Over the past two decades, Asian countries have accumulated considerable experiences with Integrated Rural Development. IRD programmes have been in existence long enough for it to be possible to assess both their achievements and their limitations. As a result, IRD has been subjected to well-known - and often well-founded - criticism concerning the difficulties that have been experienced in changing significantly the situation of the rural poor and in achieving high degree of effectiveness, replicability and sustainability.
The question at the core of this book is what has been learnt from the past experience with - and past criticism of - the IRD approaches. With the intention of providing an opportunity for professionals and scholars working in the field of rural development and particularly of IRD in Asia, to meet and address this question an International Seminar was organised during July, 1988. This volume includes edited versions of the papers presented at the Seminar.
Most of the papers in this book are written by professionals directly or indirectly involved in IRD, or by academics with considerable experience of the practical problems of designing and implementing programmes. As a consequence of this, there is a strong emphasis on the concrete practice of IRD and on how it addresses the fundamental questions of rural development. This practical emphasis is one of the main strengths of the book, particularly given the wealth and variety of personal and national experience on which the authors draw.