researcher and research assistants had to translate the questions and responses into and from the vernacular respectively, which affected the time taken to complete questionnaires and interviews.

Thesis StructureWith this first chapter summarizing the key aspects of the thesis, Chapter 2 reviews the available literature and theories around citizen participation, including the Cohen and Uphoff model and the concept of Participatory Rural Analysis. There are also overviews of decentralisation as applied in Malawi and the MASAF IV programme.

Chapter 3 details the conceptual framework formulated, introducing the two variables, citizen participation and successful implementation. The chapter further delves into the research type, determined as deductive, and methodology selected, including how the samples were determined, and the data collected and analysed.

Chapter 4 summarises the findings from the data collection process and provides an interpretation of those findings.

Finally Chapter 5 draws conclusions from those findings and makes recommendations as to how citizen participation can be enhanced so that, in turn, its impact can be felt even more.

LITERATURE REVIEWIntroductionAs highlighted in Chapter 1, this chapter explores the history of citizen participation and presents various theories around the concept, citing the works of authors such as Cohen and Uphoff, Arnstein, Conyers and Sanoff. The chapter also presents examples of successful citizen participation in practice globally and justifies the reasoning behind this research, specifically that the efficacy of citizen participation is unproven in Malawi.

Theoretical FrameworkDefinition and History of Citizen ParticipationIn its current incarnation, the concept of citizen or community participation is fairly modern, having gained prominence from the 1950’s onwards (Roberts 2004, 320). Documentary evidence suggests that the earliest incarnation of citizen participation occurred in 6th Century Greece, specifically citizen-only bodies called “Ecclesiae”, which had authority over policy-making and election of public officials (Roberts 2004, 320; Encyclopædia Britannica 2018). As community and citizen are used interchangeably in literature, this review will take the same approach.

Multiple definitions of participation have been coined. One definition refers to the concept as “an active process by which beneficiary/client groups influence the direction and execution of a development project with a view to enhancing their well-being in terms of income, personal growth, self-reliance or other values they cherish” (Paul 1987, 2). In a different forum, the same definition was extended to encompass the willingness to contribute to a project as opposed to simply enjoying the benefits (Bamburger 1988).

Another approach combines the legal-based notion of being a citizen of a country and the obligations attached to citizenship, with the concepts of “shared” responsibility and authority between those in power and the communities they serve to define citizen participation as “the process by which members of a society (those not holding office or administrative positions in government) share power with public officials in making substantive decisions and in taking actions related to the community” (Roberts 2004, 318-320).

A further definition takes on the view that participation in general is a collective effort involving people “pursuing objectives that they themselves have defined” (Sanoff 2000, 8-13).
Whilst distinct, there are areas of commonality between the definitions, such as characterising community participation as a process and not a one-off endeavor, that it involves groups and not individuals, and that there is some transfer of responsibility, authority or influence.
Since the research attempts to validate a cause and effect relationship between participation and development, it is also important to understand how some participation theory links community participation to development.

One view of the above states that community development is focused on advancing socio-economic wellbeing, primarily utilising the “voluntary cooperation and self –help efforts of the communities” to benefit (Nikkhah and Redzuan 2009, 170). This implies that participation is a process under the overall umbrella of community development itself.

Furthermore, pro-participation advocates put forward the notion that development achieved through community or citizen-led efforts results in benefits that can be enjoyed over several generations. They conclude, therefore, that PRD, CBD or CDD are only achieved when communities are given authority to identify their developmental needs, choose and implement projects to address those needs, capacitated appropriately and encouraged to work collaboratively and in a coordinated fashion (Mahmud and Rao 2004, quoted by Ahmad and Abu Talib 2011, 61)
Types of ParticipationThere appears to be some consensus that there is no bog standard approach to categorising participation. Literature supports this by stating that, because participation depends on the circumstances being faced, it “varies in type, intensity level, frequency and extent” (Sanoff 2000, 7). This is evident in how different writers have identified the different types of participation.

With reference to the advent of democracy as a system of governance, a distinction is made between direct and indirect citizen participation, which is that, although not quantified, direct participation involves a greater level of community contribution (Roberts, 2004, 316).

Similar to the above, another means of classification by the authors Deshler and Sock identifies two levels of participation: “psuedo-participation”, where the course is chosen for those to benefit, and “genuine participation”, where the beneficiaries have “control over the action taken (Deshler and Sock 1985, in Sanoff 2000, 8).

Another approach characterised participation through identifying approaches to community development and in reference to decentralisation, which was defined before and will be tackled in later paragraphs. Borrowing from organizational management theory, three types of participation are identified namely top-down, bottom-up and partnership. Bearing similarity to Deshler and Sock’s analysis, the difference is in who has authority or influence over processes; the community may have influence (bottom-up), the so-called “powers that be” may exert the most control (top-down) or the two may work collaboratively (partnership) (Conyers 1986 in Nikkhah and Redzuan 2009, 171).

Despite the contrast in classification nomenclature, there is consistency in favouring maximising participation at the grassroots as a catalyst for community development, in this case a bottom-up approach, genuine participation or direct citizen participation.

The illustration below summarises the various types of participation as defined above.

Figure 2-A – Types of participation
It is also important to note the distinction that is made by between “political” and “development” participation (Cohen and Uphoff 1980, 213). Whilst the former relates to participation in a political system through voting (Parry, Moyser and Day 1992, 59) and “protest activities” such as strikes and boycotts (Parry, Moyser and Day 1992, 41), the latter is more relevant to this research as it relates to participation in socio-economic development. As will be seen subsequently, political participation can be viewed as a precursor to development participation because of its links to democracy and decentralisation, the latter as a platform for development participation. However, this research will focus on development participation.

Means of ParticipationIn addition to understanding participation theory, the modalities around how citizen participation should be effected are just as important.

Cohen and Uphoff developed a model to make community participation in development functional by assessment. The model requires three questions, referred to as “dimensions” (Cohen and Uphoff 1980, 219), to be answered as below:
“WHAT activities will be/are participated in?”, “WHO will participate/participates?”, and “HOW will they/do they participate?”

Figure 2-B: Model for describing and analysing rural development participation. Source: Cohen, John M. and Norman T. Uphoff. 1980. “Participation’s Place in Rural Development: Seeking Clarity through Specificity.” World Development, Vol.8 Issue 3: 213-235. https://doi.org/10.1016/0305-750X(80)90011-X
In tackling the WHAT dimension, the two cite three areas that the citizenry should participate in, namely decision making, implementation and benefits (positive or negative). A fourth area, evaluation, is mentioned; however, the authors allude to a lack of literature or guidance that, at the time, limited grassroots participation in evaluation.

In terms of decision-making, they cite involving communities in decisions around project type, start dates, financing and establishment of support organisations complementing a project or programme.

For implementation, the citizenry should participate in ‘resource contributions, administration and co-ordination efforts, and programme enlistment activities’. The resources would be manpower, cash and materials, administration and coordination would be where citizens are “employees hired locally” or as volunteer members of committees or other bodies overseeing a project/programme, whilst enlistment would involve the enrolment of community members as beneficiaries of the intervention.

Participating in the benefits is another means of participation by virtue of being enrolled to a programme. However, Cohen and Uphoff allude to the “passiveness” of this participation type and risk of elevated numbers of participants to the detriment of the other types mentioned before, suggesting that the benefits enjoyed can outweigh effort.

Participation in evaluation is relatively limited at the grassroots but Cohen and Uphoff suggest lobbying by self or through political structures to “communicate their views” about a programme or project.

When looking at WHO participates, the definitions and theories cited in previous sections unanimously point to the involvement of those at the lowest end of the community hierarchy, who development initiatives primarily assist. However, Cohen and Uphoff dissuade against a general classification such as “rural poor” for what they deem a very diverse group. They instead list four different types of participants: local residents, local leaders, government personnel and foreign personnel. There are further sub-classifications which, when illustrated, are as below:

Figure 2-C – Stakeholders in citizen participation Adapted from Cohen, John M. and Norman T. Uphoff. 1980. “Participation’s Place in Rural Development: Seeking Clarity through Specificity.” World Development, Vol.8 Issue 3: 213-235. https://doi.org/10.1016/0305-750X(80)90011-X
With regards HOW participation is being or can be done, the two state that the focus is on determining trends and progress in the other two dimensions. According to them, areas to assess are who “initiates” developmental activities (top down or bottom-up), whether participants “volunteer” themselves or are forced, the mode of participation (individual or group, self or through proxy) and the spread of power or influence over the project/programme, amongst others.

The model tackles several pertinent issues and looks to be an ideal tool beyond evaluation as a means of designing an initiative that is participation-centric. For example and in reference to the areas of commonality, the model recognises the process element by identifying stages at which participation can occur, which is important for guiding planning in terms of setting out what can and cannot be participated in. Similarly, the tool factors in group and/or individual participation as well as measuring the distribution of power or influence, all of which are important aspects of citizen participation as defined previously.

However, the model does not quantify the degree of participation, for example in terms of the ideal proportion of participants in decision-making that are local residents (e.g. 50 percent? 75 percent?).
Another limiting factor to the Cohen-Uphoff model is that, whilst there is adequate guidance on what areas to assess, the model does not seem to provide direction in terms of how to interpret the results of an assessment. For example, whilst WHAT is a dimension, there is no guidance on interpreting findings where, say, participation has been identified in decision making and implementation but not in the benefits.

