Local level participatory planning approach [Ethiopia]

approaches_2388 - Ethiopia

Completeness: 86%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Book project: where the land is greener - Case Studies and Analysis of Soil and Water Conservation Initiatives Worldwide (where the land is greener)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MoA) - Ethiopia

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Reference(s) to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Technologies

2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

An approach used by field staff to implement conservation activities, involving farmers in all stages of planning, implementation and evaluation.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Aims / objectives: The Local Level Participatory Planning Approach (LLPPA) starts with the selection of communities based on needs and problem assessment. Then development committees are formed, consisting of one or two technical staff and seven to eight farmers. They are elected by the community through a general assembly of land users.

Stages of implementation: The development committees plan and coordinate development activities. They first conduct a survey of the biophysical and socio-economic conditions of the area. Then problems are identified and prioritised with the community members through participatory rural appraisal (PRA). Land use analysis, followed by the definition of objectives, identification of development options and selection of appropriate SWC interventions, is carried out on a consultative basis. Targets for achievements are established, and resources and inputs are determined. Finally the development committee prepares a work plan. The plan for SWC activities is then submitted to the community leaders, and the approval of the plan is made by the general assembly of land users, in consultation with the technical field staff. The development committee is given the responsibility for organising implementation. The beneficiaries actively participate in this implementation, in maintenance and in utilisation of the assets created, by contributing their labour and resources. Whenever required technical field staff give technical advice during implementation of development activities - area closure for rehabilitation in this case. Participatory monitoring and evaluation of activities is another important element of the approach.

Role of stakeholders: The main purpose of LLPPA is to enhance farmers’ involvement in all steps of the development process, from the initial stages of planning, to implementation of the activities, and in the evaluation of the achievements. A good relationship between land users and field workers, and acceptance as well as support of the development activities by the land users are fundamental prerequisites for fruitful implementation and maintenance of SWC measures.

2.3 Photos of the Approach

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied



Region/ State/ Province:


Further specification of location:

South Ethiopia, Ethiopia

2.7 Type of Approach

  • project/ programme based

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

- encourage the involvement of the beneficiary population and the technical personnel in the whole development process (ie initial planning, implementation, monitoring/evaluation) so that sustainable development, leading to improved living conditions is attained, - reduce land degradation (gully formation and landslides, sediment flow into downstream water harvesting and storage tanks) and enhance natural regeneration and fertility of soils in order to increase the productivity of degraded areas: provide livestock feed, fuel and construction wood, and higher crop yields

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: Difficulties in attaining sustainable development through area closures for rehabilitation are due to: - lacking sense of ownership: land users feel that development attained in enclosures belongs to the government, - lack of awareness about land degradation problems, and the values of conservation measures, - reluctance to maintain activities and protect assets created, - shortage of livestock feed, fuelwood and construction material, - increasing land degradation problems (on- and off-site) due to improper land use and poor farming practices, - food insecurity and poverty

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

availability/ access to financial resources and services
  • hindering

Lack of financial resources: >90% of the community members are poor.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Provision of hand tools by the project. Provide training to raise awareness about benefits.

legal framework (land tenure, land and water use rights)
  • hindering

Land tenure (land is state and public property)

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Assure land user rights and provide certificates

The existing land ownership, land use rights / water rights moderately hindered the approach implementation Area closures would provide better opportunities and advantages to the beneficiaries if hillsides were distributed to individual farmers, and if they were provided with user right certificates for the plots developed by them. In that case each farmer would give more attention to the protection and maintenance of assets developed.

knowledge about SLM, access to technical support
  • hindering

1) Cultivating steep slopes due to overpopulation and land subdivision (holdings of 0.25-0.5 ha/household).
2) Deforestation: illegal cutting of trees due to lack of fuel/construction wood, letting livestock into closed areas. Lack of management plans for planted trees.
3) Overgrazing of sloping lands resultng in severe gullies (on >50% of the land) and landslides. No controlled grazing

Treatment through the SLM Approach: 1) Apply appropriate land use practices according to land potential and apply SWC practices. Alternative income generation.
2) Training and awareness raising on how to assume responsibilities to protect the assets developed. Plant trees in woodlots and provide alternative energy sources (e.g. kerosene)
3) practise zero grazing, cut-and-carry and/or controlled grazing

  • hindering

Lack of awareness: Lack of awareness about soil degradation and appropriate management practices.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Awareness raising through training and awareness creation seminars.

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

In the approach area women's participation is more than 50% (and this is increasing) in the implementation of SWC measures. However, women are still not playing a sufficient role in decision making, due to cultural norms/values.

