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In 1979, the Government of Norway pledged financial support to launch an Integrated Rural Development Programme in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, which aimed to increase income, employment and production as well as improvement of social conditions and living standards of the people in the area, with special emphasis on the poorest groups. The process involved data collection, establishment of target groups, definition of the problem, project identification, project formulation and project implementation. Staff attempted to involve local people in all these stages. The projects fell into three categories: community social development; individual social development; and income/employment generation. Local-level participation helped the project staff to identify the problems and real needs of the people and to formulate appropriate projects. This helped certain socially deprived groups to highlight their needs. Social development projects benefited the people most. But they did not contribute directly to alleviating poverty through income-generation, because such work was done with voluntary labour. Abstract supplied by kind permission of CABI.

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