One remedy to this hurdle is the “Ladder of Citizen Participation”, which uses the analogy of rungs of a ladder to classify participation based on the degree of influence of citizens’ in “determining the end product”, which can be interpreted to mean a project/programme or its deliverables (Arnstein 1969, 217-218). The model has 8 tiers denoting varying levels of participation, with the topmost, citizen power, signifying maximum participation and vice-versa for the lowest, manipulation. A diagram of the model is depicted below:
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Figure 2-D – “Citizen Participation Ladder” Source: 2. Arnstein, Sherry R. 1969. A Ladder of Citizen Participation. Journal of the American Institute of Planners, Vol. 35, Issue 4: 216-224. https://doi.org/10.1080/01944366908977225
As conceived, each tier has its own characteristics and it is possible, over time, to move from tier to tier. Though qualitative, it appears to offer a valid measure of the distribution of influence and can complement Cohen and Uphoff’s model in assessing the WHO and WHAT dimensions. However, Arnstein’s concept is less specific on possible participants and only mentions citizens and “powerholders”.

DecentralisationA short history of participation and its origins in mediaeval Greece was touched on earlier. The United States of America also has a rich history of citizen participation beginning in the 1800’s with the opening up of public service to others classes beyond the privileged of society (Roberts 2004, 320).From 1900 and onwards to the 60’s, the country saw a surge in participation, particularly in urban development and environmental management. The latter era coincided with the struggle for social justice through the American civil rights movement and other similar initiatives, which further compelled the authorities to pass deliberate policies and legislation (Roberts 2004, 321).

This intentional move to give the masses a say over important decisions and issues is the essence of decentralisation vis-a-vis citizen participation. According to Boko (2002, 6), there is a distinction between centralisation and decentralisation as the two alternative means of public administration. Centralisation bequeaths the majority power to a singular entity, the central government.

Marume and Jubenkanda (2016, 107-08) cite standardization of processes and promotion of “economy in administration by avoiding duplication of work” as some of the benefits of centralisation, whereas, through decentralisation, diminished bureaucracy increases efficiency and there is greater flexibility in responding to contrasting socio-economic needs “across different regions” within a country. The latter benefit is reinforced by Boko who points to the unavailability of ground data which may make decisions at the central level unresponsive or irrelevant. All in all, decentralisation is presented in literature as a more cost-effective and inclusive mechanism to drive a country’s development.

Reviewing literature on the concept is important because of its adoption in Malawi as the primary mechanism for enhancing participation in development.

According to available literature, there are three types of decentralisation: Political, Administrative and Fiscal (World Bank 2013). Others such as Boko (2002, 5) identify a fourth type namely Economic or Market decentralisation.

Figure 2-E – Types of Decentralisation.

Adapted from Boko, Sylvain H. Decentralization and Reform in Africa. Norwell, MA: Kluwer
Academic Publishers, 2002.
The first three represent responsibility transferred internally, or within the public sector domain to discharge functions such as revenue generation, policy formulation and provision of healthcare, education and other similar public services (Devas and Grant 2003). The fourth, Economic, empowers the private sector instead (Boko 2002, 5).

Administrative decentralisation is further divided into three subcategories, Deconcentration, Delegation and Devolution, which are differentiated by who becomes responsible and the degree of authority conferred. For example, where public institutions have been set up at local, municipal or district level, Deconcentration maintains dependence on the central or top level whereas Devolution results in complete self- reliance (Hagberg 2010). Proponents of decentralisation pinpoint Devolution as the representation of the ultimate transferal of authority and that it should be the primary goal of any decentralisation programme.

Even as these distinctions are made, the consensus is that all four types tend to be implemented simultaneously and a range of real-word cases, as will be shown in the next sub-chapter, exhibit this practice.

Citizen Participation in PracticeThe Third WorldPrevious paragraphs have already touched on the origins of citizen participation in Europe and the Americas and part of its progression over the years.

In the developing world, community participation has been supported by government-led decentralisation programmes through which there have been attempts to empower grassroots communities. However, as Conyers (1986, 92) noted of decentralised third-world countries at the time, the transfer of power was to an “intermediary” and those communities at the lower end of the spectrum tended to have little or no say.

At the same time, she argues that the decentralisation programmes were one-directional and products of the objectives of their initiators at the topmost levels. In questioning the efficacy of the concept, other writers such as Hyden (1983, 86) believed that the less governments controlled development initiatives, the greater and more impactful citizen participation could be; in other words, devolution would be the best means of enhancing community participation.

Comprehensive examples of decentralisation are found in literature for the period over the 1970’s and 1980’s when elements of Economic decentralisation were implemented in countries such as Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia (Conyers, 1986, 89) to cut public spending as a counter to the effects of an economic downturn across Africa over that period (Lancaster 1983, 159-160; Haberg 2010, 5). Being Third World nations themselves, these countries are appropriate examples and highlighting the performance of decentralisation initiatives can provide useful insight.

Conyers noted attempts among developing nations in achieving true devolution, as was the case with Zambia, whose introduction decentralisation in 1980 partly involved government appointees replacing elected officials.

First established in 1962, Tanzania’s setup was slightly different. The government appointed officials to work alongside popularly elected officials as members of established Local Government Authorities (Max 1991, 32; Oyugi, 1988, quoted by Mollel 2010, 36).
Despite the fact that authority in both cases was devolved in principle, the majority of it was retained by the respective central governments.
As evidenced by the commissioning of the LGRP in Tanzania and PSRP in Zambia, the inadequacies of these relatively ineffective attempts to involve the citizenry provided lessons for future efforts across the developing world (Chikulo 2014, 95-96; Mollel, 2010, 37).

These more recent decentralisation efforts in Africa have been of the political and administrative types as part of reforms undertaken by several nations that migrated from authoritarian to democratic rule over the 1990’s (Crawford and Hartman 2008, 9).

MalawiMalawi’s decentralisation process began after democratic elections in 1994 ushered in new rule (Chinsinga 2008, 74). According to Chiweza (2010), the decision to decentralise was the result of recommendations made through assessments by the World Bank, government and the UN between the late 80’s and early 90’s to tackle poverty. Once democratized, decentralisation was formalized by the revamped Constitution of Malawi (1994), the Decentralisation Policy and Local Government Act (1998).

The essence of the Decentralisation policy in Malawi is the transfer of power of power and authority from central government to districts through the creation of “administrative units” called Districts, with a plethora of responsibilities that would otherwise be discharged by central government itself. These include revenue generation and resource control, as well as provision of social services such as health and education. The policy and Act support each other in driving the country’s agenda in fostering democracy-driven grassroots participation and improved resource management as catalysts for community and, subsequently, national development (Chiweza 2010, 21). According to the
As the focus is on citizen participation, it is important to understand how, in theory, Malawi’s system works, how it encourages participation and whether there is evidence in literature both from Malawi and beyond that supports this notion.

An illustration of the typical decentralized setup at local level is shown below:

Figure 2-F – Institutional Framework for District Local Government –
Source: Chiweza, Asiyati L. 2010. “A review of the Malawi Decentralisation
Process: Lessons from selected districts.” Ministry of Local Government and
Rural Development and Concern Universal.
http://10.150.35.17:6510/tilitonsefund.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/A-Review-of-the-Malawi-Decentralization-Process-2010.pdf
As mentioned before, decentralisation in Malawi created Councils and Assemblies as the responsible authorities for provision of public services in the country’s administrative districts. Rural areas have District Councils whereas urban areas have Town Councils, Municipal Councils and City Assemblies. The oversight authority for decentralisation processes is the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLRGD, 2018)
Using Figure 2-F, the following are the stakeholders and their respective roles:
Councillors: Political figureheads elected alongside the President and MP’s to five-year terms. They provide oversight and decision-making through appointment to so-called service committees.

District Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer: Head of Council or Assembly who supervises technocrat-headed sectors or departments. DC’s head Councils whilst CEO’s head Assemblies.

Sectors: These are the departments responsible for discharging district-level operations
According to MLGRD (2011, 8) guidelines, traditional leadership is a vehicle for Citizen Participation. The overall leadership at community level is the Traditional Authority who is given jurisdiction over an area. That area is subdivided into smaller units which themselves are collections of villages. Each village is headed by a Village Headman/Headwoman (VH) whilst the collection of villages is headed by a Group Village Headman/Headwoman (GVH).
The Ministry highlights their leadership as crucial to the work of the committees set up under decentralisation and through which citizens participate in development. These:
The Village Development Committee (ADC), which draws its membership form communities and is responsible for identifying community developmental needs and monitoring, fundraising and overseeing “the implementation of development activities in the villages” (MLGRD 2011, 7);
The Area Development Committee (ADC) which, as a collection of VDC’s, consolidates their needs and priorities and submits these to the local authority
The Area Executive Committee (AEC), which is composed of extension workers, technocrats at community level who together provide technical support to the ADC and VDC.
These three committees are empowered to represent the grassroots in contributing to the formulation of the District Development Plan (DDP) which sets out a district’s development priorities over a three year period.

