UNIT I: Rural Development Concepts and Scope

UNIT I: Rural Development Concepts and Scope
The term “rural development” is a word that can be described as multifaceted, dynamic, interesting, challenging, controversial, complex, political in
nature, full of hope and frustrations, subject to a lot of meanings and debate,
study and interpretations as there are individuals conceptualizing, thinking, and
using it. ‘Rural development’ through the years, as it becomes a field of study
is a concept or subset of a broader term development. Every person in his
normal state dreams of a development state which he aspires and works for
himself and family, others work for the greater glory of God, others for the
community or country and for the whole world. It becomes an intrinsic or
extrinsic motive to wake you up everyday of your life.
Hence, it is not surprising that there is need to write a book that put in
writing meaningful insights, observations, experiences, conclusions, unified and
acceptable definitions of what it should be for a particular person, group,
society, community or a country. Let us try to explore and present its meaning
in order to crystallize ever changing concepts, your concepts and others who
have been working, dreaming, and aspiring for it to guide us on what are we
really doing and where we are going.
At the end of the chapter, the reader should be able to:
1. Explain the nature and meaning of development and rural development
based on different and realistic perspectives;
2. Search for various philosophies and principles of rural development and
be able to formulate relevant and universal philosophy;
3. Identify and list the scope of rural development as implemented by
various sectors; and
4. Present selected approaches in rural development that are popularly
Nature and Meaning of Rural Development
Development is a moving state or target, progressing every minute,
happening unnoticed, intentional or unintentional, deliberate or not, influenced
by people’s values, religion, discipline, status in life, education, position, work
experiences and the inner desire to be ---- powerful, wealthy, healthy, wise, holy
and most of all people-centered and God-centered. Generally, development
connotes change in various aspects of human life such as physical, emotional,
mental, social, spiritual, cultural including man’s environment and all the
resources around him and all those in his capacity to control and develop.
I am very sure you have your own definitions and concepts of rural
development which in many cases contrary to what you have read and heard
before. With all the economic, social, political, technological, environmental and
spiritual issues and state of development around us, sometimes you may ask
yourself, what is really happening in this world? As men become wiser and
technologically advance, we forget our fellowmen, the real essence of human
existence and just focus on our own personal desire and ambition to be on top
and become powerful. Is this the development state we would like to
achieve? Is this the orientation we learn from our parents, from the prestigious
schools we studied, from the government that surrounds us? From our parents
who molded us? Where is the ‘development state’ we are aspiring for, the
government trying to aim for, and the goals and target we would like to achieve.
Rural development is a strategy designed to improve the social and
economic status of people living in the rural areas (Rivera, 1980). After three
decades in rural development work, this simple definition is still the most
common and acceptable definition as it mentions two important keywords—
social and economic. They must go hand in hand, even the layman’s definitions
are centered on these two words which is adequate income to feed the family, a
decent house, education for the children, good health, and a safe place to live
Katar Singh (1986) cited Robert Chambers definition (1983) of rural
development as the overall development of the rural areas with a view to improve
the quality of life of rural people. It is a comprehensive and multidimensional
concept, encompasses the development of agriculture and allied activities,
village and cottage industries and crafts, socio-economic, infrastructure,
community service facilities, and, above all, the human resources in the rural
Thus, rural development encompasses all aspects of human life in the
rural areas as it can be described as a work in progress, a process of
transformation, a moving target and a continuing desire to be better. It involves
the development of the poorest sector of society, the sick, depressed,
unemployed, less-educated, misinformed, and the disadvantaged. Can we really
help them, what are our roles, are we stakeholders of development can
government help them? or just observers and on lookers?
A whole day may not be enough to explore all the definitions of rural
development, but what is clear is rural development covers the change,
growth, the transformation and development of rural life which include:
education, health, nutrition, housing, domestic water source, peace and order,
governance and political structure, social welfare, religious beliefs, agrarian
reform, agriculture and forestry, post-harvest technologies, fisheries, irrigation
and drainage, communication and transportation,
sources and level of
technology, technology transfer, private sector, associations, cooperatives,
micro, small, medium and big businesses, processing, trading and marketing,
music, culture and arts, eco-tourism, and most important the dreams and
aspirations of the people living in the rural areas. It is so encompassing to the
point that you and I may be wondering of where to start and where to end.
Are you now clear of the concepts and coverage? Or overwhelmed and
confused. Do not be discouraged but instead be inspired and thankful that you
are still around given the opportunity to be part of this noble task of serving
humanity. You can not change the world overnight, but what is important is your
strong desire and a committed heart to involve yourself in this huge task of rural
Characteristics of Rural Development
RD is basically a mandate of government
One of the primary tasks of all governments is to improve the welfare of their
constituents particularly those in the rural areas which in many countries are the
majority of the population. As the word rural, it is always associated with the
agriculture sector which is primarily the producers of food for the country. The
rural areas are major parts of the nation as this sector can never be ignored.