  • SLM specialists/ agricultural advisers
  • national government (planners, decision-makers)
  • international organization
3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation interactive self-motivation: few farmers take the initiative
planning interactive initiated by technical staff, motivated by the development committee: identify problems, prioritise them and seek solutions
implementation interactive community is responsible for implementation, some incentives are given for motivation: farmers are organised into working teams
monitoring/ evaluation passive initiated by extension agents, annual evaluation during community meeting
Research none none

3.3 Flow chart (if available)


The Regional Bureau of Agriculture provides the technical support and coordinates the programme at the regional level. It is linked but not directly accountable to MoA. The Zonal office participates in the monitoring and evaluation of the activities and also provides technical advice. Kebele is the lowest administrative unit formed of different villages. Several Kebeles make a Wereda. Development committees are assigned by the general assembly and comprise members from farmers/community and the development agents working in the area.

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Specify who decided on the selection of the Technology/ Technologies to be implemented:
  • mainly land users, supported by SLM specialists

Made by the community/land users in consultation with SWC specialists/extension workers.

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by mainly by land users supported by SLM specialists. Made by the community members based on the plan of action prepared by the development committee (comprising farmers and technical staff).

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?


Form of training:
  • courses
Subjects covered:

Extension workers and Wereda district SWC specialists are given regular training on LLPPA and area closure management. Community leaders and the development committee are trained every year on the various techniques of soil conservation. Two to three day awareness creation seminars are held for the community in general. The awareness creation programme played a significant role.

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?


Specify whether advisory service is provided:
  • on land users' fields
Describe/ comments:

Key elements: training, demonstration of the technology, provision of the necessary inputs for application

Advisory service is quite adequate to ensure the continuation of land conservation activities; The extension service has been adequate, due to support by MoA and donor agencies such as the World Food Programme.

4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)

Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
  • yes, greatly
Specify the level(s) at which institutions have been strengthened or established:
  • local
Specify type of support:
  • financial

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?



bio-physical aspects were regular monitored through measurements; indicators: chane in slope, sediment trapped in ditch, soil depth, ground cover, amount of biomass, rate of regeneration of trees and shrubs, productivity of livestock, spring water discharge, soil loss, runoff

technical aspects were regular monitored through measurements; indicators: quality of structural measures, survival rate of planted trees

socio-cultural aspects were regular monitored through measurements; indicators: community participation in planning and implementation, trends in the participation of poor and rich farmers, womens' participation and decision making between men and women

economic / production aspects were regular monitored through measurements; indicators: amount of grass produced, household income from enclosures, availability and production of wood for fuel, increas in soil fertility

area treated aspects were regular monitored through measurements; indicators: area treated by structural and vegetative measures

no. of land users involved aspects were regular monitored through measurements; indicators: land users participating in planning, implementation and decision making

management of Approach aspects were regular monitored through measurements; indicators: number of land users participating in the implementation, land users participating in maintenance activities, type of activities undertaken on voluntary basis

There were few changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation: As a result of monitoring and evaluation improvements in quality of micro-basins and/or trenches, for example, led to better attaining the standards of technology design initially proposed.

4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?


Give further details and indicate who did the research:

Very little work is done with regard to research in area closure and LLPPA.

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: government (national): 10.0%; international non-government ((World Food Programme, WFP)): 40.0%; local community / land user(s) (-): 50.0%

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?


If yes, specify type(s) of support, conditions, and provider(s):

There is considerable support to local institutions: they get more money through selling trees and grass from enclosures, which in turn strengthens the institutions financially and socially. The development committee continues to exist after the project phases out. The same committee could take up other development issues.

5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

  • agricultural
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
seeds fully financed
Seedlings fully financed
If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
  • food-for-work

Because of poor farmers and the labour intensive activities, they are given 3 kg grain/person day, voluntary labour contribution by the community for activities such as planting, weeding and other management activities is more than 50%.

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?


6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Applied conservation measures in areas under closure considerably improve soil and water management, resulting in an increase in soil depth, ground cover, biomass, and in survival rates of planted trees and forage shrubs.

Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

There has been a high adoption rate (both with and without project support) of the approach as well as the technology - as can be observed in nearby communities.

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • yes
If yes, describe how:

Land users can continue without support - and are actually doing so where the support for area closure has already stopped.

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Involvement of land users in decision making (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: More work on empowerment/land use rights.)
Encourages working in a team (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Further strengthen team organisation.)
Application of appropriate land use practices contributing to sustainable development (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Further improvement of productivity by encouraging land users to make maximum use of development achievements.)
Rapid benefits obtained: provision of livestock fodder (through cut-andcarry), fuel wood and construction material (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Expand use of improved planting materials.)

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Dependence on incentives Improve the methods of using incentives: incentives should be understood as a means for promoting participation rather than as a payment.
Low sense of ownership Distribute the enclosures to individual land users.
The involvement of rich members of the community in the development committee is low Development committee needs to be represented by different target groups.
Site guards are given incentives by the project The community will have to assume this responsibility in future.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Escobedo et al (1990) The minimum planning procedures for soil and water conservation in Ethiopia. Assistance to Soil

Available from where? Costs?


Title, author, year, ISBN:

Voli C et al (1999) The Local Level Participatory Planning Approach for the soil and water conservation

Links and modules

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