Durable Rural Development


This book is a ‘hands on’, ‘how to do’ book written from a lifetime of working with farmers and rural people in Asia; it is based on actual experiences and observations. The book is distributed on a CD.

It is written in simple English so that those without an academic background in the subject, and those whose first language is not English, can understand and use the information.

representation of CDThe author spent 30 years in rural development in Asia. Though my own experience was mainly agricultural and horticulture, it was related with engineering, community health, water projects, and education work.
In 1996 I was asked by Voluntary Service Overseas Nepal to carry out a survey of NGO (none government organisation) development work in Nepal. That survey more than confirmed my own fears about the durability of so much that was being done, and stimulated me to start adding to the survey from my own experience and observations. The result is ‘Durable Rural Development’.

Durable Rural Development (CD)

£8, including P&P


What is Durable Rural Development (DRD)?

  • DRD addresses the long term needs.
  • DRD fits the approach to the local situation.
  • DRD takes an integrated, comprehensive, and balanced approach.
  • DRD brings the main benefits to the target people, not the project staff or the local leaders, yet it cares about the staff and treats them fairly.
  • Durable Rural Development builds on the capacity of the community, enabling the people to help themselves.
  • Durable Rural Development does not end, because after the actual project is closed the communities have been empowered and continue to develop.

This book helps the reader understand underlying problems facing durable development and how to approach them. It contains very many case studies and discusses what we can learn from them.

It takes the reader through the process of providing this balanced development, from the first interest in considering supporting a rural development project, to the phasing out, and final evaluation. It describes the essential steps required, and then goes on to illustrate a wide range of approaches and possibilities, together with examples of successes and failures, different points of view, motivation and de-motivation. It offers criteria for selection, so that a most appropriate mix and match choice can be made for each individual situation. The book also offers methods for the evaluation of projects at the beginning, during, and after phasing out.

One of the important points the book seeks to make is that too many people go into rural development work thinking they know the answers, before they have asked the right questions.

There are few easy answers to the problems and situations rural development has to face.

Rural people have to juggle their different needs and priorities. They need food, water, health care, education, durable housing, building materials, vermin proof grain storage, fuel for heating, cooking, and perhaps light, the opportunity to earn cash for essentials. They also need recreation and social intercourse, they want self and social respect, and security. They need the co-operation of their community. They need a decent standard of living and they must have hope for the future, both for themselves and for their children, so that the young people do not need to seek a future elsewhere.

Rural people directly or indirectly depend on the fertility of the soil, on the amount and reliability of the water resources, and on the availability of food, fuel, heating and building materials. If the land and water resources are managed improperly they have no future.

Durable rural development considers the total needs of the community so that there is balanced development.

  • The book is a mine of information related to Durable Rural Development. It includes twenty case studies and discusses lessons to be learned from them.
  • There are fifteen useful appendixes detailing practical tools, construction techniques, etc.

As a review of three other books of mine stated,

"The author is a practitioner who has realised that most of his audience cannot afford a whole library of books and has written a comprehensive manual covering virtually every aspect of this subject."

More information

Reviews of the book