As many governments always expressed their concern of the rural poor as the
winning agendum and pillars of their development propaganda in any election.
RD has wide coverage or scope
As mentioned earlier in the definition and concepts, RD covers the totality
of life in the rural area. Economic, social, political, cultural, environmental,
agrarian reform, science and technology, waste management, forest and natural
resources, climate change, communication and transportation, energy, and
infrastructure development. Now, where to start the development initiatives?
Who will lead? Who will design the development framework and serve as the
architect of rural development? who will be involved?
RD requires holistic approach
Since RD covers many areas, many expressed that a holistic development
framework and strategy must be formulated. This must be guided by a strong
philosophy of people first and foremost. Although, it will take years to develop
an area, every political administration must be guided by a clear vision and
goals to achieve in every stage of development which they can manage and
RD involves partnership
As done in many Asian countries, government can not do it alone as the
new US President Barack Obama said “ I can not do it alone but together, yes
we can.” Government, the people or civil society and private sectors have to
work together for the common good
guided by the Christian values and
respect for the human dignity regardless of color, religion or beliefs, education,
economic status and political affiliation.
RD is anchored on the culture of the people
Every country or nation for that matter has its own unique culture that
must be nurtured, developed, protected and respected through the years of
its development journey. Modernization is a part of life, however as a people we
must not forget our own unique culture and values which make us different from
the rest of the world. The rate of development in many cases is influenced by the
people’s culture whether material and non-material culture. Simple housing
project for the minorities or other groups must consider the style of living in order
to attain occupancy of the housing project. There was a case that the intended
group of families abandon and did not occupy the houses built-free for them by
government officials with different culture.
RD is working together and sharing resources
This statement comes from a former professor and a university president
of Nueva Viscaya State University Dr. Marcelo M. Roguel Sr. who stressed the
meaning of integration of efforts, complementation of resources whether
human and material resources, unified goals and objectives and using a
common strategic plan to achieve our goals. Development is not done alone
by one person or group, we need others to work with us since resources are not
always available and they are in the hands and control of other groups or
agencies. Easier said than done, to work with others is not easy even you are
covered by legal documents like memorandum of agreement or memorandum of
understanding. Every group or agency has their own mandate and every agency
wants to clamor for their own accomplishments and claim honor and glory.
Philosophy and Principles of Rural Development
Definition of Philosophy
Philosophy is a study that seeks to understand the mysteries of
existence and reality. It tries to discover the nature of truth and knowledge and
to find what is of basic value and importance in life. It also examines the
relationships between humanity and nature and between individual and society
(The World Book Encyclopedia, 1988). We may delve on the multitudes of
definitions and concepts of philosophy, what is clear and common in most
definition of philosophy is the continuing search and love for wisdom on what
man is doing in his life and environs. Philosophy is a form of inquiry—a process
of analysis, criticism, interpretations and speculation. However, through the
years of scientific study, analysis and experiences, the philosophers and
group of intellectuals and people with wisdom ahead of us formulated and
developed statements of philosophy in their particular field which we learned
and used today.
Every discipline, organization or institution has its own statement of
philosophy which through the years was handed down from generation to
generation, However, this statement can be changed by the organization and
people themselves if this philosophy does not apply and work in a particular
period of time.
These are some definitions of philosophy from the Oxford Dictionary
(1996): a) use of reason and argument in seeking truth and knowledge of reality
especially knowledge of the causes and nature of things and of the principles
governing existence; b) a particular system or set of beliefs; and c) personal
rule of life. You are invited to explore other concepts and definitions for deeper
understanding of the term philosophy.
From the above mentioned definition, we can deduced that statement of
philosophy is anchored on human nature’s understanding, level of knowledge,
experiences, what a group of people would like to achieve, people’s culture
influenced by their religious beliefs, ecosystem and their long years of recorded
history which can never be ignored. Philosophy is a product of man’s deep
seated beliefs, experiences and learnings that they believe shall guide
and light the path of a person or group in the performance of their tasks in
life and for the good of mankind. It is like a beacon light that we believe and
follow in our daily lives.
In the field of rural development, there are so many statements of
philosophy as there are people working in and for development. Every leader of
a nation, an organization, an elected local government official, appointed head
of government or private agencies and institutions have formulated statement of
philosophy anchored on philosophic ideas in order to give focus, directions
and unification of efforts. It is really very logical, realistic and acceptable that
we should have policy and philosophical statement which everybody in the
organization must accept, believe and work for. This may seem impossible but in
all our differences in the organization, there must be a common and unifying
philosophy that we must follow. If a person or group does not agree and follow,
they have to get out of the system or the organization and join another system
which they believe in or put up their own working system. In a democratic
society, people has the freedom to be in a group where they are happy living and
Every leader, implementer or philosopher in rural development has a
system of doing things anchored on philosophic ideas and purposes of doing
rural development work. This portion shall present philosophic ideas which can
help in formulating appropriate, workable, realistic, humane, God-centered,
people-centered, balance, equitable and universal statement of philosophy.