However, the DDP formulation only relates to participation in planning. Since the responsibilities extend to implementation and M&E, decentralisation has also birthed initiatives that, in theory, allow for participation throughout the project life cycle. Discussed in the next sub-chapter, one such initiative is the Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF)

The Malawi Social Action FundLaunched in 1996 as a programme to implement developments demanded at the grassroots, MASAF provided funding for development through two mechanisms. The first, called Community Sub-Projects, was through supporting infrastructure “sub-projects” proposed by rural communities such as class blocks, bridges and clinics. The second, the Public Works Programme, involved the temporary recruitment of members of the community to some of the same sub-projects in return for wages at a predetermined rate. Other conditions were attached, such as a contribution of 20 percent of the total cost of a sub-project by beneficiary communities and, for the Public Works Programme, giving top priority to most vulnerable areas identified through FEWS, an agency providing forecasting and vulnerability assessment assistance (Kishindo 2000, 9). As Kishindo remarked, “MASAF’s demand-driven approach to project funding introduces the element of competition in community development.”
Three instalments later, the current initiative, called MASAF IV, is considerably different from the first programme. Whilst only the Public Works Programme (renamed Productive Public Works Programme) was retained, added were a Social Cash Transfer component under which beneficiaries receive cash disbursements and similar in principle to the Welfare State concept (Encyclopædia Britannica 2018), as well as a Livelihood and Skills Development component supporting savings and investment at the grassroots (LDF, 2014).

Of interest is the PPWP and how participation is catered for. With the twin objectives of creation of “productive community assets” and “provision of temporary employment”, community members are in theory enabled to participate in the PPWP in the following ways:
Identification of activities to be implemented as mini projects under the sub-programme;
Recruitment of eligible community members as manpower for the mini projects at a prescribed wage rate; and
Supervision and monitoring of project implementation.

These three processes are consistent with the goals of PRD/CBD/CDD stated earlier.

Kishindo’s (2000) review of the first MASAF raised concerns about the competition for resources favouring proactive communities, resulting in inequitable distribution of development infrastructure. However, no similar research appears to have been done for MASAF IV to gauge if this and other concerns still exist and this gap is an opportunity for further research to be done.

Conyers argued that grassroots participation can start with the conceiving and eventual initiation of a decentralisation programme that accounts for the views and “demands” of those at the bottom of the tree. She noted that very few decentralisation programmes fit this bill because most were almost entirely conceived by government in a “top-down” style; she cites the critical pessimism about such programmes “achieving meaningful citizen participation” (Conyers 1986, 92).
Chiweza’s assessment of Malawi’s decentralisation process shows that its conception was government-led, suggesting minimal grassroots participation at the beginning. Her analysis extended to assessing the actual roles of VDC’s, ADC’s and AEC’s and she observed substantial dissatisfaction amongst the populous with the structures stemming from a lack of trust in the system. She further noted capacity gaps financially and knowledge-wise which she recommended be addressed to enhance the participation roles. This is also an area that can be tackled to determine if MASAF IV has capacitated the grassroots enough for them to effectively participate in the programme.

As almost nine years have passed since Chiweza’s research, a similar analysis of the three structures would be of benefit to see if the status quo has changed and whether participation has been improved. Additionally, whilst the scope of her research covered impact assessments of supposedly community-driven initiatives, she cites a lack of documentation and information-sharing as a challenge in drawing any meaningful conclusions on this.

This then presents an opportunity to impact-assess programmes whilst determining the level of citizen participation in their conception, this in relation to the proposition presented in Chapter 1. Whilst focusing on one programme, MASAF IV, and one district, Nkhata Bay, can hardly be considered representative of the entire country, it is hoped that the results could spur future research in the area that samples a bigger population in the interest of knowledge gathering and identifying best practice.

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND RESEARCH METHODOLOGYIntroductionWith Chapter 2 providing the literature underlying citizen participation and development, this chapter reintroduces the problem statement and research objectives presented in Chapter 1. Further down, the two variables governing the proposition presented, Citizen Participation and Successful Programme/project implementation, are presented as part of the conceived conceptual framework. The final section presents the research design, approached from a deductive perspective, the types of data utilised and how each type was collected and analysed.

Problem StatementAs alluded to before, citizen participation has been touted as an ideal mechanism for driving the success of development initiatives in the third world.
But does allowing the citizenry to influence the direction of a project or programme that will benefit them work? If they are allowed to choose the type of initiative, will their choice be something that works? Are they capable of amassing the technical know-how they need to effectively participate in all the relevant processes? Should citizens be allowed free reign or should their involvement be restricted to specific processes or activities?
Determining whether this type of participation is indeed a driver of development in Malawi is the primary issue this research will look into. Whilst there are multiple examples of success outside of Malawi, such as with the farmer-led irrigation schemes concept in Sri Lanka (UN 2016, 134), there is very little research on citizen participation in actual development projects in Malawi and whether that has led to improved socio-economic development.

Through this thesis, the researcher attempted to establish if there is a correlation between citizen participation and the successful implementation of development projects in Malawi, with focus on the Malawi Fourth Social Action Fund (MASAF IV) programme, which is centered on the participation of its beneficiary communities at multiple levels, including the selection of development projects as well as the utilisation of beneficiaries as labour (LDF, 2014).
As mentioned previously, the ambiguity around citizen participation validates this research; the significant financial investment in community-driven development programmes in Malawi is based on foreign examples, which in no way guarantees success in this country. As such, not researching the problem area maintains the status quo, which is the potential mis-utilisation of already scarce economic resources through a development approach that is relatively unproven locally.

Research ObjectivesWith the above in mind, the primary objective of the research was to determine if citizen participation is indeed responsible for the success of development projects or programmes in Malawi.

From this, the following secondary objectives also drove the research:
To determine how citizens at the grassroots participate in the selection and implementation of initiatives under the PPWP sub-component of MASAF IV.

To determine if national policies on citizen participation have worked under MASAF IV.

To establish the level of success of implemented citizen-driven PPWP projects.

To make recommendations that can help improve and/or boost the effectiveness of citizen participation.

Conceptual FrameworkBased on the proposition put forward, research objectives and literature reviewed, the conceptual framework below is the basis for this research:

Figure 3-A – Conceptual Framework
Cohen and Uphoff point to the “background characteristics” of would-be participants which they suggest influence the degree of individual participation. Whilst the characteristics they cite are numerous, they point to the combined use of discretion and the objectives of a project to determine which characteristics are relevant to the research being undertaken.

With this in mind, the formal educational background of participants, particularly at the grassroots, has been identified as a variable that has an impact on the degree of participation. The project implementation process is relatively technical which can require participants to have and/or be taught formally to acquire certain skills to help their participation. As such, educational background has been chosen because it can indicate that one has the capacity to acquire knowledge and skills that help maximize their participation in development.
The two main variables, Citizen Participation and Successful Project/Programme Implementation are explained in greater depth below.

Citizen ParticipationAs the independent variable, there will initially be an attempt to measure citizen participation. As highlighted before, this research will utilise the Cohen and Uphoff (1980) participation model. As such, the degree of citizen participation will be determined by the following three “dimensions” (Cohen and Uphoff, 1980):
“Who participates” in MASAF IV;
“What kinds of participation” occur; and
“How is participation occurring”
Who ParticipatesIn terms of WHO PARTICIPATES, the model identifies four categories of potential participants: local residents, local leaders, government personnel and foreign personnel.
Using the illustration of Malawi’s decentralised institutional framework in Section 2.3, five stakeholder groups have been identified that may have a role in citizen participation – the Council, the Councillors, Traditional Leaders, the AEC’s, ADC’s/VDC’s, and the grassroots. Each group will be classed under either one of Cohen and Uphoff’s four categories and will be engaged to find out if, at all, they participate in MASAF IV activities.

What Kinds of Participation OccurTo determine WHAT KINDS OF PARTICIPATION OCCUR, Cohen and Uphoff’s model mentions four types namely:
Participation in decision-making
Participation in implementation of activities
Participation in benefits derived from the project/programme
Participation in evaluation
Cohen and Uphoff view participation under this umbrella as a process, with, in order of occurrence, decision making, implementation, benefits and evaluation as the four stages of this process. Some of the areas to involve the grassroots include “project identification”, financing and labour requirements, what project implementation activities the grassroots should participate in, what benefits to be derived from a programme and evaluation of project/programme performance.

Essentially, their opinion is that participation is maximized when the citizenry is involved in as many activities throughout each of the four stages mentioned above.

Therefore, part of this study will focus on determining whether MASAF IV has afforded citizens participation in each of the four areas. Of particular interest will be the experiences of ADC’s/VDC’s as the bottom end of the decentralisation hierarchy, effectively representing the grassroots, and the District Council as the implementers of the MASAF IV programme.

How is Participation Occurring?Under this dimension, Cohen and Uphoff state that the focus is on indicators such as who takes the “initiative” (top-down vs bottom-up), whether citizens participate forcibly or willingly, whether citizens participate “directly” or through proxies, and “the number of possible situations that citizens could participate in”, each of which the two authors deem as qualitative.

Based on this, participants will be asked questions covering the four indicators mentioned above.

Successful Programme/Project ImplementationThis is the dependent variable.
There are various multi-dimensional approaches proposed in literature, similar in that they utilise more than one variable to measure project success.

According to Bannerman (2008), the traditional method of measuring project success is based around the so-called “triple constraint”, determining whether projects are implemented “on time”, within original cost estimates and within the scope of activities or specification originally intended. He also cites an extension to this, a quad-model that includes the quality aspect, specifically the attributes of project deliverables against “established industry or subjective criteria”.

Whilst literature points to supposed insufficiencies with the triple constraint model, principally the focus on the processes ahead of the end product (Bannerman, 2008) and the treatment of two interlinked variables, time and cost, as independent of each other (Baratta, 2006), both writers also refer to the suitability of the model as an ideal tool for evaluating straightforward projects and “the means to an end” or implementation of a project.

