5.3. Spaces for Scaling-within
Spaces, or enabling environments, provide room within which initiatives can grow (or scaling within). While the nine enabling environments defined in the framework—fiscal/financial, policy, market, institutional capacity, political, natural resource/environmental, cultural, partnership and learning—will have been influenced by the previous intervention to some degree, some will have been highly enabled and others may require significant efforts. However, given that scaling-within could be less experimental than scaling-up, there may be less risk in creating sufficient spaces for growth.
—even if scaling-within is incorporated into project design and budget allowances—resources need to be mobilized once funding for the initial intervention has closed. Scaling-within permits longer-term planning for the mobilisation of financial resources compared to scaling-up which may suffer from an “inability to redistribute human and financial resources to new priorities on short notice
]. Given that scaling-within benefits from the experiences of the previous intervention loan, risks for tried and tested activities should be lower and community willingness to pay may be greater.
The prime financial barriers to scaling-within relate to the unit costs of project activities, which are compounded by a lack of appropriate credit agencies in rural areas and a limited understanding in communities of how to access and manage potential loans. High project investment costs, calculated as US$2000 per household in the Eastern Anatolia Watershed Rehabilitation Project in Turkey [115
], draw criticism from authors such as Chen et al
] and Schreier & Brown [133
] for their costliness to scale. The biggest financial challenge may be sufficiently reducing the costs of components of the original intervention to match the available fiscal/financial space. For example, the economic rates of return (ERRs) of individual Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabilitation Project II items were greater than 20% for certain project components such as greenhouses, terracing, shrubbery, irrigated lands, orchards and fruit storage [116
]. Such ERRs are higher than the long-term interest rates of commercial banks [82
] and hence scaling-within of such activities could be undertaken if appropriate loan mechanisms were in place (or interested organisations/private investors could be engaged). However, up-front capital demands would require reliable and innovative financing schemes, which were not available in the case study areas during implementation.
Hartmann & Linn [96
] believe that whilst financial support may be accessible for large, politically-backed projects at one extreme and small micro-credit schemes at the other (see Grameen Foundation [134
]), a severe deficiency exists between the two extremes.
Hence, in an attempt to address the gap in mid-size financing—and given the relatively attractive ERRs of some case study project activities—a number of possible financial sources combining public and private initiatives could be mobilized, as outlined in Table 2
Potential financing options for scaling-within.
Potential financing options for scaling-within.
Continued financial support from the public sector and/or international community to combat large scale challenges may be justified [29
]. Reliance on donor funding may be tempting, but could undermine local sustainability if not well integrated [135
|Regional Enterprise Development Organizations|
These organizations could help improve the capacity of communities to access loans via local banks and encourage local banks to create innovative loan arrangements.
|National Commercial/Agricultural Banks|
National banks, either in conjunction with regional enterprise development groups or independently, could provide specific small-to-medium sized loans for the rural poor through rural branches. Alternatively, cooperative banks (if existent) could fulfil this role.
|Watershed Trust Funds|
Watershed trust funds are capital asset funds established by central governments that invest in financial markets to ensure a steady source of funds for watershed management programs. Institutions receive the interest generated by the fund [63
Micro-finance institutions are typically small, locally operated schemes and could contribute to micro-enterprises and market links for rural produce [136
]. They could also be utilised as alternatives to hand-outs/payments during project activities [67
|Private Sector Encouragement|
Christian-Smith & Merelender [137
] note a strong trend in the United States that with increased funding for rehabilitation activities, participants have transitioned from government agency focus to increasing proportions of private sector participants. Social business activities are also emerging and similar stakeholder evolution may be expected in case-study countries.
Specific incentives and/or subsidies could be provided by government to encourage certain activities and discourage others. These could be incorporated into any of the above outlined schemes.
Binswanger-Mkhize & de Regt [111
] highlight the challenge of promoting livelihood and income priorities which may require advisory services, input supply, access to credit, and marketing systems generally beyond the control of the community and necessitate specialized skills and/or special organizations. For financing of public interest components (e.g., continuation of rehabilitation activities and management of ecological areas), additional avenues such as environmental markets, carbon finance and/or payment for ecosystem services could be considered where relevant. However, Palmer & Filoso [138
] warn against the allure of such market-based solutions overshadowing shortcomings in science and practice of restoration and scaling activities.
