Fonerwa Knowledge Sharing Portal

Rwanda - Decentralization and Community Development Project (English)

Ratings for the Decentralization and Community Development Project (DCDP) for Rwanda were as follows: outcomes were satisfactory, risk to development outcome was low or negligible, Bank performance was satisfactory, and borrower performance was satisfactory.
Some lessons learned included: capacity building through learning by doing process was effective both to the Community Development Committees (CDCs), communities and local government staff. The fact that recipients of capacity building also had an opportunity to experiment most of the training aspects like planning and monitoring, fiduciary management to mention only a few was a strong tool for validation of the capacity building provided.
This was challenged by the fact that there was staff turnover for local government staff which called for continuous capacity building. In summary, capacity building through learning by doing process was considered very practicable by local governments and communities. DCDP introduced a comprehensive participatory process through community planning and prioritization informed by national level orientation.
This promoted both citizens participation but also the ability by communities to feed into the demand side governance aspects tools like the citizens report cards which were also introduced by the DCDP are currently being institutionalized. In a post-conflict and rapidly transforming environment such as Rwanda, it is important to design flexible projects that can respond rapidly to changing circumstances.
The project ability to adapt to the decentralization reform and provide flexible institutional development support provided evidence that flexible design should be highly encouraged in projects where governments are relatively responsive and are reforming rapidly. Completion of community assets in CDD projects is not a sufficient measure to success.
The case of DCDP shows that proactively in ensuring that all stakeholders are on board to ensure that community assets are not only completed but are also functional and sustainability arrangements have been put in place is equally essential. This was tried and seems workable for the case of DCDP and local governments and sector ministries expressed satisfaction at the Bank team's efforts to broker discussions on these issues. A strong monitoring and evaluation system (M&E) to track key project performance indicators and allow for adaptive change should be implemented from the beginning of project cycle. In the case of DCDP, the M&E was strengthened and implemented following the Mid-Term Review.

Alex Kamurase


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