IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Decentralized rural development and enhanced community participation : a case study from Northeast Brazil


  • van Zyl, Johan
  • Barbosa, Tulio
  • Parker, Andrew N.
  • Sonn, Loretta


In Northeast Brazil, despite sustained efforts to reduce rural poverty and more than $3.2 billion in spending, the rural poor are little better off than they were two decades ago. Brazil's difficult macroeconomic environment has tended to restrict the amount of funds available for rural development. In addition, project implementation has often been seriously undermined by the excessive centralization of decisionmaking in Brazil prior to the approval of a new constitution in 1988. A preliminary evaluation of the latest rural development intervention in the Northeast - the reformulated Northeast Rural Development Program - suggests that rapid progress can be made if community participation is enhanced and decisionmaking authority is decentralized to lower levels of government and other institutions. Tosupport this new approach, the authors recommend that the next generation of rural development projects in the Northeast incorporate several features: 1) expansion of the existing community-based approach into a"municipal fund"program. This hands responsibility for the management of fiscal resources and project implementation to municipalities and communities, further promoting decentralization of decisionmaking and encouraging greater municipal cost-sharing on projects; 2) implementation of a poverty-targeting methodology based on poverty-related criteria, backed by a strong system of checks and balances to thwart mistargeting and misappropriation of resources; 3) establishment of clear rules for the composition and operating procedures of municipal councils, to improve participation and transparency; and 4) establishment of a system of checks and balances to promote transparency.

Suggested Citation

  • van Zyl, Johan & Barbosa, Tulio & Parker, Andrew N. & Sonn, Loretta, 1995. "Decentralized rural development and enhanced community participation : a case study from Northeast Brazil," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1498, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1498

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Binswanger, Hans P.*Aiyar, Swaminathan, 2003. "Scaling up community-driven development : theoretical underpinnings and program design implications," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3039, The World Bank.
    2. Barbara Pozzoni & Nalini Kumar, 2005. "A Review of the Literature on Participatory Approaches to Local Development for an Evaluation of the Effectiveness of World Bank Support for Community-Based and Driven Development Approaches," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 20203, April.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1498. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.