Experiences from the African Continent to Improve Community-Based Planning

In 2013, Khanya-African Institute of Community-Driven Development and South African Cities Network entered into a partnership to conduct an evaluative and comparative study on the role of Community Based planning (CBP) has had in strengthening citizen participation in cities across the African Continent. Community based planning (CBP) is a participatory process involving members of a community, which has been designed to promote community participation and make municipal planning for example Integrated Development Plan (IDP) in South Africa more people centered. CBP enables and empowers people in communities to drive local development. The process involves systematic analysis by the local people who then plan development interventions and how to take these forward, followed by monitoring, evaluation and learning. In partnership with South African Cities Network, Khanya-aicdd held a one-day workshop with participants drawn from the local municipalities and government to give feedback on this study and to also map out ways in which CBP can be implemented as an effective tool.


The research paper concludes the initial phase of a comparative analysis of participatory planning approaches from across the African continent. This is done through the lens of Community Based Planning (CBP), which had initially emerged in South African planning processes before spreading to other regions, in order to make development more relevant to local priorities, empowering local communities in the development process, and deepening democracy.


Through an analysis of the diverse approaches to participatory planning in diverse politico-administrative contexts, we examine some experiences from the African continent to improve and innovate CBP, and develop it further as a best practice tool for participatory planning. We examine experiences in South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya. CBP is a very useful, innovative and responsive tool that has the ability to involve local populations in local planning processes, beyond simply identification of development needs. Participatory planning tools rely heavily on the politico-administrative structures to incorporate and implement community priorities, as well as the ability of communities to drive development processes.