The definition of participation adopted by the Bank's Learning Group on Participatory Development, namely, participation is a process through which stakeholders influence and share control over development initiatives, and the decisions and resources which affect them, underpins this Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is aimed at World Bank Task Managers to help them support participatory processes in economic and social development and begins in Chapter I by exploring what it means to use participatory processes to plan and implement Bank operations, especially in reaching the poor. Chapter II contains a variety of case studies covering different countries, sectors and types of activities to reflect the Bank's experiences in participatory development. Chapter III provides practice pointers as a guide to the various steps of participatory planning and decision making. The practice pointers in Chapter IV focus on the poor and common barriers to their participation, as well as approaches to strengthening the financial and organizational capacities of the poor. Two annexes contain, first, a range of participatory methods and second, summaries of background papers on participation prepared for the Sourcebook.
Among the case studies, one on municipalities and low-income sanitation in Brazil highlights the problem of bringing water and sewage to the congested urban slums of Rio de Janeiro. It shows how a participatory sub-project design involving the linking of engineering companies with community participation NGOs saves a large loan component targeted at the poor from cancellation. Engineers and social organizers negotiated the design and management of sub-projects with slum dwellers. Women were the key to getting the sub-project underway, since, as actual and permanent heads of households, they are in reality the local community. A Bank project among the Bedouin in Egypt shows that the contents of a project must be socially acceptable to be successful. While only men came to meetings with the project team, private meetings with women showed that all major decisions were taken by men only after consulting the women in their household and that therefore women, though publicly silent, had a strong voice in deciding whether a project was acceptable. In a Women in Development sector strategy in Morocco, task managers use meetings and orientation workshops in participatory methods to convince skeptical government officials to allow women to participate in the formulation of a WID strategy paper. This study illustrates how the organizing of women into focus groups for discussion and decision making empowers them and gives them confidence to take the initiative in improving their circumstances.
A section on facilitating women's participation maintains that unless specific steps are taken to ensure that women participate and benefit, they usually do not. For example, out of 121 rural water supply projects women only benefited from the 17 percent of water projects specifically designed to involve them. Barriers to women's participation include: customs, beliefs and attitudes which confine women to the domestic sphere; women's economic and domestic workloads which impose time constraints; and law and customs which impede women's access to credit, productive inputs, employment, education, information, or medical care. Measures for supporting women's participation involve obtaining information through gender analysis which can lead to a gender strategy to address practical and strategic gender needs. Effective gender strategies pay particular attention to resource allocation at household and community level. Gender planning is most effective when it occurs early in policy formulation, analytical work and project preparation. Women's groups are often the most effective entry point for initiating activities and reaching poor households, and groups also provide a legitimate "social space" beyond the home and foster a sense of solidarity encouraging women to deal with unfamiliar formal institutions and processes. A paper included in the first annex of this Sourcebook discusses gender analysis, a tool which takes into account women's roles in production, reproduction and management of community and other activities. Applied to development interventions gender analysis helps to identify genderbased differentials in access to resources, permits planners to achieve policy design reform and supportive program strategies, and develops training packages to sensitize development staff on gender issues.
A working paper in the second annex on participation in the water and sanitation sector states that the participation of users in designing and implementing projects and managing water and sanitation services is now being built into Bank-funded projects to increase efficiency, equity and cost recovery and to facilitate the extension of service coverage to poor communities. Success depends on establishing the necessary institutional arrangements for participation and project delivery. In addition, task managers have to spend more time in the field, and adapt Bank procedures to support appropriate models for financing and procurement. A second working paper on gender issues in participation gives examples of how Participatory Poverty Assessments have produced genderdifferentiated data which leads to valuable gender analysis and policy proposals for enhancing women's capacity to contribute to, and participate in, the development process. When obstacles to women's participation are severe, there is a case for targeting women's needs and designing projects exclusively for women until an environment for their participation has been created.