Effectiveness and challenges of participatory governance: the case of agricultural and rural management councils in the Western Democratic Republic of the Congo uri icon

abstract

  • Local management councils and multi-stakeholder forums are institutional arrangements used for policy dialogue, priority-setting and program monitoring but are rarely evaluated. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of 55 local-level Agricultural and Rural Management Councils (CARGs) in 23 randomly-selected territories in the western Democratic Republic of the Congo. These CARGs are similar to the farmers' forums in Uganda and research-extension linkages committees in Ghana and Nigeria in terms of their multi-level structures that aggregate inputs from villages up to the provincial and national levels, and are similar to Uganda's barazas at the sub-county level on participatory monitoring of programs and public service delivery. CARGs also play a major role in sharing innovations and providing advice to farmers by brokering knowledge and linking various experts and stakeholders, such as forming innovation platforms in various countries. However, CARGs are wider in the breadth of activities and are more generic in the thematic scope and coverage than other platforms. This paper identifies several problems and challenges in CARG implementation and the overall weaknesses in CARG formation. Our review suggests that only half of the surveyed CARGs achieved results consistent with at least one of their main goals, while the rest have not achieved any tangible outputs consistent with their objectives. Although the majority of stakeholders interviewed were aware of CARGs, only 33 % attended CARG meetings and perceived CARGs to be useful; and only 11 % reported having benefitted or knowing someone who had benefitted from CARGs. However, CARGs differ in performance and exhibit different financial capacity, coordination capacity, coordination commitment of its leaders, and representation of government officials, which are all significantly correlated to how well CARGs fulfill their objectives, link to other actors, and are perceived by stakeholders.

publication date

  • 2016
  • 2016