IDP THE FINAL REPORT
Volume 1 Chap 1-4)
Volume 2 Chap 5-7)
Volume 3 Chap 8+Annex A
Volume 3 (Annex B-G)
IDP and Budget
What IDP Does
Civil Society & Crime
Selling The IDP
Comment on 'Reflections'
IDP Guest Site
Selling The IDP – A Tool For Sustainable Development
By Raglan E. Riviere, B.Sc.(Soc), M.H.A.
(February 27th, 2003)
The Final Report of the Integrated Development Plan is an excellent one. It has covered all the major areas of concern to national planning and is presented in a not too difficult format that can be understood by those who are committed to developing our homeland. However, the mere size of the report may be intimidating to the average man and woman who form the majority of Dominicans. Consequently, the IDP requires a different form of presentation that will attract such persons as well as provide the core information. In this paper a Community Strategy is being proposed which, hopefully, will attempt to achieve just that.
To achieve this goal the strategy must accomplish, at least, the following four (4) tasks:
Selling the IDP:
Make no mistake; people have to be convinced that the IDP is a tool worth buying. It has to be sold as the magic wand for the successful development of Dominica. Its selling features must be attractive in a way that people can appreciate. Only when bought will the IDP tool be used for the purpose designed. This will not be an easy sell because of the intangible nature of words and ideas. How to translate them into tangible, practical form will be its major selling feature.
An Ongoing Process:
People must understand that Integrated Development Planning will be a fact of life from the time Dominica has accepted it as the new way of doing things. We are a people known to demonstrate enthusiasm about new approaches only to discard them once the novelty wanes. Like we say, ‘tout chaud, tout flam!’ This is the mentality we display when we have accomplished a task we have set ourselves, like completing the building of a physical structure from an architect’s plan. But, unlike a static, physical plan, the Integrated Development Plan is dynamic and changing. This flexibility must be understood.
Topic of Conversation:
Most people are more inclined to listen to and believe those they know and trust. So, convincing people that the IDP tool is worth buying will encounter difficulties if there is any distrust of the vendor, particularly of the party-political variety. No matter how well known, well-intentioned or popular one may be at the national level, the local community man or woman lives nearer to the hearts and minds of the people. It’s at this level, therefore, that we must sing the praises of the IDP. Those at the community level who have bought the IDP tool should be the vendors of this tool. They should make it a topic of conversation in their communities.
We are familiar with the saying, ‘actions speak louder than words’. The IDP is a set of volumes outlining a comprehensive process that will hopefully take Dominica out of the economic dumps on the road to economic and social development. But, to the average man and woman, it contains only words. To fully understand the power of the IDP it is necessary to demonstrate its applicability. Existing, local examples of the IDP process must be shown as illustrations for the average man and woman to evaluate. As is said, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
The Community Strategy
The preceding prerequisites compare the Integrated Development Plan with a product that is necessary for sustaining life - in this case, sustainable economic and social development. The Community Strategy, which follows, tries to incorporate these prerequisites in order to improve the chances of a quick and thorough acceptance of the IDP product.
Selling the IDP: In order to sell the IDP product it is suggested that credible and respected persons in each community be the vendors. It would not be advisable that the authors of the IDP be also the discussion leaders in the communities. The reason is the perception of trust, as explained above. Consequently, the following strategy is recommended:
First things first - IDP Secretariat should prepare an attractive booklet outlining the core features of the IDP that can be easily understood by all;
An Ongoing Process: To ensure that people understand that the process will be an ongoing one, it will be necessary to manifest an air of permanence by putting the following strategy in place:
A Topic of Conversation: The existence of a local IDP office will have the desired effect of keeping the IDP tool in the minds of the communities. It will keep the ‘debate’ alive which will eventually become a topic of conversation. Ideas and suggestions will follow naturally from the community. The recommended strategy could be as follows:
Practical Demonstration: Nothing will convince the skeptic more effectively than proof. Dominicans are not easily convinced, particularly by their own people. Sadly, we tend to swallow what ‘foreigners’ tell us without question, but regard our own experts with much less credibility. Let’s call it the ‘colonial mentality’. This is why the following strategy is recommended:
This Community Strategy is recommended as a means to assisting in the implementation of the IDP as an ongoing process. It is not meant as criticism or a presentation of an alternative. It is based on the knowledge that people are less intimidated by, and more responsive to those they know, trust and relate to on a daily basis, and hence the idea of local, community IDP agents operating from a local office and trained in the core features of the IDP process outlined in an easily understood booklet.
It uses the very principles of inclusiveness and eventual ownership that the IDP process expounds. If these principles can take root at the local, community level, the chances of a successful implementation of the IDP nationwide could be guaranteed.
Raglan E. Riviere, B.Sc.(Sociology), M.H.A.
Webmaster, Dominica Academy of Arts and Sciences (DAAS)
February 27th, 2003.