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Some Players in the Process

Training for Strength; A Community Management Training Methodology

by Phil Bartle, PhD

5. Some Players in the Process:

This chapter describes the stake holders of CMP Uganda but it has a purpose that goes beyond that programme and that country. If you are using this a guidelines for another programme, simply substitute your own agency (Government, NGO, UN, private, etc.) wherever this document refers to CMP.

The participants and stake holders in the process of strengthening communities range from the community members themselves, their local leaders, the executive committee of their CBO, district leaders and politicians, district administrators and ministry specialists, the ministry which houses the department of community development, international and national NGOs, to the CMP project at district and national levels.

5.1. The Roles of Government Officials:

A common pattern in the past has been for Governmental officials to obtain funding for a project or activity (imposed on communities) through mechanisms such as Ministry budget preparation, and to undertake the provision of a facility or service as a fait accompli.

The community beneficiaries then respect the Governmental official and are grateful (often expressing their gratitude by "gifts" to and praise of the official). This approach encourages dependency on the part of communities, and a patronage approach by officials.

Now many Governments are getting poorer, relative to their populations, and this role as "provider" is becoming less viable. Meanwhile, many international NGOs have successfully developed methodologies for community participation, but they do so by essentially by-passing governmental officials.

While beneficial to the target communities, this has resulted in spotty national coverage, lack of co-ordination nation-wide, and less sustainability. It is now time for government officials to become facilitators and for a partnership to be strengthened between all communities (with CBOs and NGOs included) and the Government.

The community management training required is to encourage and train officials in how to become facilitators rather than be providers. Officials and ministry professionals must be convinced of benefits to themselves of changing their approach, or they may become a hindrance to community management and empowerment. They must be shown that they can themselves benefit when the communities undertake self help projects, not the least by allowing more development to succeed with less Governmental budget, and the officials getting career credit for successful projects.

5.2. The Roles of Local and Area Leaders:

In a pattern similar to that of Governmental officials above, local leaders have often in the past taken the "patronage" or "provider" approach. This is becoming increasingly less viable for them, too. The difference with a local leader or politician is that the leader, unlike the Governmental official, does not have a professional career in the civil service to cultivate, but depends upon public recognition and popularity to remain in power or obtain a more powerful political position.

Again, if such leaders see the empowerment of communities as a threat to their personal careers, and decide to hinder the community management training, they can easily block the process. On the other hand, if leaders and politicians can be shown that they can considerably benefit by active participation in facilitating self help development, they become important assets in the process.

Management training here is also needed to encourage leaders to become facilitators, and to teach the skills needed to facilitate. Much care must be taken to ensure that politicians do not hijack community management training for their own purposes.

5.3. Roles of CMP District Coordinators:

In the Community Management Programme implemented in Uganda, the District Coordinators (DPCs) are the focus of the community empowerment process. This is appropriate because of the Government's official policy of decentralization, the devolution of political power from a centralized Government to districts (both politically and administratively).

The District Coordinators (assisted by CDAs: Community Development Assistants) are responsible for ensuring that target communities are strengthened, that community plans are integrated into district developmental plans, for organizing mobilization and training in each district, for CMP management decisions on the management team, and for project liaison with the national office, the ministries, the district administration, the Local Council 5 (District Assembly) and the District Technical (formerly Development) Committee (DTC).

5.4. Roles of Mobilizers:

The mobilizers are unpaid residents of the target communities, who are given soft incentives such as allowances for workshops, bicycles and such, who are given training by CMP, but are extensions of the Local Council system. They are responsible for organizing community meetings, raising awareness, practising social animation, and organizing community activities.

5.5. Roles of the National CMP Office:

The CMP programme is focussed on its district coordinators, as part of the decentralization and democratization policy of the Government. The CMP national office, therefore, does not dictate to the districts. It does not micro-manage the district offices. Instead, it acts as a communication channel from the central government and the UN (UNDP and UNCHS), providing information and professional guidance (on strengthening communities) to the district coordinators, and providing monitoring and reporting information to the donors, through the Government and the UN.

5.6. Roles of NGOs:

Both international and national NGOs vary considerably, from the charity-oriented ones, who contribute therefore to community dependency, to those which use participatory methodology or similar animation approaches to empower their target communities, aiming at sustainable development. There is a well identified need to liaise and cooperate with all of these.

For the first kind, dialogue can lead to charity-oriented NGOs adapting sustainable and developmentally oriented methods.

For the second kind, liaison can assist in the reduction of the tendency of setting up parallel foci of decision making that may compete with the national polity, and reduce the ad hoc empowering of only some communities while leaving their neighbouring communities behind, bringing the activities of such NGOs in line with Governmental policies and actions.


Illustration 14: Community Contribution: Meals for Donated Labour:

Illustration Fourteen: Community Contribution: Meals for Donated Labour

Note: To copy or download each image from its URL, right-click on it and choose the "Save_Picture_As" option in the pull-down menu. Also see Community Strengthening Cycle Illustrations , Disaster Illustratons, Income Generation Illustrations and Extra Illustrations for complete sets with no text.  You can down load the illustrations from there for producing your own training material.

© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
Web Design by Lourdes Sada
Last update: 2012.06.22

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