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Participatory Internal Learning for Grassroots NGOs in Micro-credit, Livelihoods and Environmental Regeneration


  • Helzi Noponen

    (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, USA)


Helzi Noponen describes a unique system designed to build capacities of grassroots NGO programme staff to think critically about programme operations and make strategic changes through a participatory monitoring and evaluation system. The system, called an 'internal learning system' (ILS), is augmented by a human resource development plan for organization staff and leaders designed to build key management skills through a linked set of training activities. This 'Barefoot Managers' curriculum has been launched by SEWA, Self Employed Women's Association, in one of their participant-run rural development associations, Banaskantha DWCRA Mahila SEWA Association (BDMSA), located in a resource poor and drought stricken rural area of northern Gujarat, India. The area faces extreme challenges and SEWA has initiated a participatory approach to the intertwined problems of environmental degradation and poverty. They have launched a variety of projects which improve the environment, provide income earning opportunities, build community assets and strengthen 'social capital'. The unique feature of this approach is that they have done this through leveraging the capacities of poor women as key actors in household and community survival. Development (1999) 42, 27–34. doi:10.1057/palgrave.development.1110032

Suggested Citation

  • Helzi Noponen, 1999. "Participatory Internal Learning for Grassroots NGOs in Micro-credit, Livelihoods and Environmental Regeneration," Development, Palgrave Macmillan;Society for International Deveopment, vol. 42(2), pages 27-34, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:develp:v:42:y:1999:i:2:p:27-34

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