4.g) The lesson of the Comilla approach

In a report an Comilla, someone made a very wise comment "The Comilla approach is not so much a formula for development, as it is a formula for finding a formula for a development programme to fit a particular area."

This formula is

  • to listen to the villagers with respect, understand what they say and what their problems are,
  • to design the programme by making use of the cultural factors whenever possible,
  • to build institutions to tackle the different needs of the people, to deal with their economic, political and training problems in a realistic way:
  • to engage people in the decision-making process and assign them duties
  • to see rural development as a comprehensive task which has to be tackled from all angles,
  • not to stick to a ready made project plan but to adjust according to experience and response and not to hesitate to make use of unorthodox approaches:
  • to believe in the common man's ability and willingness to improve his situation.