—Any type of scaling requires some degree of policy, legal and/or regulatory reforms to promote broad compliance, access to resources and the fostering of public legitimacy [8
]. With regard to scaling-within, such reforms will likely be influenced by the preceding intervention (particularly large-scale interventions) and should help to guide the ex-post process. For example, in the Loess Plateau projects, reforms of land tenure and grazing policies were significant in influencing longer-term rural practices inside and outside project areas. Conversely, such reforms need to be adapted synchronously (difficult to achieve before value has been demonstrated at scale) to support scaling-up, and hence this often represents a difficult space for scaling-up activities.
Market space—While some local and regional industries benefited in the China and Turkey projects (e.g., fruit/crop harvesting), potential market constraints associated with scaling-within could include an over-supply of products, which could negatively affect sales prices and wages. Greater focus on marketing value chains may be warranted during project implementation and/or scaling-within to help avoid such market distortions.
Institutional capacity space
—Scaling-up faces specific challenges of strengthening and expanding the reach of the original delivery institution(s) (assuming that the institution is willing) and/or to transform the culture and capabilities of higher level government agencies (who need to be receptive and willing) [94
]. The case studies from China and Turkey demonstrated institutional engagement at all relevant levels in the prior intervention. Government support and enthusiasm for the projects was high, but lack of decision-making autonomy appeared to be one of the biggest barriers for continuity of activities outside project areas. Based on project subsidiarity and participatory principles, scaling-within management should be devolved to the local level (local authorities and local communities) to allow communities and individuals to filter out irrelevant practices (after [74
]) and encourage adaptation and evolution of activities which are of greatest perceived livelihood benefit. This would all take place within the broader strategic objectives of the initial intervention.
The most important of the previously involved stakeholders should be encouraged to continue to engage in a scaling-within process, building on their enhanced human, social and institutional capacities. Hence, the scaling-within process should combine top-down and bottom-up approaches—facilitated by higher authorities but driven by local stakeholders. Institutional support is needed to facilitate horizontal, vertical and functional scaling, the foundations of which would have been incorporated into the preceding intervention. For example, vertical alignment across relevant government agencies, especially in decentralized or federal governance systems, would have previously been negotiated by the preceding intervention, whilst for scaling-up this presents numerous challenges. It is also more likely that, if the preceding intervention contained community-driven development (CDD) components, then the relevant government institutions should be more familiar with this approach for scaling-within. Incentives and accountability for involved institutions will be important to devise to maintain their interest in the scaling-within process.
—Political constituencies generally do not emerge by themselves—they need to be created—and the China case study, in particular, exhibited strong political will at national, regional and local levels in support of the initial projects. This resulted in the adoption of certain principles from the initial intervention region-wide and ensured a high profile for the completed interventions. In that same case study, the strong political will to achieve the strategic goals (reducing downstream sediment loads in the Yellow River) may be interpreted as coming at a cost to local upstream community interests [25
]. Leaders need to be more accountable to the communities that are being affected, and scaling-within could be an approach to help achieve this. Continued political support must be garnered for the scaling-within process and, as for any change process, scaling-within may disrupt or threaten established interest groups, and hence constituency building will be important to understand and appease such groups wherever possible. The Chinese integrated 5-Year Plan approach may be more conducive for continual political support over extended time horizons than societies subject to election cycles, however longer-term visions embracing a scaling-within type approach could potentially prove just as effective. Conversely, the major challenges for scaling-up are to get the issue on the agenda of key decision-makers, aligning constituencies to support the needed changes, and securing the required resources [8
]. This involves building legitimacy and constituencies to mobilise action, both of which are time and resource intensive. Furthermore, while scaling-up runs the risk that the initial project objectives and outcomes become less appropriate or relevant in new contexts [66
], conversely, scaling-within is likely to experience the opposite.
Natural resource/environmental space—A strong driver of the case study projects was large-scale environmental rehabilitation to improve the state of nationally important downstream watercourses. Large areas of land, both inside and outside project areas, were designated for ecological, agricultural or mixed use rehabilitation through policy enforcement based on physical attributes (e.g., proneness to erosion). The holistic basin/watershed approach provides a landscape and ecosystem scale perspective and a framework from which scaling-within could be applied to promote both greater compliance with that approach and greater socioeconomic benefits outside intervention project areas.
