036-i. Advisory review: strategic district planning - Zambia

The NCEA issued an advisory review of a strategic planning exercise that was developed and implemented by SNV Zambia.  

Advisory reports and other documents

28 Jan 1999: Other
Accompanying letter
Appendices Advice

Significant details

Activities of the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) were evaluated by the Netherlands Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB). One of the recommendations coming from this evaluation was that SNV should identify its projects based on an integrated analysis at regional level. Various country offices of SNV started to bring this into practice. SNV Zambia initiated a process to establish an interactive and strategic development of programmes, and to integrate environmental, economic, and socio-institutional aspects in the proposed plans. SNV then requested the NCEA to assess the strategic planning exercise developed by SNV Zambia on its methodology, process, and approach. Three basic tasks were for the mission to assess:

  • Strengths and weaknesses of the strategic planning exercise as an integrated tool for sustainable economic development at district level;
  • The approach followed in stakeholder involvement and community participation in relation to medium-term district development planning;
  • Pros and cons of using district teams in which SNV plays a facilitating role.

The NCEA drafted an advice, in which it concluded that the strategic planning exercise is still a fragile experiment. This is due to the following reasons:

  • It seems difficult to achieve ownership of the process by district authorities;
  • The manual is not guiding the process, which results in different approaches concerning the exercise;
  • The shift in objectives of the exercise from planning for SNV towards district planning hampers the on-going process;
  • It is doubtful if the desired integration of aspects in all involved districts will be achieved;
  • Community participation and stakeholder involvement is filled in differently in the considered districts.

The strength of the Zambian exercise is that local staff at district level is involved in practical planning. This is a low-cost flexible approach, which is best characterized as planning by doing.

Parties involved

Members of the working group

Jan Douwe Meindertsma

Technical secretary: Arend Kolhoff

Proponent and Component Authority

SNV Regional Office East and Southern Africa

Component Authority
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Further details

Country: Zambia

Last modified: 12 Apr 2019