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Assessing the added value of the LEADER approach

Chapter 1
Some reminders about LEADER and its evaluation


1.2. An example to illustrate the importance of identifying the specific features of LEADER


A practical example may help to illustrate why evaluating LEADER is not a straightforward matter.

Let us consider a local group which has developed a series of actions on rural tourism.

The results of these actions have been new visitors to the area, additional income and diversified employment for the local population. New links with the external economy have been created, all of which have improved the competitiveness of the local area.

The indicators established "ex-ante" could for example aim to quantify:

  • the number of renovated houses
  • the number of persons trained in techniques of traditional construction
  • the number of users of the collective recreation centre
  • the number of new visitors to the area
  • the new jobs and revenue generated
  • the cost of these new jobs.

If one considers the statistics furnished by these indicators, some elements such as enhancing the value of local resources, the participation of local actors, or the linkage between actions will not be visible and their influence on the results will not be appreciated. These indicators will show some of the results and impact of the actions, which is of course important, but very little will be provided on the added value of the "LEADER approach" in relation to the other approaches.

Going back to our example, we will not know:

  • that a preliminary information gathering exercise had involved more than 200 inhabitants;

  • that the definition of the entire project was the subject of a numerous coordination meetings with all the interested parties;

  • that the property holders had participated in the definition of the project and contributed private investment to its realisation;

  • that the value of know-how based on techniques of local traditional construction has been enhanced;

  • that a collective system of recreation for families with children had been organised thanks to a market study and experts, and is accessible to all permanent residents;

  • that a new image for the area has been created and promoted.

How can one take account of the impact which these more qualitative factors can have, and which make the difference between LEADER and the other approaches to rural development, ie, its added value?

This is what is sought in the task identifying the specific features of LEADER.

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