North-West Frontier Province Barani Area Development Project
sector: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development, Energy, Finance, Transport | country: Pakistan
1. A poverty reduction, multisector area development project covering very large isolated areas cannot be efficiently implemented in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa without (i) the Planning and Development Department as the executing agency, which has the essential mandate and institutional capacity for multisector interventions; (ii) a decentralized project management model; (iii) components fully designed with dedicated staff resources, operational costs for implementing agencies, and market-based reasonable salaries and benefits; (iv) flexible, demand-driven design of interventions; (v) minimum beneficiary funding requirements; (vi) well-designed consulting packages with efficient costs; (vii) a duration of 10 years; and (viii) flexibility in loan extension, and responsiveness to security crises and natural disasters. A service delivery project with gender and development objectives cannot be implemented in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa without dedicated female technical staff and proper logistical support for them including office space, residential facilities, training facilities, and dedicated vehicles.
2. Selection of nongovernment agencies (NGOs) at appraisal would have ensured timely implementation of the project. Given the community mobilization as a prerequisite for all interventions, and the problem of political interference in selection of NGOs through competitive bidding, single-source selection at appraisal should be preferred.
3. Feeder roads, large drinking water supply, and surface water diversion schemes cannot be classified under the umbrella of participatory small-scale infrastructure, as these schemes require specialized technical skills and high operation and maintenance costs. In the future, these should be classified as government-managed medium-scale infrastructure subprojects.
4. To simplify the administration and financing of various subprojects, component-based financing is suggested for area-based rural development projects in which subcomponents will be financed by one financier only, together with government counterpart funding, instead of jointly by all financing sources.
The project completion report (PCR) identified several lessons regarding the following: (i) design requirements for a successful rural development project; (ii) method of selecting nongovernment organizations (NGOs); (iii) the need for technical expertise for road, water supply, and diversion schemes; and (iv) avoidance of financing subprojects by each financier. This validation concurs with these lessons.