Cultural space—A significant advantage of scaling-within is that communities who either participated in, or observed, the original intervention can play a role in determining whether or not they want to continue engaging in the development process. Not all interventions can and should be scaled up, and scaling-within may only be promoted where the initial intervention is considered successful by involved stakeholders who can help drive further development. Additionally, if the decision is made to pursue scaling-within, then communities—based on their participation/observation—could determine which of the intervention’s livelihood improvement components they wish to pursue/adapt in the ex-post period (and which to discontinue). The prior intervention provides an excellent case study for communities to observe what works and does not work for them. Ample room for the establishment of context-specific decisions and interactions among community members should be promoted. A challenge for scaling-within would be to include marginalized groups in the process—particularly if entrenched interests carrying over from the project intervention are not advocating on their behalf.
Partnership space—Scaling-within benefits from a starting position of engagement with a multiplicity of actors and demonstrated learning and success from the prior intervention. Social process innovations, such as scaling-within, rely on political processes; public-sector bureaucracies; and, often, participatory, bottom-up community engagement will require active partners. For scaling-up, the challenge is to identify and mobilise potential partners for what is often an uncertain process ahead. Conversely, for scaling-within, greater emphasis on determining whether external and internal partners from the intervention would continue their involvement in the ex-post would be more critical.
Simmons & Shifman [139
] define roles for (i) those organizations involved in initiating and developing a model for scaling; and (ii) adopting organizations who take up the model. For scaling-within, it would be expected that the originating organisation(s) (typically donors and national government) would play a minimal role following project closure and transition to the scaling-within activities. Experience and theory from successful scaling-up suggests that a neutral third party or intermediary organisation charged specifically with assisting the process is beneficial. Cooley & Kohl [8
] note that there are few intermediary organisations in developing countries with sufficient capacities to support scaling-up and funding may also be difficult to source for such a role. In cases where scaling-within follows on from projects coordinated by international donors and/or national governments, those stakeholders could help support the establishment and function of such an intermediary. In fact, assuming such groups have ambitions to maximise the impact of their own interventions, it may be in their interests to help an intermediary get established.
While scaling-up may often be driven by external actors, such as donors, the nature and success of scaling-within should be determined mostly by the communities themselves with continued support from meso- and macro-level stakeholders (see a list of potential stakeholders and their roles in Table 3
). Scaling-within should include and build the capacity of representatives from the private sector, civil society and other sectors—particularly in remote areas, where some such groups may not have a strong presence. The private sector could function as an effective alternative provider of some services through the promotion of efficiency, innovation and input of financial resources [140
]. Values-based NGOs, where present, could provide development expertise and social and public advocacy skills. In combination, both private and civil society groups could help promote a comprehensive approach to enhance the scope for sustainability [39
Potential roles for organizations in scaling-within. Concept adapted from Carter & Currie Alder [112
Potential roles for organizations in scaling-within. Concept adapted from Carter & Currie Alder .
|Administrative Level||Organizations||Potential Roles & Responsibilities|
Citizens groups and lobbies
Maintain, enhance and initiate appropriate legislation and policy to facilitate scaling-within (i.e., relating to participatory approaches, incentives/subsidies, water and land, and tenure security)
Provide high level support and guidance
Apply learnings in other areas as appropriate
Monitor regional progress and land use planning
Link private sector to local farming communities
Link NGOs and tertiary institutions to local regions
Neighborhood, village or local associations
Facilitate dialogue and planning
Utilise learnings from project
Cultivate entrepreneurial activities
Provide technical support
Monitor and evaluate processes
Learning space—Scaling-within benefits from the technical, human, institutional and social capacities built during the prior intervention. The more comprehensive the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the original intervention—and the availability of this information—the better informed any scaling-within efforts would be. By building upon and adapting the project M&E system, a continual process of consensus building for stakeholders at all levels could be established. Stakeholders would benefit from the foundations built during the intervention and continue to determine what works and what does not work as the process evolves. Such consensus building could be a continual process for stakeholders at all levels. Stakeholders from within the project areas could share their knowledge and experiences with stakeholders outside project areas. Like scaling-up, scaling-within would benefit from setting intermediate results to allow for testing and adaptation of the approach, including impacts on the poor and marginalised, for its optimisation.
Overall, scaling-within performs well against the IFAD 2012 framework. It appears to have advantages over scaling-up due largely to the facilitation of pathways, drivers and spaces having been created and influenced by the preceding intervention and from which scaling-within processes could build upon. The framework assessment indicates that case-study pathways and drivers were strong but that a focus on developing more space, particularly in the financial, institutional and partnership realms, would be required. Reviewing scaling-within against a framework has helped refine the theoretical approach and also outlined some challenges for putting it into practice.