Considering the relatively small nature of the projects under MASAF IV and this research’s focus on project implementation, the variables of time, cost and scope will be used to measure successful programme/project implementation. Using a matrix, samples of implemented projects from the two target TA areas will be assessed using the three variables.

Research DesignBased on the research problem to be tackled, the approach is “deductive” because of the attempt to ascertain the validity of already existing theories on citizen participation (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009).

Taking into consideration the variables being measured, it was decided to collect and utilise a mix of both qualitative and quantitative data. With reference to Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009), it was anticipated that gauging citizen participation required soliciting the views of the stakeholders, data that is qualitative, whereas data collected in relation to successful implementation may be quantitative, in terms of completion rate for example.
It was decided to utilise both primary and secondary data for this research. Whilst primary data was used for collected for measuring variables under Citizen Participation, the data to measure Successful Project/Programme Implementation, specifically in relation to implemented projects, was secondary data already collected through the District Council’s M;E processes.

The research used the MASAF IV programme which has been chosen because it is one of the largest participation-driven public sector initiatives in terms of coverage and value of investment. Malawi’s Decentralisation policy was also been identified as useful because it is the basis for driving citizen participation in development activities and is the backbone for the implementation of programmes such as MASAF IV (Chiweza, 2010). Previous sections in this proposal have identified stakeholders in Malawi’s decentralised setup and the degree of each stakeholder’s participation will be gauged using the MASAF IV Programme manual, part of which guides community participation, and the Cohen and Uphoff Rural Participation model.

Research MethodData CollectionHaving ascertained the mixed nature of the data to be collected and reference to the Conceptual Framework, the following table highlights how the data was collected:
Table 3-A – Data collection methods for Conceptual Framework variables
VARIABLE SUB-VARIABLES DATA TYPE DATA COLLECTION METHOD
Citizen Participation Who, What Primary, Quantitative Structured Interviews with multiple stakeholders
How Primary, Qualitative Semi-Structured Interviews with multiple stakeholders
Successful Implementation Time Cost, Scope Secondary, Quantitative Use of NB Council project evaluation reports
As Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009, 320) state, structured interviews are ideal for collecting “quantifiable data”, in this case who participates and kinds of participation, whereas semi-structured interviews provide the opportunity to delve into obtaining “non-standard” opinions to solve research questions. Additionally, the authors advocate the use of secondary data if it is deemed appropriate for answering one’s research questions. The council reports have been viewed as ideal because, as they are performance assessments, they are relevant to the aspect of determining if implementation was successful.

The diagram below proposes some methods for undertaking primary data collection:

Figure 3-B – Types of interviews.
Source: Saunders, Mark, Philip Lewis and Adrian Thornhill. Research Methods for
Business Students. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2009, Figure 10.1
In consideration of time and resource constraints, as well as the predominantly rural setting of the target population, direct interaction with participants through group and face-to-face interviews was utilised, the latter being ideal for smaller sample sizes, as well as the opportunity for a more in-depth interaction, whilst, by engaging multiple participants simultaneously, the former allows for a more rapid and “resource-efficient” interview process (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009, 346; Stokes and Bergin, 2006, 27). The interactions were conducted with a mix of questions with standard responses and open-ended questions which required interviewees to express opinions.
Where respondents could not be met in person but had mobile access, telephone interviews were utilised.

Primary DataFor the primary data, two questionnaires (Appendix A) were prepared.

The first questionnaire for Community Stakeholders had multiple sections, with a respondent required to complete or be helped to complete one section depending on the type of stakeholder they were (for example, MASAF IV beneficiary or Traditional Leader or Political Leader.) Furthermore, with ADC’s, VDC’s and AEC’s, two or more members were interviewed concurrently as means of simulating their approach of meeting and deciding on issues as groups. The questionnaire was made up of structured questions with standard answers and up to two open-ended questions depending on stakeholder type. Additionally, the same questionnaire was used for telephone interviews.

The second questionnaire for District Officials was a set of open-ended questions which were asked to relevant officers at the District Council to allow them licence to express themselves in their own words.

Secondary DataAs stated, the secondary data collected was sourced from Nkhata Bay District Council and online. The data included the following:
Names of MASAF IV beneficiaries residing in TA Timbiri and TA Mkumbira
List of MASAF IV-supported “sub projects” projects implemented in the two areas between 2014 (start of MASAF IV) and the present day
Implementation status of sub-projects
Population statistics for Nkhata Bay District by TA
The data sources included the following:
Nkhata Bay District Council “Mthandizi” Database
NSO Malawi
OECD
World Bank
MLGRD Malawi
Data AnalysisAs indicated in the previous section, primary data collection utilised both structured and semi structured interviews.
Both were deemed appropriate because of the qualitative nature of much of the research objectives and questions.

Additionally, quantitative secondary data was also sourced and utilised. This data relates to variables such as the demography and economy of Nkhata Bay, as well as project implementation data for the MASAF IV programme in the district.

The following table highlights how the data collected was analysed:
Table 3-B – Analysis method(s) by Data type
DATA TYPE ANALYSIS METHOD(S) REASON
Quantitative Graphical analysis, description of identified trends Methods recommended for analysis of nominal quantitative data (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009, 417-418)
Qualitative Identification and description of patterns through summarizing key points from collected data, “categorization”. Methods recommended for analysis of deductively based- qualitative data (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009, 489-493)
Using Microsoft Office (Excel and Word), primary data was grouped according to the responses provided for the standard questions to respondents and response rates calculated.

For open-ended questions, responses were analysed manually to identify commonality in content, which was used to categorise those responses.

Research PopulationAs indicated in previous sections, the research was carried out in Nkhata-Bay District in the Northern Region of Malawi, and in two Traditional Authorities: Timbiri and Mkumbira.
Through information obtained from Nkhata Bay District Council, the following are population numbers for the key stakeholders:
Table 3-C – Samples sizes for various stakeholders
NAME OF STAKEHOLDER POPULATION/NUMBER OF PROJECTS COVERED
BY MASAF IV
(SAMPLING FRAME) SAMPLE SIZE SAMPLING METHOD AND JUSTIFICATION
1 Councillors 12 12 2 Convenience sampling. One Councilor each for Timbiri, Fukamapiri and Mkumbira, each one to be interviewed
2 Traditional Authorities 13 13 2 Convenience sampling. One TA each for Timbiri, Fukamapiri and Mkumbira, each one to be interviewed
3 Area Development Committees (Mkumbira, Timbiri) 15 15 2 Convenience sampling. One ADC each for Timbiri and Mkumbira, each one (at least 2 committee members) to be interviewed
4 Village Development Committees (Mkumbira, Timbiri) 54 54 8 Convenience sampling. Timbiri (4) and Mkumbira (4), each one (at least 2 committee members) to be interviewed
5 Area Executive Committees
(Mkumbira, Timbiri) 15 15 2 Convenience sampling. One AEC each for Timbiri and Mkumbira, each one (at least 2 committee members) to be interviewed
6 Nkhata Bay – Mkumbira 14,572 644 (PPWP) 241 Sample sizes for each area here calculated using the sampling frame numbers, “margin of error” of 5 and confidence level of 95 percent. Using beneficiary lists for each area,
Nkhata Bay – Timbiri 47,684 1044 (PPWP) 281 7 Nkhata Bay District Council – Secretariat 45 n/a 3 Convenience sampling. The two Directors and District Community Development Officer responsible for MASAF IV implementation to be interviewed
8 Projects implemented under MASAF IV 1,930 – All the projects in the two areas to be analysed using the Triple Constraint model to determine success
In Timbiri – 110 In Mkumbira – 245 Source: Nkhata Bay District Council (“Population size” and “Covered by MASAF IV”)
Through convenience sampling, the population was narrowed down to that of 2 of the 13 Traditional Authorities (Timbiri and Mkumbira) easily accessible in terms of distance. From that, sampling frames were compiled that includes the stakeholders identified in Malawi’s decentralisation process and who are believed to participate in the MASAF IV programme. From there, different methods were used to determine sample sizes. Convenience sampling was chosen because of its suitability for resource-constrained research and selection on the basis of accessibility (Etikan, Musa and Alkassim, 2016, 2)
The method was further used to determine sample sizes for the Councillors, Traditional Authorities, Committees and Secretariat. For each Traditional Authority area, there is one Councilor, one Traditional Authority and one Area Development Committee; these therefore would be the only participants to be engaged. The ADCs, AECs, and VDCs were engaged as groups as opposed to individual members to save on resources and simulate how their interactions take place.

For the Secretariat, two Directorates, one for Planning and Development and one for Public Works, and a Community Development office lead the implementation of MASAF IV and, similarly, they were approached for this research.

The sample sizes for researching the MASAF IV beneficiaries in the two TA areas was calculated using an online sample size calculator (Creative Research Systems, 2012), and utilising a 95 percent confidence level and margin of error of 5. From there, participants claiming to be beneficiaries had their names cross-checked against a list extracted from Mthandizi MIS, Nkhata Bay’s database used to manage beneficiaries.

In theory, the first five stakeholders do not benefit materially from MASAF IV, but they are expected to play other roles. They were questioned around their knowledge of their supposed roles, how and if they actually discharge their roles as well as their opinions on citizen participation driving project/programme success.

The results were compared with those from interactions with district officials to gauge if there was a common understanding and discharging of responsibilities. The Council was also requested to provide data on interventions financed under MASAF IV; a sample of these projects was taken to those areas targeted and, through the interactions above, determine from the communities whether there was any citizen participation driving the said interventions.

