By John Burbidge

Approaches That Work In Rural Development



Emerging trends, participatory methods and local initiatives that transformed rural development, showcased by the International Exposition of Rural Development (IERD) 1982-86.

International Exposition
of Rural Development 

 (IERD) 1982-86

The IERD was a watershed. It highlighted that bottom-up, grassroots processes are an indispensable part of any serious long-term effort to improve the quality of rural life. The underlying culture of local people, their sense of identity, and their confidence to take initiatives related to their expressed needs are of paramount importance.

Sir James Lindsay, Former President, ICA International

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An extraordinary woman whose peripatetic life went from being a memsahib in British India to a celebrated fundraiser for an international NGO. 


The IERD was unique as a broad-based rural development ‘movement’ where rural practitioners occupied center stage. It proved that a new people-oriented approach to rural development is not only a dream but increasingly a reality.




Approaches That Work In Rural Development

Following WW II, newly emerging nations called for restructuring  global society around a set of fundamental rights and universally felt needs. This ‘New International Economic Order’ or ‘Fairness Revolution’ was as profound in its implications as the concept of democratic government two centuries before. It involved:

— basic human needs (food, shelter, health care, education, employment, personal security)
— a sense of human dignity
— a sense of becoming, being able to attain a better life
— a sense of justice or equity
— a sense of achievement
— a sense of solidarity in belonging to a worthy group
— participation in decisions that affect the group’s and one’s own destiny

From “Development for What? Emerging Trends of Promise and Concern” — the opening chapter by Willis W. Harman.

My Writing Blog

Musings from a Writer’s Life

Becoming My Own Publisher

Becoming My Own Publisher

After having had six books published in four countries, I decided to try self-publishing my latest book, MORE THAN HALFWAY TO SOMEWHERE. This decision was driven by comments from a previous publisher and a writer friend who both deemed my collection of travel stories ‘not commercially viable’. But I also had a desire to experiment with this way of reaching readers, in which I would have control over the entire process, from writing and editing to designing, printing and distributing my book. Or so I thought.

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It’s OK to Judge a Book by Its Cover

It’s OK to Judge a Book by Its Cover

How often have you been told “Never judge a book by its cover”? While there is wisdom in that saying, it tends to mask the vital role that actual book covers play in capturing readers’ interest. My experience with covers of a number of books bears this out. But getting to the final choice has often been a circuitous, rushed and last-minute undertaking, as the following examples show.

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