ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations

264th Session
Geneva, November 1995

V. Conclusions

49. This review of evaluation reports on programmes and projects in which active participation has been practised has shown that, over the years, the participatory approach has developed into an indispensable management tool. In general, it improves the effectiveness and ensures the relevance of the project's activities, increases overall efficiency during implementation and enhances the sustainability of the results after the projects have terminated.

50. Participatory approaches have proved an essential vehicle for promoting tripartism in technical cooperation programmes and projects. In programmes based on tripartite partnership, participatory approaches have proved highly successful in creating mechanisms and structures that can lead to the social partners' playing a more active role, and thus having a stronger commitment to development efforts, which is of the utmost importance to the sustainability of results.

51. It is also clear that the involvement of all project partners in the systematic monitoring and evaluation of technical cooperation programmes and projects is the cornerstone of the participatory approach. Even more importantly, it allows factors which may affect the sustainability of results to be brought under control.

52. However, individuals and institutions involved in implementation have different perceptions of what participation implies, and this is often a constraint affecting the efficient application of participatory approaches. There is a need, therefore, to define in all cases what is meant by participation and to carry out more systematic analyses of the complex methodological issues involved in applying the different concepts and tools used in participation.

53. Participatory approaches have in some cases faced other constraints, such as high expectations of quick results held by donor agencies, centralized bureaucratic decision-making procedures in counterpart institutions, and technocratic monitoring and evaluation systems often controlled only by the project management.

54. Programmes that have adopted participatory monitoring and evaluation have shown it to be an efficient instrument for controlling the effective application of participatory process.

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Updated by VC. Approved by NdW. Last update: 26 January 2000.