The next chapter details the results of the data collection process.

DATA ANALYSIS, FINDINGS AND DISCUSSIONSIntroductionHaving presented the processes undertaken to collect the data, this chapter details the findings obtained from the data that was collected. The chapter start with providing detailed overviews of Nkhata Bay and its administrative setup as well as the MASAF IV programme and how it is implemented. Further down, the data is linked to each research question by way of presenting the responses relevant to those question and, finally, a discussion on the implication of the findings.

Case – The MASAF IV programme in Nkhata BayNkhata Bay District – A Short OverviewLocated in the Northern Region of Malawi (Figure 4A), Nkhata Bay is one of Malawi’s 28 administrative districts.

Figure 4-A – Nkhata Bay District. Map by Monique Borgerhoff-Mulder, Lameck Msalu, Tim Caro and Jonathan Salerno.
With the district located along the shores of Lake Malawi, the predominant economic activity is fishing, followed by cassava production and tourism. The economy, coupled with the district’s somewhat harsh terrain, characterised by “sheltered Bays with forested, rocky headlands” (Google, 2018), are both of significance because of the influence on community developmental activity, specifically on the MASAF IV programme.

With the traditional chieftaincy system countrywide that predates and has been supported by decentralisation (Chiweza n.d., 54), Nkhata Bay is subdivided into 13 areas, with each presided over by a Traditional Authority.
As was detailed in Chapter 3, each TA area is a collection of small villages each headed by a VH; three or more villages are grouped into one and are under the jurisdiction of a GVH, who is the intermediary between the VH and TA.
This setup is linked to the decentralised committee system in that each TA has an ADC and each GVH has a VDC.
TA ADC (VDCs/GVHs)
1 Zilakoma Zilakoma 1 (Mtowole, Mganga & Dambanjoka)
Zilakoma 2 (Makumbo)
2 Fukamapiri Fukamapiri (Kauta, Chivuta & Chavula)
3 Malengamzoma Malengamzoma (Chiweyo, Kanyanda & Kayimika)
4 Malanda Malanda (Msundu, Chenyentha & Ngombo)
5 Fukamalaza Fukamalaza (Thuli, Gulugulu, Nkhungulu & Jumbo)
6 Mankhambira Mankhambira (Chibaka, Chingaliwa, Khoza-Lisale, Kakhobwe, Kangóma, Chibere & Mndola)
7 Timbiri Timbiri (Khoza, Nthulinga, Malepa & Kamphomombo)
8 Mkumbira Mkumbira (Mkumbira, Chilelawana, Kandezo & Kamwadi)
9 Kabunduli Kabunduli-1B (Chamaoya, Gowamo, Kondamzimu& Kamuchibazi)
Kabunduli-2A (Mkuli, Mchingalombo, Chinyakula, Thula, Tembwe, Chakupompha & Chikampha)
10 M’bwana M’bwana (Mabuli, Siyalimba, Chikondo, Mlenda, Lukhanda & Murwa)
11 Mnyalubanga Mnyalubanga(Chigwere & Kalonga)
12 Mkondowe Mkondowe (Kabeno & Mwachika)
13 Boghoyo Boghoyo (Chipenyenye)
Table 4-A – List of TAs and GVHs, Nkhata Bay
With 15 ADC’s and AEC’s, the 13 TA’s in the district oversee 54 GVHs and approximately 200 villages. For the sampled areas, both Mkumbira and Timbiri have 4 GVH’s and VDCs each.

MASAF IVTogether with Malawi’s other districts, Nkhata Bay implements the MASAF IV programme. For the PPWP sub-component touched on previously, MASAF IV uses the Integrated Catchment Management (ICM), an approach which links community “environmental and socio-economic needs” to resource usage to ensure that the communities sustainably use the natural resources around them (Ashton n.d., 1). Under ICM, it is recognized that excessive natural resource degradation is associated with extreme poverty; Nkhata Bay district has one of the highest incidences of poverty amongst Malawi’s six Northern Region districts (USDA n.d., 2) , and it stands to reason that this has caused the depletion of various natural resources in the district.

PlanningUnder ICM, the district uses “Safety Net Planning” (SNP), a systematic planning process to come up with mechanisms to address the resource depletion. The sub-concept links the challenges communities face due to poverty and the negatives of environmental mismanagement to come up with management plans that address both issues.

As part of SNP, Nkhata Bay identified “environmental hotspots” or “micro-catchments”, areas endowed with natural resources that can be depleted if mismanaged and usage is not regulated. The communities in these areas were then encouraged to identify factors affecting community development and choose interventions that would help them address those issues and, as such, precipitate development.
The planning started at VDC level, resulting in the development of Village Level Action Plans (VLAPs), which outlined developmental challenges and what could be done to address them. Thereafter, ADCs reviewed and submitted VLAPs to the District Council which consolidated them into the District Safety Net Plan, which is being implemented over three years, from 2016 to 2019 (Nkhata Bay District Council, 2018)..

Applying Norms and Standards developed for the MASAF IV PPWP, community choice is restricted to interventions, herein called “sub-projects” that have been identified as helpful in reducing the negative impact of natural resource mismanagement. The sub-projects are of seven types (Environmental, Forestry, Irrigation, Water, Roads, Land Resources and Fisheries) grouped according to the responsible District Sector (see Figure 2-F, page 33). Thus, for example, afforestation sub-projects are supported by the Forestry sector whereas aquaculture sub-projects are under the jurisdiction of the Fisheries sector. The Handbook encourages communities being guided towards proritising sub-projects that best address the issues identified through the VLAP process.

ImplementationThe implementation of sub-projects is through a PPWP cycle in which Nkhata Bay, together with the rest of the country, is given funds to cater to the payment of wages for the labour utilised, procurement of various types of materials and administrative funds for District Council supervision and technical support. According to official memos, 80 percent of the funds are ring-fenced for wages.

In the spirit of CBD and CDD, the communities themselves work on the sub-projects in return for a wage calculated using a daily rate of MWK600. All sub-projects have a mandatory maximum duration of 24 days and wages received reflect the number of days an individual has worked.

Allocation of beneficiaries is done by the Council using Mthandizi MIS; using the Safety Net Plan, projects are created “electronically” and names extracted and assigned to those projects. The resultant beneficiary lists are then printed off and distributed to the respective areas ready for work to begin on sub-projects.
Beneficiary SelectionAPPWP objective already presented is around “providing temporary multi- year employment “to communities within micro-catchments to “enhance household incomes and food security”, whilst “reducing their exposure to risks associated with climate change and other disasters”.

To identify eligible community members, an assessment exercise was undertaken by the District Council to assess the level of household poverty in the areas identified as environmental hotspots. According to reports from the District Council, 50 percent of households were sampled by village and ranked using PMT, a mathematical tool used to approximate incomes in the absence of any verifiable data on actual earnings (World Bank, 2018, 2). Meetings were then called during which communities were shown lists of names and asked to confirm or adjust the ranking of their fellow community members. The lower their PMT score, the higher up the list they were.

A further consideration was the household’s labour effort. The PMT scoring included determining if any member of the household was physically able to work on labour-intensive projects under PPWP.

Once final ranks were assigned, beneficiaries were recruited into PPWP. Each district was given a total number of beneficiary households to be recruited; Nkhata Bay has 9,212 out of approximately 15,000 eligible households.
The programme allows for any member of a beneficiary household is allowed to work on a sub-project as long as the eventual wages are used for the benefit of that entire household. The MASAF IV programme applies the “repeater beneficiary” and “graduation” principles (World Bank, 2013, 156); that is, the same households work “repeatedly” over the three year duration of the Safety Net Plan, after which they are expected to “graduate” to some level of self-sufficiency. The programme in Nkhata Bay has been running since 2016 and the first assessment of whether households have benefitted will be done post-MASAF IV in 2019.

Discussions and FindingsHow Citizen Participation is effected under MASAF IVAs stated, the first secondary objective of this research was to determine how communities participate in MASAF IV PPWP; that is, what activities are conducted under PPWP and which are influenced by the grassroots as opposed to the top, effectively going by the premise that effective citizen participation is achieved when more influence is afforded to the lower end of the hierarchy.
To determine who has the highest degree over which activities, the following interviews were conducted:
Interviews with Government Officials from Nkhata Bay District Council
Interviews with Local Leaders (TAs, GVH’s, VHs, VDCs, ADCs, AECs)
Interviews with Local Residents
Foreign personnel were not interviewed as it was noted from official documents that there is no foreign intervention at district level.

Interviews with Government OfficialsA review of official documents indicated that funding originates from the World Bank to the Government of Malawi, through LDF. These funds are then distributed pro-rata to the District Councils. Therefore, Government and LDF participation was found to be primarily around the disbursement of funds.
In engaging the District Council, the DPD, DPW and DCDO were interviewed, the results of which are presented below.

How the District facilitates citizen participation under MASAF IV PPWP
When asked the question “How does Nkhata Bay district facilitate participation in the programme?” all three officers provided answers that indicate communities participate during two stages, Planning and Implementation.

