Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Resource Economics


Making Rural Services Work for the Poor. The Role of Rural Institutions and their Governance for Agriculture-led Development


Start: May 2007

End: April 2011

The Project is jointly coordinated by the International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington D.C, USA, and Humboldt University Berlin, Germany. It has been developed as a response to the problem that the livelihoods of poor households in rural areas have to be improved what could achieved by better provision of services that are essential for agricultural and rural development. Accordingly, the objective of the project is to provide policy-relevant knowledge on strategies that empower the rural poor for participating in local governance, claim the services they need, and hold service providers accountable. The research activities cover the provision of economic and social services that allow the rural poor to make use of agricultural innovations, become integrated into markets, benefit from rural transformation processes and improve their well-being. The countries under investigation are India, Guatemala, Uganda and Kyrgyzstan where collaborating researchers and actors are involved in the research process. The analysis focuses on the role that governance reforms such as decentralization, introduction of local elections and improvement of leadership, support of collective action and social learning can play in improving the quality and access of the poor to rural services, taking the political dimension of these reforms into account. The project pays special attention to the role of collective action among farmers by forming associations, producer organizations, cooperatives and self-help groups. The expected results include analytical tools and empirical evidence on strategies to improve local governance and service provision for sustainable agricultural and rural development. Gender-disaggregated governance indicators which measure the performance of rural service provision are part of the methodology. Capacity building among participating institutions is achieved through training and collaborative research.

Researcher: Wibke Crewett, Nana Afraana Kwapong, Ulrike Müller, Johanna Speer

Project Partners:

International Food Policy Research Institute Washington

Project Webseite:
Making Rural Services Work for the Poor – The Role of Rural Institutions and their Governance for Agriculture-led Development


Lead Overall Project: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Konrad Hagedorn, Prof. Dr. Markus Hanisch

Funding: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)