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Participatory Approaches in Planning and Implementation of Area-Based Social Sector Decentralization Strategy: A Comparative Analysis of Four Countries in the Asian Region (Phase II)

The Phase I study recommended a partnership approach between academe and local government in the areas of (a) needs assessment; (b) development of information media, training modules, and implementation manuals; (c) field-testing of guidelines and operational manuals to determine the manuals’ viability and effectiveness; and (d) dissemination of results to the stakeholders. Given the variations in the stage of decentralization in the four participating countries -- Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam -- attempts were made to appropriately standardize decentralization approaches and to develop manuals, modules, and information materials that can be adopted on a nationwide scale and by other countries of the region. The Phase II study involved developing a manual for information, education, and communication and an accompanying training handbook. The manual contains information on the mechanisms and processes of the institutionalization of decentralization programs in the health and social welfare services. It also contains information that could be used in planning and implementing health and social welfare programs. The target users of the manual were local leaders, planners, and administrators. Needs assessment and field-testing were conducted to determine the appropriate content of the manual. The needs assessment phase included the following activities: a review of the first phase of the project, focus group discussions with local leaders and sectoral officers, workshops and in-depth interviews, and a review of policies, work programs, manuals, annual reports, and other relevant documents of the Department of Health and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The field testing of the manual took six months and was done in Imus, Cavite, in close collaboration with a field testing and validation committee from the Imus Municipal Government. It consisted of the training of key local government officials, using the manual for the planning and implementation of health and social welfare programs. The effectiveness and acceptability of the manual and specifically, the extent to which the manual can facilitate the decentralization in the social sectors, were then assessed. A process documentation of the manual operationalization was carried out to determine possible points of improvement.


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