The DPD indicated that, as part of planning, VDCs and ADCs have been given authority by the Council to gather the developmental issues, usually challenges, faced by their respective communities and formulate “interventions”, in this case projects, to address those issues. He pointed out that, here, the grassroots participate by proxy; that is, the VDCs and ADCs, having been elected, represent the citizenry during planning. He further stated that the Council’s role is predominantly to “supervise” this process. He also mentioned the role of the AECs as being the technical representatives of the Council in the communities, supporting the latter by “facilitating formulation of” the said interventions.
In terms of implementation, he stated that “the communities themselves implement the formulated projects and are encouraged to monitor and supervise” interventions as well as to “report discrepancies to the Council” for assistance in rectifying them.

The DPD’s views on Participation in implementation were corroborated by the DPW, who stated that PPWP sub-projects utilise both skilled and unskilled labour from the same beneficiary communities depending on the complexity of the projects being implemented.

He then stated that the Council trained “foremen”, supervisors equipped to provide guidance to the labour force on task rates and how the work should be done. He indicated that skilled personnel or artisans are also sourced for complex construction that cannot be done by the beneficiary labour and that both artisans and foremen are identified from within the same communities.

The DCDO provided more detail on participation in planning, stating that the VDCs and ADCs are empowered to lead VLAP formulation, with the VDCs proposing interventions and the ADCs screening them and “submitting them to the Council”.
Interviews with Local LeadersTo certify the Council’s purported mechanisms for involving communities in PPWP, various Local Leaders were interviewed and asked if and how they participated in the programme. Using a questionnaire, they were required to select from a pre-determined list of activities which ones they participated in. They were also allowed to indicate any other activity participated in but not on the list.

Table 4-B below summarizes the results of those interviews. Although respondents were not asked a YES/NO question, the results are presented where a YES implies the respondents selected one or more from the list and vice versa for a NO.

Table 4-B – Responses to Participation amongst Local Leaders

As can be seen, all respondents except for amongst the Councillors confirmed having participated in MASAF IV PPWP.

The specific answers selected by the different stakeholders were further analysed to establish if there was a discernible pattern in terms of who participated in what activity. This is presented in the figure below.

Figure 4-B – Participation by activity type amongst Local Leaders
As shown, the majority of direct project cycle activities (A-, C- and D-) are dominated by the community structures, the ADCs and VDCs. The TAs and MP indicated that their role is to formally approve the community choices but not to be a part of the selection process.

AECs were also interviewed and, as indicated by the Council, both sets pointed to their role being one of providing technical support during planning and implementation.

Somewhat skewing the results are the responses from the Councillors. One respondent indicated that she did not participate in any of the listed activities whilst the other indicated that he is involved in both the planning and implementation processes (A- and B-). This would appear contradictory to the Council’s position that the said activities are discharged by the ADCs and VDCs.

Of note also is that none of the respondents here indicated that they participated in MASAF IV PPWP as part of the labour workforce.

Interviews with Local ResidentsThe third group interviewed were local residents in the two sampled communities. As theory advocates for the majority of participation to be at this level, it was important to determine what activities involve the grassroots beyond the standard participation as beneficiaries.

In contrast to the targeted interviews involving the Council and Local Leaders, through a door-to-door survey, prospective respondents were approached face-to-face and asked if they were MASAF beneficiaries and, if so, under which sub-component. Although, the primary targets were PPWP beneficiaries, respondents that were found to be non-MASAF or non-PPWP beneficiaries were engaged to see if they had participated in PPWP regardless. Table 4-C breaks down the respondents into beneficiary type:
Table 4-C – Respondent classification for interviewed Local Residents

Firstly, the 23 SCTP and18 non-beneficiaries were asked if they had participated in PPWP activities in a different capacity to which they all answered NO.

Similar to the interactions with the various local leaders, PPWP beneficiaries were asked how they participated in the programme and they responded as shown in Table 4-D below:
Table 4-D – Local Resident (beneficiary) participation by activity type

As can be seen, 96 percent of beneficiaries indicated that their participation was exclusively during implementation working as labour on sub-projects.

Also notable is that just over 3 percent of respondents indicated that they have participated beyond the mandatory implementation process, specifically the planning process to formulate the interventions and management of sub-project deliverables after completion. As this research is partly focused on the effect of community participation on planning and implementation, the observation that some beneficiaries had also participated in project identification is also of interest.

Another question that respondents had been asked was what they thought or believed their role under MASAF IV PPWP was. This was done to ascertain if there was a gap between expectations and reality, which, if so, would suggest beneficiaries feel they are not doing what is required of them.

To determine this, the responses of the 277 beneficiaries to the question “What do you think your role under MASAF IV PPWP is?” were compared with their responses presented above.

Table 4-E – Opinion of role under PPWP amongst beneficiaries

As summarised in the above table, the combined responses indicate that, while most responded as having only been involved at implementation, 60 percent believe that their role goes beyond that, that is, throughout the project cycle.
603250635046240706350
62230038101
001
3740150101602
002

Figure 4-C – Beneficiary opinion of roles under PPWP : (1) TA Mkumbira (n=83) and (2) TA Timbiri (n=194)
However, when analysed separately (Figure 4-C), only 7 percent of beneficiaries in Mkumbira were of the opinion that their role should include identification and post project activities, compared to approximately 81 percent of Timbiri beneficiaries. Without further probing, any attempt to give reasons for this contrast is speculatorybut could include, amongst other things, reluctance to take on responsibility or make processes all-inclusive,.
Assessing the National Framework for Participation Under MASAF IV PPWPIn Chapter 2 an overview was provided of decentralisation in Malawi and the desire for a more inclusive development framework driven by the needs of the masses.

With decentralisation having been in existence for 10 years and a central part of the implementation modalities of MASAF IV, it was deemed relevant to attempt to assess how effective decentralisation has been in fostering grassroots participation. As such, the second objective was to use the sample population to determine if the Local Government Act and Decentralisation Policy have fostered development participation.

When asked about the policies and legislation supporting citizen participation in Nkhata Bay, the DPD pointed to the Local Government Act and Decentralisation Policy, as well as the District Development Planning System which, supported by the Act and Policy, details the sequence followed in planning at district level, including actual grassroots planning.
To undertake this assessment, additional data was sourced after the interviews and was cross-referenced with the official roles and responsibilities of the community structures created through Malawi’s decentralisation, that is, the VDCs, ADCs and AECs as extracted from Official District Planning guidelines. Table 4-F below presents this comparative analysis as a means of determining how many of the purported roles are being discharged under PPWP. This table was given to the sampled committees to be filled outside of the interviews.

Table 4-F – Analysis of official roles discharged under MASAF IV PPWP
STRUCTURE Sampled Responded DUTIES/RESPONSIBILITIES DISCHARGED UNDER MASAF IV PPWP
Y N U
1 VDC 6 2 Coordinate community-based issues with the ADC and DEC and communicate messages from the ADC and DEC to the communities 2 Encourage and mobilize community resources for popular participation in self-help activities 2 Assist in identifying, prioritizing, and preparing community needs and submit the same to the ADC 2 Supervise, monitor, and evaluate the implementation of development activities in the villages 2 Coordinate, support and supervise activities of service committees and community support groups 2 Solicit external funding for prioritized community-based projects 2 Initiate locally funded self-help activities 1 1 Report to the Group Village Headman (GVH) all activities and discussions of the committee 2 2 ADC 2 2 Organizing monthly general meetings of the ADC in liaison with the relevant VDCs 2 Assisting in the identification, prioritisation, and preparation of community needs which encompass more than one VDC and submit them to the DEC 2 Supervising, monitoring, and evaluating the implementation of projects at TA level 2 Mobilizing community resources and soliciting funds 2 Receiving, prioritizing, and preparing project proposals from VDCs for submission to the DEC 2 3 AEC 2 2
Assist the ADC in the identification and preparation of project proposals 2 Carry out field appraisal of projects 2 Review all project proposals before submission to the DEC for consideration 2 Act as an advisory body to the ADC 2 Assist in supervising project implementation at area level 2 Conduct data collection and analysis at community level 2 Prepare monthly reports 2 Take the lead in the organization of VDCs 2 Facilitate the capacity building of VDCs and assist them in setting guidelines for development in the area 2 With all three committee types discharging at least 60 percent of their respective duties through PPWP, it can be concluded that, in the areas sampled, the national framework has been successful in encouraging participation in the form of indirect representation.

Evaluation of overall Citizen ParticipationUsing Cohen and Uphoff’s participation model and Arnstein’s Ladder of Participation, a qualitative assessment of the level of citizen participation under MASAF IV PPWP can be made that will give an indication of whether participation is at the desired intensity or needs improving.

What Kind of Participation?The Cohen and Uphoff model cites four stages (Decision-Making, Implementation, Benefits and Evaluation) that should all allow for citizen participation, and, based on the data collected, the following table firstly lists the stakeholders identified as predominant during the Decision Making stage.

Table 4-G – Participation by decision type
Decision Type Stakeholders
1 Initial Decisions Identification of Priority Developmental issues, proposing of projects/interventions (location, distribution amongst VDCs) MAJOR – VDCs, ADCs, Cllrs
MINOR – Local Residents
Distribution of “beneficiary threshold” amongst areas, allocation of materials and tools to projects MAJOR – Cllrs, MPs, District Council
Final approval of proposed projects/interventions MAJOR – Cllrs, MPs, TAs
2 Ongoing Decisions Reassignment of workers between projects where necessary, changing of order of projects MAJOR – VDCs, ADCs
3 Operational Decisions None identified –
As shown, major participation status was assigned to stakeholders if more than 50 percent of respondents indicated that participated in an activity listed on the questionnaire.
For example, all ADCs and VDCs interviewed stated that they had participated in project identification (Initial decisions), whilst 50 percent of the Councillors stated that they had participated in the same (Figure 4-B). In contrast, only 2.2 percent of local resident respondents stated that they had participated in project identification.

