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Who has the yam, and who has the knife? Social Action funds and decentralization in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda

  • Lenneiye, N. Mungai
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    This publication, Who has the yam and who has the knife, seeks to illustrate and address the creative tension needed to ensure an equitable distribution of power over the development process, by examining how putting the yam (resources) and the knife (the Financing Agreement) in the hands of the central, and district bureaucracies, and communities respectively can contribute to democratic decentralization. Three Social Action Funds (SAFs) in Africa are examined in this regard - in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. The Community Sub-project Cycle (CPSC), an integral part of the SAFs, is analyzed to show how a demand-driven process with in-built mutual accountability can result in communities realizing their aspirations while remaining accountable to government, and vice versa. The more formal way of capturing the issue would be to ask if governance can be broadened and deepened so that community needs become an intrinsic and measurable part of district and national plans. This"party line"on decentralization is that it is, in general, the way to go - all hindrances to it must be addressed and removed. The question that is very rarely asked is - how does this square with some of the Bank's other dominating approaches, such as Community-Driven Development ? This publication, based on experience from the field, outlines and responds to the challenges posed by this"dual"development. By putting some flesh on the bones of the"party line,"it provokes the intelligence without insulting it, and tells us that often, the real"poverty"is that of ideas and vision.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 32749.

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    Date of creation: 01 May 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:32749
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