People Centered Development
That three decades of technical cooperation in Africa have not produced the desired
development impact is a sad commentary. Several reasons can be adduced for this. This
experience has however led UNDP to pursue a new strategy. UNDPs developemnt strategy
is now firmly anchored on the belief that development is a national responsibily. It must
start from peoples perceptions and end by addressing their priority needs and
concerns. From the experience of other countries, it could be surmised that development in
Nigeria can only be meaningful when Nigerians take the leading role in deciding the
content of their own programmes and in taking responsibilities for their implementation.
Communities should be allowed to define their needs and set their own priorities. National
or community objectives are best achieved when external assistance complements local
investments in development. In such a situation, international cooperation has to be
redefined and moved towards a more genuine partnership of all the stakeholders,
contributors, recipients at all levels of government and the people. We need to replace
old approaches with a new model that allows for direct targeting of the beneficiaries,
building on the notion that people are able and willing to proffer solutions and
contribute resources to tackle their priority needs.
This strategic shift in focus is guided by the following:
That Development only begins when people take charge of their own development efforts,
which therefore guarantees the national ownership of the development process;
That the development process cannot be subcontracted. The responsibility does not lie with
any outside agency. Developing a country is therefore the primary responsibility of the
citizens of that country and should therefore be led and managed by the country itself.
That development is only sustainable when it builds on what exists. No matter how limited
this capacity is, the development process must start off using the countrys own
internal capacity. It is pointless therefore to design programmes which cannot draw on the
countries' or communities' own endogenous capacity for its management.