No operational decision-making processes were identified and, for ongoing decisions, the data points to the exclusive participation of VDCs and ADCs in that regard.

Whilst, as representatives of the masses, VDC and ADC participation as presented in Table 4-B signifies high citizen participation, with 6 out of 10 local residents believing they should have a direct hand in project identification, the data shows low citizen participation in decision-making. Using Arnstein’s logic, the non-participation implies either Manipulation or Therapy, the lowest end of the participation spectrum.

In terms of Implementation, the responses have been grouped into three types and are illustrated by the table below:
Table 4-H – Participation by implementation type
Type Stakeholders
1 Resource Contributions Provision of Tools, Materials, Land and Labour MAJOR – VDCs, ADCs, Cllrs, Local Residents (beneficiaries)
2 Project Administration and Coordination Supervision of project work, on-site activities (roll-calling, task distribution), MAJOR – Local Residents (beneficiaries) , VDCs, ADCs, District Council
3 Enlistment Recruited as MASAF IV beneficiaries MAJOR – Local Residents, District Council
As seen, local residents are well included at this stage and participation is quite significant.
Official Council documents indicate a budget for tools and materials but, as will be highlighted further down, demand is surplus to provision. This, according to several respondents, sometimes forces them to source tools and materials domestically. Cohen and Uphoff emphasise noting if such resource contributions are “voluntary, remunerated or coerced”, which affects the interpretation of the idealness of participation here. From their typology, the tools and material contributions appear “coerced”.

Apart from the communities providing labour, they also provide skilled artisans and foremen that work on sub-projects in different capacities (page 54). This was not verified as none of the respondents interviewed indicated they were foremen or artisans.

The District Council further stated that was responsible for the actual assignment of eligible households to PPWP but communities contributed to determining their eligibility (Page 52). Community participation was also effected with local households being picked for PPWP project work.

In terms of participating in Benefits, Cohen and Uphoff categorise benefits into three types and, through Table 4-I below, an indication of the level of participation is provided.

Table 4-I – Participation by Benefit type
Type Stakeholders
1 Material Benefits Income, household assets obtained using income (livestock, building materials, clothes etc.) MAJOR – Local Residents (beneficiaries)
2 Social Benefits Project deliverables – community assets created (roads, village forest areas, fishponds, irrigation schemes etc.) MAJOR – Local Residents, Local Leadership (VDCs, ADCs Traditional Leaders)
3 Personal Benefits None identified –
There is significant participation in the utilisation of material benefits, with the receipt of wages by PPWP beneficiaries working and both artisans and foremen also being remunerated. 78 percent of the 277 beneficiary respondents stated that their participation under the programme had “helped bring development” to their areas and given them “income to buy household items, food and pay for fees”.

The benefits of social infrastructure such as roads are also participated in and are spread across the different community-based stakeholders, including those not associated with PPWP. Some beneficiary respondents cited “improved access between villages” as one such benefit being enjoyed.

It was noted that citizen participation in Evaluation is next to non-existent and Project-centered evaluation, through which PPWP implementation is evaluated, is facilitated centrally by the Council. However, some beneficiaries stated that they had submitted both complaints and requests to Council officers during supervisions relating to issues such as “delays in paying wages” and “inclusion of the elderly on labour-intensive sub-projects”, which would imply participation in informal evaluations at community level.

A summary of the WHAT dimension under PPWP is shown in Table 4-J, indicating evidence of citizen participation under 8 of 13 possible activities.

Table 4-J – Occurrence of Citizen Participation by Cohen and Uphoff’s Participation
Types

Who Participates?As classed by Cohen and Uphoff and based on the information in previous sections, the three groups of participants identified under PPWP are Government Officials, Local Leaders and Local Residents.
Grassroots participation is confirmed by the involvement in 62 percent of activity types under PPWP.

How is Participation Occurring?The testimonies from the respective stakeholders were probed to determine participation in relation to the HOW dimension of the Cohen and Uphoff model. Table 4-K highlights the findings.

Table 4-K – Analysis of how participation occurs
Type 1 Direction of initiative(s) Bottom-Up (VDCs/ADCs develop VLAPs, Council facilitates implementation of VLAP projects under PPWP)
2 Characteristics of Inducements (Voluntary v Coercive) Voluntary (optional PPWP participation), Coercive (community-sourced materials/tools)
3 Structure 4 Channels of participation (Individual/Collective,
Formal/Informal,
Direct/Indirect) Mix of Individual (households registered individually, work as individuals) and Group (VLAP preparation, grouped labour on sub-projects etc.)
Mix of Formal (VDCs, ADCs etc.) and Informal (raising of complaints, requests, petitions)
Mix of direct participation (as PPWP, beneficiaries, foremen, artisans) and indirect representation (through VDCs/ADCs)
5 Duration (One-off/ Intermittent/Continuous) Intermittent (cyclical, average of 1 to 2 PPWP cycles per year)
6 Scope Participation in the Planning (through VDCs and ADCs) and Execution stages.

7 Empowerment Data not collected
Firstly, the evidence implies a bottom-up approach with the community structures determining issues and identifying remedial interventions which are then assented to by the Council and Political Leaders. The declared participation of one political leader in the VLAP process suggests possible political influence but this was not delved into and may be an area to tackle with future research.

The incentives are voluntary; participation in PPWP as a beneficiary is not mandatory and would-be households are allowed to opt out if they so wish. There was an element of coerciveness noted with communities stating that they use their own implements there is inconsistency in the provision of such by the Council (p 61).

It was inferred from responses that there is a hybridization of channels of participation used. Participation here is implied to be a mix of formal and informal channels, group and individual participants, and beneficiaries directly participating or being represented.

With regards the duration, participation is interpreted as being intermittent because official Council documents indicate that there have been 4 PPWP cycles since inception and the implementation periods and time between cycles have not been consistent. This gives an average of 1 to 2 cycles annually against a target of 3 to 4 cycles.

Participation has been seen to be across a range of activities, such as the VLAP and subproject implementation processes, but these can be categorised as belonging to either the Planning or Execution stages of the project cycle.

Ascertaining empowerment was more complex and, although respondents, particularly at the grassroots, were asked about how participating in PPWP had benefitted them personally and their communities, the answers provided were not comprehensive enough to determine whether or not they now feel empowered.

Overall therefore, participation in MASAF IV is primarily from the ground up and any success generated can be therefore attributed to the grassroots and their representation, specifically that they are highlighting the right issues, choosing the right interventions and are leveraging the requisite amount of effort.
In attempting to measure project success relative to participation, the next section provides the results of the assessment of the success of community-driven PPWP sub projects.

Determining the Success Levels of citizen-driven projects under MASAF IV PPWPA further objective was for the research to establish how successfully implemented PPWP sub-projects have, with a view to establishing the cause-and-effect relationship between participation and successful implementation proposed previously.

Using the same sample populations, community stakeholders were asked to either select or state names of PPWP projects they recalled participating in, in relation to the activities they selected.
Firstly, the VDCs were given lists of implemented projects sourced from the Council from their respective domains and, in terms of their participatory roles, asked to indicate which projects they had been responsible for.

VDCs under TA Mkumbira were given 84 projects whilst those under TA Timbiri were given 222 projects. All the VDCs confirmed that each project had been conceptualised by themselves. However, when compared to the District Safety Net Plan prepared by the Council prior to commencement of the MASAF IV programme, 62. 4 percent of the combined 306 projects were found listed, indicating that the remainder were conceived outside of the VLAP process and through some informal project identification mechanism. As they have all been confirmed by the VDC, however, it still certifies that only community-driven interventions are being implemented.

The local residents who confirmed PPWP participation were asked to each name 1 or more project that they had been involved in, in relation to their individually-selected means of participation. In total, between the two TAs, 51 projects were mentioned. These names were then cross-checked with the VDC lists, resulting in 45 projects that had been participated in by both the VDCs and community beneficiaries. When broken down into phases, there were 60 sub-projects assessed.

The final exercise was to reference Council Monitoring and Evaluation reports to determine implementation success for each sub-project using on 3 parameters:
Duration/Time taken – to be successful implementation of a sub project must have been in 24 days or less;
Cost – expenditure must have been below budget, that is, for wages and, where relevant, materials; and
Scope – work done must equal or be above plans; for example distance covered for Roads projects or area covered for forestry or land conservation sub-projects.

Table 4-L is an extract of how the methodology was applied whilst table 4M summarises the results of the assessment.

Table 4-L – Extract of performance assessment
4445003810

Table 4-M – Summary of project performance by Triple Constraint Parameters

As can be seen, almost 8 out of every 10 projects, phased or bunched, were on time and within budget. However, because of the unavailability of comprehensive data on achieved coverage in terms of scope, nothing can be inferred from what was made available regarding the achievement of the scope of activities. Similarly, the materials expenditure figures were lump sums and linking portions of the figures to specific projects was not possible.

Of note is that the time and cost aspects are products of implementation activities that are community-led, whereas the monitoring and evaluation process, responsible for assessing achievement of scope, is Council-led. Whilst there are no guarantees that achievement of scope across the sampled projects would have been as high as seen in the other two parameters, the process of determining results is just as important as the results themselves.

It can be argued, therefore, that a more inclusive M;E process could have helped generate the information required in this instance.

