Proffering alternatives to the top-down approach in policy development and implementation in ODL

Edith Karimanzira


The top-down approach used to be the conventional style of development. However, this had many flaws and has proved to be ineffective. It also raises questions about whether ‘outsiders’ have the right or the knowledge to set the development agenda of local people or has the indigenous knowledge became so obsolete. In the 1980s, development workers began to seek more participatory alternatives that avoided some of these problems. This paper assessed the alternatives available in policy development and implementation in ODL as a development project. The paper also analysed the technical and political nature of policy making so as to provide for the best alternative. It is only through participation at the grassroots-level that marginalised groups become contributors to economic progress in their countries. The tools provide an understanding of the complex problems people face. The research concludes that: the local community can analyse results and make decisions for itself, on the basis of information it has itself produced. People can be mobilised and organised around issues they themselves consider to be relevant to their own development. The community can identify and take ownership of the process through which problems are identiûed, analysed, and solved. The tools can play a decisive role in building self-esteem, by systematising and reassessing local experience and knowledge. Stronger, more positive interaction takes place between the community and professionals throughout the participatory process, from appraisal to evaluation. The paper recommends for the situational use of different models as alternatives to the top down approach to policy making and implementation in ODL.


Policy development, effective implementation of ODL, policy management

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.