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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Popular Participation and Local Government Reform
Author:Charlick, Robert B.
Year:2001
Periodical:Public Administration and Development
Volume:21
Issue:2
Period:May
Pages:149-157
Language:English
Geographic terms:Mali
Guinea
Africa
Subjects:popular participation
local government reform
Politics and Government
External link:https://doi.org/10.1002/pad.155
Abstract:This study examines the degree to which local government reform characterized by significant devolution of authority has taken place in Mali and Guinea, and the impact of such reform on popular participation and on the effectiveness of that participation in terms of increasing the representative, responsive and accountable character of local government. The examples suggest that under particular circumstances, local level participation may be expanded. However, this has little to do with governmental reforms, such as the creation of democratically elected local governments. Instead, it is associated with particular circumstances. It clearly does help to have local associations that are rooted in a social milieu and upon which new and broader development tasks can be grafted, although these local associations will not necessarily serve the interests of all villagers and may even operate to exclude nonmembers from sharing the benefits. Local associations are generally able to participate in development activities when they are connected to an externally funded project, and when an international NGO or bilateral donor agency intervenes on their behalf. As legitimate devolution of local government occurs it may pose serious problems for the participation of villagers through their voluntary associations. The very decentralization laws that are eventually passed may ignore or even exclude these actors from playing co-governance or co-management roles that in some cases they have been able to negotiate in the past with administrative authorities. In the short run, the main hope for the development of local associations and their empowerment seems inextricably linked to the power and influence of external donors and NGOs. For these groups to gain power by themselves, the rural economy must be transformed so that villagers have the resources for political action. Bibliogr., note, sum.
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