With a fairly comprehensive assessment of the level of citizen participation and its positive influence on outcomes under PPWP, the next chapter summarises the results, draws conclusions and draws lessons from the findings. Recommendations are also made on how the impact of participation can be enhanced.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONSINTRODUCTIONThis chapter begins by providing a brief context of the issue at hand, the viability of community participation in development, and the results of assessments to establish the degree of participation and, in turn, what results vis-à-vis project implementation have been achieved, all this under the case being studied, MASAF IV PPWP.

Additionally, observations drawn are fed into the latter part of the chapter, in which recommendations are made to drive forward participation under MASAF IV and, where relevant, other similar initiatives, present or future.

The research was carried out on the back of erratic flows of development assistance from rich to poor countries in recent years. With this unpredictability, developing countries have been looking for ways to maximize the benefits attained from what is becoming a dwindling resource. Development theoreticians have advocated for citizen participation in development as one such means of obtaining value for money. However, with a relative lack of documentary evidence of its efficacy, specifically Malawi, this research attempted to help bridge the gap by assessing how effective participation has been under MASAF IV PPWP, one the country’s largest community-driven initiatives by financing and coverage.

In attempting to validate the proposition that allowing citizens to participate in development programmes results in them being implemented successfully, the research sampled the district of Nkhata Bay, one of Malawi’s 28 administrative centers, and looked to tackle issues around the following:
determining how communities participate in MASAF IV PPWP,
what and how government policy and legislation support their participation
how successful both the government agenda and community driven project implementation have been
Making recommendations to heighten both participation and its impacts.

The next section highlights the key findings from the results presented in the previous chapter.

SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGSAs presented in chapter 4, the following were the major findings noted:
The data collected shows citizen participation occurring under PPWP in Nkhata Bay, particularly during planning, through which sub projects to address developmental challenges are identified and selected, and implementation of the selected projects. However, there is still top-level or district control over other key activities such as sub-project monitoring and evaluation.

The Local Government Act and Decentralisation policy are the government initiatives that guide participation in Nkhata Bay and have created ADCs, VDCs and AECs, community-based structures that act as agents of the grassroots under MASAF IV PPWP.
Based on Cohen and Uphoff’s participation types, the data shows that the policy and Act have been successful in enabling all three committees, and the general citizenry, to participate and in MASAF IV and (Tables 4-F and 4-J).

In terms of duration (time) and budget (cost), the majority of sampled projects conceived and implemented by the grassroots and their representation were found to have been implemented successfully. However, no determination could be made on the achievement of planned deliverables (scope).
In reference to these findings, the next section provides answers to the research questions with a view to making recommendations on moving participation forward.

CONCLUSIONSBased on the summarised findings and the detailed results from Chapter 4, answers can be provided in response to the research questions initially asked.

MIXTURE OF BOTTOM-UP AND TOP DOWN PARTICIPATIONAs observed through data collected, participation under MASAF IV is a combination of approaches. Firstly, identified was that participation is both direct and indirect, the latter through established community structures such as the VDCs. Participation is also predominantly bottom-up and communities are given the platform to conceive and implement development initiatives themselves. Prima facie, this appears to imply a hybridized participation model dominated by the grassroots as opposed to an exclusively citizen-driven one that is responsible for the project success ascertained subsequently.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT AND DECENTRALISATION POLICY HAVE ENHANCED CITIZEN PARTICIPATIONAs already touched upon, Malawi’s Decentralisation Policy and Local Government Act are the primary enablers of the country’s participation agenda.
The data shows that the two have been successful in providing a platform for participation in PPWP through the aforementioned VDCs, ADCs and AECs. This shoes that minimal influence over grassroots development is effective and supports the notion that government’s role should be purely as an enabler and not a direct initiator of such initiatives.

LARGE PROPORTION OF SUB PROJECTS CONCEIVED BY THE GRASSROOTS SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTEDIn terms of successful project implementation, it was shown that at least 80 percent of sampled projects identified as being citizen led were successfully implemented in terms of time and cost. A notable observation was that the aspect of the research that generated inconclusive results, the measure of scope, was related to M;E activities that the communities sampled have little if any involvement in. A case can be made that greater involvement of communities in the M;E process may have yielded the results intended, that is, made available data to measure scope.

These conclusions validate the conceptual framework previously presented, that success in project implementation is a direct result of the participation of the beneficiary populations.

One aspect that was not validated is the role of educational background as a moderator variable. When asked, roughly three quarters of respondents indicated that they had dropped out in primary school. However, in making recommendations to enhance their participation, most indicated something to do with improving monetary incentives. This suggests that the prospect of financial gain rather than education moderates the relationship between participation and successful implementation.

It would be premature to generalize these results to the entire country as Nkhata bay is one of 28 districts. At the same time, MASAF IV is a national programme and involving entire communities in the conceiving of such a large programme would not be cost effective. However, they offer food for thought in terms of programme design and further research; marginalized individuals value personal gain as much if not more than communal welfare and greater grassroots control can provide value for money.

In looking to maximize both citizen participation and the resultant benefits identified, the next section recommends actions that can be taken by some of the stakeholders in the development process.

RECOMMENDATIONSWith the approach taken, results generated and the conclusions drawn, the author proposes having the grassroots participate throughout the project cycle, particularly for community-level interventions, as opposed to just during planning and implementation.
The researcher also makes recommendations linked to the gaps identified that affected results as well as what appeared to work in favour of the end result, successfully implemented projects.

In this vein, recommendations made are for each of the structures above the grassroots with the most responsibilities, the Council and community leaders. Whilst these recommendations are in relation to MASAF IV PPWP, it is argued that future programmes conceived in a similar vein can consider these.

THE COUNCILDevelop a Community-Based M;E systemOne of the issues identified was an inadequate M;E process resulting the lack of important data. Furthermore, it was noted that communities are not involved at this stage.
It is proposed therefore that M;E of community-level initiatives should be done by the same communities. There should be guidelines for collecting data during supervision and producing and submitting reports to the Council; the Council’s supervision and monitoring should be on a purely sample basis, which can be cost-effective for distant and difficult-to-access beneficiary communities.

As VDCs and ADCs have shown competence, they can be given the responsibility for such a system. This would also require capacitating them, both in terms of skills and financial resources. Willing and competent community members that are not beneficiaries under the programme could also be considered.

Provide Secondary Incentives for Sub-Project CompletionWith beneficiaries expressing the desire to see a higher wage relative to their work, providing added incentives, such as bonuses and financing for more development initiatives, could satisfy their financial needs. As this is to do with a revamp of the project design, this is the domain of the central government.

Incorporate Traditional Leadership in Programme ProcessesWhilst traditional leaders such as TAs have significant community-level influence and have an oversight role, it was noted that they are not properly resourced to discharge their responsibilities. Building their capacity and funding their activities under PPWP would empower another important community stakeholder to contribute to the PPWP project cycle.

Care must be taken however to not allow the leadership to influence processes such as project identification and beneficiary selection as this would defeat the purpose of grassroots participation.

More Effective Distribution of Tools and MaterialsA further recommendation is to find a balanced system for distributing tools and materials amongst communities to reduce “coerced’ participation through beneficiaries being forced to use household tools or buying tools with the wages they receive. One means of distribution could be to target all recipient communities on a phase by phase basis.

THE COMMUNITY STRUCTURESProvide Open Platform for All to Discuss Developmental IssuesAs proxies through decentralisation, VDCs and ADCs are the lead authorities for the community development process. However, from the beneficiary responses, it appears that that there is little if any attempt to engage the same communities they represent, especially during the actual VLAP process. Furthermore, there were PPWP beneficiaries that indicated that, despite VDC and ADC representation, they believe they have roles to play in the planning process too. The proposal here is for VDCs and ADCs to convene regular forums to discuss developmental issues with communities. These can be useful for directly soliciting community views and providing feedback on pertinent issues. Most importantly, communities will feel part of the planning process and are more likely to embrace and take ownership of resultant developments.

Enable Participation of the grassroots Non-BeneficiariesMASAF IV PPWP generates end results that provide social benefits enjoyed by all, beneficiaries or non- beneficiaries. However, as noted from their responses, non-PPWP beneficiaries that are ordinary community members do not play any role in the programme whatsoever. Those communities may be missing out on a stakeholder that could be beneficial to PPWP. The proposal to also involve such non-beneficiaries in PPWP is linked to the previous suggestion to have open community forums; such non-beneficiaries can be given a chance to contribute to development planning through such a platform.

FURTHER RESEARCHThe research has provided an interesting perspective on the benefit of development participation and how well participation under PPWP has been received across the sampled communities.
The results and conclusions generated were not argued to be a reflection of the status quo across the board because of various factors, which each provide opportunities for additional and future research. Furthermore, the lack of data on scope gives an opportunity to undertake ground-truthing to collect the relevant data.

Firstly, the sample population covered 2 of 13 TAs across one of 28 districts, which could be argued is relatively small. With the results spawned, there is an opportunity to draw a much larger sample to see if the results generated would be the same.

With the limitations raised previously, one area not covered by this research was empowerment through the MASAF IV programme. As the goal of inducing participation is to afford the opportunity for maximum citizen control over development, the next step would be to ascertain if, through citizen participation, MASAF IV has empowered its community-based stakeholders, particularly the grassroots.
Lastly, as the research focused on the project management process, that is, if the use of citizen participation helps better attain project deliverables, it will also be worthwhile to measure if those deliverables have had a sustained impact over beneficiary communities.

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