Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

Benefits of Stakeholder Participation


Participation by project stakeholders means sharing a common understanding and involvement in the decision-making process of the project. Participation by stakeholders leads to empowerment and to joint ownership of the project. To increase participation the project should start with a consultation process that moves to negotiations and ends with joint decisions. Participation by project stakeholders has many benefits and advantages, among them are:

  • Ensures that the project plans are a reflection of the real needs and priorities
  • Develops an environment of trusts by allowing the voices of the stakeholders be heard and their issues be known
  • Makes the project accountable to the stakeholders
  • Enables the voices of the stakeholders to be heard and by doing that the level of trust in the relationships increases.
  • Promotes transparency in the actions of the project and ensures that the project is held accountable for its actions.
  • Increases ownership by stakeholders who feel the project is taking in account their views and motivates them to sponsor the project, which ultimately leads to sustainability.
  • Is a key strategy to win support to the project, to gain commitment to the project, and ultimately to increase the chances for sustainability after the project has been completed.

Real development requires a people centered approach instead of an output oriented one. Project managers need to break the conventional approach of top-down solutions to incorporate a bottom-up approach that enables a more sustainable solution.

While participation may require more time and resources and may be more difficult to implement; the results is an increase in commitment to the project. Stakeholders who are consulted and made part of the solution feel more willing to support the project.



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Characteristics of Development Projects

b2ap3_thumbnail_Development-projects.pngDevelopment organizations vary in size and orientation, most share the common goal of helping people and benefiting society. There are the large development projects financed by governments and institutions such as the World Bank that focus on infrastructure and improvements in the education, health and justice systems, and international humanitarian organizations and national NGOs that support development activities ranging from community organization, welfare support, health, education, small-financial loans and protection of the environment.

NGOs typically are private, voluntary, non-profit and service-oriented organizations dedicated to helping improve people's welfare and quality of life.

The goal of all development projects is to help improve people's lives through skills training and other livelihood programs. Development organizations prepare and implement development projects and work to strengthen the capabilities of local institutional and promote community self-reliance through sustainable strategies. Funding for projects comes through private and public donations, government assistance and a variety of other sources. Development projects may consist of a single, transformative project to address a specific problem or a series of projects targeted at addressing several problems.

Although, development projects make significant contributions to a community’s socioeconomic development, they also have limitations. A larger number of national NGOs are small in both size and scope of operations and their impact sometimes is limited. NGOs can suffer from financial and technical constraints, often focused on a specific concern or a specific location; many lack a broader economic and social perspective. They are loosely structured and may have limited accountability and their management and planning methods may be weak or too flexible.

One of the key success factors of development projects is when their planning involves people who will benefit or be affected by the project. Beneficiaries need to play a larger role in the planning and implementation of development efforts that will reshape their lives. This is one of the reasons why development projects are gradually is moving away from traditional projects that rely on delivering direct services, and toward projects that include the participation of local organizations to deliver the services that will benefit the poor and other intended beneficiaries more directly.

Involvement of beneficiaries also increases the likelihood of development efforts realizing their intended benefits and can help avoid implementation problems. The concept of participation is concerned with ensuring that the intended beneficiaries of development projects are involved in the planning and implementation of those projects. This is considered important as it empowers the recipients of development projects to influence and manage their own development and helps remove any type of dependency after the project is completed. Beneficiary participation is widely considered to be one of the most important concepts in modern development theory.


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