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Organizing the Community Implementation Committee

by Phil Bartle, PhD

Training Handout

How to organize a community for effective action

Organizing the community for a self help project requires creating a community executive committee. The choice of its members must be that of the community, and community members must learn to chose trustworthy persons known to them, and to take responsibility for those choices.Your job is to facilitate their choices, not to make those choices.

The executive committee must be chosen by the whole community not just a faction or a few factions. (That is why unity organizing remains important, see Unity Organizing). The executive must be part of the community, and be responsible to the community.

You, as mobilizer must make this clear to the community members, using whatever communication skills you have. It is advisable to repeat yourself in different ways, and to different groups in different circumstances.

You also need to break down assumptions in this phase. The choice of treasurer, for example, may be fraught with assumptions. Many people, especially in rural communities with many illiterates, may assume that they must select the most educated member of the community as treasurer.

This may have been a school teacher. It has often been our experience that the school teacher is from a far off district, has a low salary, has no roots in or loyalty to the community, and absconds with the community resources that he has been entrusted to handle.

Why does the treasurer have to be educated? That is an assumption. One does not need to read and write in order to count. If an older woman, a grandmother, deeply rooted in the community and well trusted, is chosen, then she can be the treasurer, even if illiterate.

As she gets her school-going neighbours and relatives to set up the books, the accounts are more likely to be transparent, as each expenditure is explained and discussed.Being treasurer means being responsible for the money; it does not necessarily mean physically keeping the books.

Your job is to help the executive get formed by the whole community. (See "Training as Organizing"). Forming the executive should be a transparent and democratic process (see both those key words: transparent and democratic).

The process must be culturally appropriate and acceptable to community members(that is why, explained in the first module, you must learn about the community characteristics as much as possible).


Community Meeting; Establishing Priorities


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© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
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Last update: 2010.12.08

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