Author: Sustém Consultores, Lda
UNICEF's Country Programme supports current Government reforms to withdraw gradually from direct implementation and instead focus on a facilitating role. During 1999, UNICEF and its partners developed a Community Capacity Development strategy. This reflects the reforms and is aimed at supporting and facilitating communities' capacities to assess, analyse, and act upon development challenges in general and problems affecting children in particular. The findings of the formative research reported here are expected to contribute to refining operational issues directly related to the implementation of the Community Capacity Development (CCD) strategy in all UNICEF's programme areas.
Purpose / Objective
The research attempts to answer a number of-key questions regarding the identity, role and motivation of mobilisers of community capacity; to identify the institutions in the best position to facilitate community capacity development and the capacity building needs of these institutions; as well as the links and relationships between communities, mobilisers, facilitators and local administration representatives.
The research undertaken in this assignment was initiated in Maputo with a desk study followed by development of preliminary guidelines for semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. The research focused on four projects within the programmes: community orphan care as part of the Social Action Programme (the ABC programme); Malaria prevention as part of the Health and Nutrition Programme; Informal Education as part of the Basic Education Programme; and Hygiene Education as a Municipal Services support activity and as part of the Rural Water and Sanitation Programme.
Key Findings and Conclusions
Most sustainable operating conditions for mobilisers:
- Use of trusted local leaders to permit legitimised entry or contact with communities
- Incorporation of these leaders in community organisations created to receive more intensive capacity building
- Promotion of communication links between the community-based organisations and external networks of similar organisations, local authorities and sector service providers (exchanges of experiences through visits for example)
- Capacity building of community members so that they can not only use Triple A processes to assess and analyse their problems, but so that they can develop capacities to gain and maintain access to support networks of NGOs and local government
- Promotion of transparency in resource allocation so that communities are aware of the broader criteria and pressures of top-down accountability, and resulting plans and expectations take these into account
- Capacity building of local authorities to improve their capacity 'to listen' to communities' requests and enter into Triple A types of follow-up activities that focus on the use of local resources to resolve immediate problems
- Promotion of communication between NGO and local authorities to promote trust and further legitimise local authorities as means of channelling required resources to communities
- Promotion of more effective facilitator supervision and support
- In the cases where facilitators that work with organised groups of 'semi-professionalised' mobilisers (hygiene, environmental sanitation, nutrition, health etc.), the promotion of projects with income activities or incentives associated with social marketing (cloths, t-shirts, bonus)
Entry points for facilitating CCD:
Almost all initial contacts by facilitating organisations, both government and non-government, are made through local Administration structures. Gaining local leaders trust and support are essential to start and maintain an external agency's activity.
Links to administrative structures:
There appears to be little interaction between communities and administrative structures. Similarly, the relationship between NGOs and local administrative structures rarely goes beyond the obligatory supply of information about activities planned, underway and concluded.
Government officers' motivation is severely limited by poor working conditions, low wages and lack of opportunities for professional and self improvement. This low motivation can be a hindrance in achieving collaboration with and between government partners at district and sub-district levels. For NGOs such collaboration is also difficult to achieve when government views CCD generated activities as beyond their priorities.
Capacity of organisations to support CDD facilitation:
Capacity to carry out CCD support activities may be divided initially on the basis of the assumption that international NGOs are temporary means to assisting the longer term national organisations (government, private profit and not-for-profit) until they have the capacity to stimulate rural development themselves. Thus it is not surprising that those organisations most apt and capable of assisting CCD in all the study areas are the international NGOs. The development of national NGO capacities will depend on strategic partnerships with international NGOs.
Weaknesses and strengths of CCD strategies currently in use:
- A key weakness in current CCD approaches in Mocuba and Manica is that there are no generalist CCD oriented projects to provide communities with the institutional basis and relationship with local government which support community development activities according to mutually agreed agendas.
- Good communication and availability of resources when needed are two prerequisites of adequate support for CCD activities. In practice, these are the two weakest elements constantly cited in all provinces in the vertically managed sectoral programmes to develop community capacities. All sectors suffer from this problem and NGO facilitators have variously alleviated or exacerbated this situation.
- Intersectoral collaboration has been an element fostered by UNICEF in the initiation of its CCD approach to the different sectoral projects (malaria, sanitation and social action). Intersectoral groupings are endorsed in the three sector policies but many NGOs do not practice them.
Sustainability of current CCD support and expected results:
Facilitators recognised that an intersectoral approach is required at community level if community capacity is to develop. Additionally, CCD support activities should not be aimed above the capacity of the community to accompany and develop sustainably. NGO efforts to formalise the groups as rural associations in order to strengthen their bargaining power, and inclusion of income generating activities in project activities were examples studied.
Potential roles and links for greater effectiveness:
The difference in the resource base between NGOs and government agencies should somehow be reduced. Since the actual implementation of activities is often in the same neighbourhoods this could be a useful basis for making support more coherent. There are difficulties in such an approach, especially for the government, however, among NGOs there are examples of informal and formal collaborations and partnerships.
The complex issue of maintaining the continued inputs of local mobilisers in the medium and long term requires interventions at district, provincial and even policy levels.
Intermediary strategies that take into account the transition phase of community development should include consideration of the accountability of government facilitators and support for transparent planning and management; strategies that build the capacity of local association and the private social sector; and an assessment of the institutional organisation, capacity development needs and operating environment of CBOs.
The negative impact of breaking the Triple A cycle by not following up initiated activities, nor even supervising community development efforts, is a lesson learned from the sanitation profiling activities.
The great potential offered by the education sector as a facilitator with the means of access to creation and support of mobilisers should be further investigated.
The variation of political, social and economic conditions in each different location should be taken into account so that any approach to CCD support is flexible. Notable is the difference in political undercurrents in meetings facilitated by the local administration in relation to the flexible openness of meetings facilitated by NGOs.
The demands made on local communities and mobilisers in particular in the name of community participation, is endorsed by all sectors but it is not clearly defined how it is related to service provision and public investments.
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Government of Mozambique