Indigenous Institutions and Local Development Initiatives: Case Studies From Selected Gurage Areas of Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


This paper attempts to investigate the raison d' etre and development implications of indigenous institutions. The meaning of institution and indigenous institutions is provided in the context of the available literature and the study area of the paper. The explanatory power of institutional theories has been assessed and attempt is made to give a theoretical explanation as the background to the existence of institutions that are based on the customs and traditions of local people. A model of institutional design is also developed in the context of the situation in the study area to show the place and relative contribution of indigenous institutions in promoting development at the local level. Based on a systematic examination and analysis of the various functions of fourteen different indigenous institutions identified in the study area, the paper shows that these institutions occupy a very important place in the development actors network as well as the state and private-sector actors. Not only are indigenous institutions important in performing their own distinct functions in their specific localities, but also they play a significant role in promoting development by acting as collaborators to and intervention points for other government and non-government organizations.



Local Development Initiatives