1. Rural development is first and foremost directed toward the
development of man and society. This statement is based on the
Christian tenet that man is God’s creation and commanded to preserve,
protect and develop all God’ creation on earth. Man can only do this
mandate if he has the knowledge and resources to do so.
2. Rural development is a continuing process of improving the economic,
social, cultural, political, spiritual and environmental aspects of the target
communities. Leaders often commit mistake of doing all these, since
resources are scarce, prioritization is important and phases of
development can be designed.
3. Rural development is a kind of planned change which developed a
grand design or a comprehensive development plan for the benefit of the
greatest number of society.
4. Rural development considers existing resources—natural, physical,
human, financial, technical and institutional. These are basic as we
always start where we are now and decide where we are going and
strategize how to get there.
5. Rural development is thinking “local but acting global”. This is now
the realities of life, that our problems are not just in the Philippines but we
are influenced by the outside world. The climate change is now a global
concern which require a unified global actions from all countries of the
6. Rural development must be anchored on sustainable development
giving due respect to the protection of God’s gift of creation the
natural resources ----land, water and air. Almost all our problems today
are caused by man’s interventions and destruction of the forest, water
resources and the chemicals emitted in the air causing global warming.
7. Rural development is political in nature. It is highly directed, influenced
and planned by the people in government. The greatest mistake a nation
or a community can make is to elect people in government whose inner
and foremost desire is to be powerful and wealthy no matter what. Its is
the animalistic nature of man’s supremacy over the rest of society not the
humanistic nature of being holy and giving service and love to humanity.
8. Rural development is cultural and it is influenced by the people’s
religion or beliefs and what they would like to achieve. Culture is a
way of life by a given society and no development efforts shall succeed
without considering the culture.
9. Rural development is desired and acted by the people themselves –
a group development target. Any change in the individual, group or
society must come from within, the desire to develop themselves, the
motivation to achieve a higher level of development. People have their
own desires, ambitions and purposes in life. If development scenario does
not answer these goals, there will be chaos in society.
10. Rural development involves modernization of society where
computer technologies are now in existent. In the future, there are
other technologies coming up which planners and implementers must be
able to adapt according to people’s needs and wants.
Principles of Rural Development
Principles are guides in our daily lives, in our work, community, and in the
organization. These are some of the principles in rural development which have
been used, accepted and believed by many practitioners. Principles we believe
in are manifested in our actions, words expressed, projects we implement,
procedures and processes we follow and the values we adhere to. As many
people say, principles are universal but people are not.
RD Programs in a Democratic Society
1. RD programs are based on existing resources and responsive to human
and community problems and needs..
2. RD programs are desired, initiated, planned and implemented by the
people themselves with assistance and guidance from government
3. RD programs are funded by government funds with counterpart funds
from the people or the community.
4. RD programs are anchored on the development plan of the province,
district, city or town.
5. RD programs are comprehensive involving all aspects of human lives.
6. RD programs are directed for the welfare of the majority who are in need
of government support and services.
7. RD programs utilize local leadership and organized groups in program
planning and implementation.
8. RD programs are implemented in cooperation, complementation, or in
partnership with the private sector.
9. RD programs considers local culture and wisdom in matching them to
appropriate technological developments.
10. RD programs must be comprehensive, flexible and adapted to human
needs and wants.
RD Methods and Approaches
1. RD utilizes tested, appropriate and variety of methods and approaches.
2. RD methods and approaches are culture bound.
3. Education and training play important roles in the transformative process
of development.
4. RD is interdisciplinary—utilizing various fields of specialization such social,
technical, economic, environmental, engineering, political, organizational
and others.
5. RD needs integration of efforts of various players. In our society, each
agency of group is mandated only to work on specific area with some
6. RD requires working with people of various interest and needs,
7. RD plans must be written and translated into a workable strategic plan
which are approved, funded and advocated for implementation.
8. RD program requires serious monitoring, documentation and evaluation.
RD Core Values
1. Sustainable
2. Purposive
3. Collaborative
4. Innovative
5. Challenging
6. Excellence
7. People-centered
8. Effective
9. Efficient
10. Environmental Protection
11. Makatao
12, Makadiyos
13. Makakalikasan
14. Makabansa
Scope of Rural Development
The scope of rural development is very broad as it encompasses the
totality of human life such as:
1. Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Natural Resources Management
2. Micro, Small and Medium Scale Industries
3. Irrigation Development
4. Domestic Water Resource Development
5. Power and Energy Utilization
6. Educational Programs and Services
7. Health Programs and Services
8. Credit and Financing Institutions
9. Nutrition Programs and Services
10. Human Rights
11. Religious and Spiritual Development
12. Sports and Recreation
13. Tourism Development
14. Environmental Protection
15. Forest Management
16. Trading and Marketing
17. Local Governance
18. Cooperative Development
19. Values Development
20. Infrastructure Development
21. Agrarian Reform