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Community-driven development decision tools
for rural development programmes
July 2009
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)


The CDD Decision Tools is the final outcome of a series of studies conducted from 2003-08 by IFAD on the CDD activities and approaches it sponsors in a number of countries in Western and Central Africa (WCA). The objective of these studies, including this CDD Tools document, was to improve the effectiveness of the approaches and operational methods used to design and implement community-driven development (CDD) investment programmes as a way to further enabling rural poor people to overcome poverty in WCA.

The review of CDD interventions in WCA began by studying five community-based projects to review their design, policy and performance.1 This study was extensively discussed within IFAD’s WCA Division and subsequently presented in a shorter version2 at a workshop held in Rome (3-4 June 2004), "Lessons Learned with Community-Driven Development (CDD) in Western and Central Africa and Elsewhere". These discussions focused on the outline of a coherent approach, strategy and policy for CDD and on tools and skills required to improve design and implementation support for CDD operations.

As a result of that experience, the Division decided to broaden the discussion and to prepare a Decision Tool document on CDD. The broader discussion was comprised of three initiatives:
  • a one-month electronic conference, held in October-November 2005, to mobilize as large an audience as possible, including IFAD staff, project operators and consultants, representatives of member countries’ governments, and representatives of other international and bilateral organizations;
  • a conference in Accra, Ghana in March 2006, in which many officers of IFAD-funded projects, central and local government representatives, farmer organizations and staff of international and bilateral organizations participated;
  • a study to investigate the opinions of actual and potential beneficiaries of a selected sample of IFAD CDD projects. This work was concluded in 2008.3
This Decision Tools document is thus the final outcome of five years of studies, debates and workshop discussions. These Tools will prove useful to Governments, development practitioners and field technical staff that are financing, designing or implementing CDD projects for rural poverty reduction.

I would like to thank Romano Pantanali, who led the preparation of a previous version of this document, and all the IFAD projects, staff and external partners who have been supporting the Division in its effort to improve its policy and methods of CDD project design and implementation. From the Division, I would particularly like to extend my appreciation to Mohamed Manssouri and Cristiana Sparacino, who have led this long-lasting exercise, for their dedication and their strategic and intellectual contributions, along with Caroline Bidault and Norman Messer for their valuable inputs.


  1. www.fidafrique.net
  2. IFAD Approach to Community-Driven Development in the West Africa Region, May 2004.
  3. Enquête sur les partenaires locaux des projets CDD-FIDA., ISIAO Report, 2008.

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