Community Mobilization and Empowerment

The flow of funds from different sources has had a major role in rehabilitation of the country. However, this has created the space for corruption to grow. Thus, the main focus of our initiative is to empower and to involve the community in the decision making through forming Community Development Councils (CDCs).

We aim at empowering the communities to identify their needs and design their own projects and effectively and properly utilize the funding they receive. As the government has some allocated funds for the community empowerment and development, there has to be some transparent system through which this fund is transferred to the communities. For developing such a system in which the communities are empowered and form legal institutions with in themselves, our job is to link the communities with the government on the top and mobilize the communities so that the coordination between the communities and the government is greatly fostered.

We have also made sure that the chances for corruption at the community level have been reduced. The block grant that is allocated to every community is utilized by CDC in the community. A CDC is an elected body composed of maximum 15 representatives from the community. The head of the CDC as well as the treasurer and the deputy is elected through democratic elections. The CDC is directly accountable to community and to us and we make sure that the elected persons are fully transparent and accountable in their tasks.

SDO has been carrying out a number of activities in 11 districts of Kabul.
? Mobilizing the community members
? Holding the elections for CDC members
? Forming Community Development Councils
? Forming the following committees of
1. Monitoring and Evaluation
2. Proposal writing
3. Procurement
4. Health
5. Education
6. Agriculture
? Developing the Community Development Plan
? Designing and Delivering capacity building trainings for CDC

SDO is currently working in 486 communities

About You

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Location

Project Street Address

Project City

Project Province/State

Project Postal/Zip Code

Project Country

n/a

Your idea

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Focus of activity

Community Involvement

Year the initative began (yyyy)

2003

Positioning of your initiative on the mosaic diagram,

Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Lack of Accountability & Transparency

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Create Collaborative Systems

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

Nil

Name Your Project

Community Mobilization and Empowerment

Describe Your Idea

The flow of funds from different sources has had a major role in rehabilitation of the country. However, this has created the space for corruption to grow. Thus, the main focus of our initiative is to empower and to involve the community in the decision making through forming Community Development Councils (CDCs).
We aim at empowering the communities to identify their needs and design their own projects and effectively and properly utilize the funding they receive. As the government has some allocated funds for the community empowerment and development, there has to be some transparent system through which this fund is transferred to the communities. For developing such a system in which the communities are empowered and form legal institutions with in themselves, our job is to link the communities with the government on the top and mobilize the communities so that the coordination between the communities and the government is greatly fostered.
We have also made sure that the chances for corruption at the community level have been reduced. The block grant that is allocated to every community is utilized by CDC in the community. A CDC is an elected body composed of maximum 15 representatives from the community. The head of the CDC as well as the treasurer and the deputy is elected through democratic elections. The CDC is directly accountable to community and to us and we make sure that the elected persons are fully transparent and accountable in their tasks.
SDO has been carrying out a number of activities in 11 districts of Kabul.
? Mobilizing the community members
? Holding the elections for CDC members
? Forming Community Development Councils
? Forming the following committees of
1. Monitoring and Evaluation
2. Proposal writing
3. Procurement
4. Health
5. Education
6. Agriculture
? Developing the Community Development Plan
? Designing and Delivering capacity building trainings for CDC
SDO is currently working in 486 communities

Innovation

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Description of initiative

The flow of funds from different sources has had a major role in rehabilitation of the country. However, this has created the space for corruption to grow. Thus, the main focus of our initiative is to empower and to involve the community in the decision making through forming Community Development Councils (CDCs).

We aim at empowering the communities to identify their needs and design their own projects and effectively and properly utilize the funding they receive. As the government has some allocated funds for the community empowerment and development, there has to be some transparent system through which this fund is transferred to the communities. For developing such a system in which the communities are empowered and form legal institutions with in themselves, our job is to link the communities with the government on the top and mobilize the communities so that the coordination between the communities and the government is greatly fostered.

We have also made sure that the chances for corruption at the community level have been reduced. The block grant that is allocated to every community is utilized by CDC in the community. A CDC is an elected body composed of maximum 15 representatives from the community. The head of the CDC as well as the treasurer and the deputy is elected through democratic elections. The CDC is directly accountable to community and to us and we make sure that the elected persons are fully transparent and accountable in their tasks.

SDO has been carrying out a number of activities in 11 districts of Kabul.
? Mobilizing the community members
? Holding the elections for CDC members
? Forming Community Development Councils
? Forming the following committees of
1. Monitoring and Evaluation
2. Proposal writing
3. Procurement
4. Health
5. Education
6. Agriculture
? Developing the Community Development Plan
? Designing and Delivering capacity building trainings for CDC

SDO is currently working in 486 communities

Innovation

There are a number of programs implemented at the community level in Afghanistan. One component that is not mainly seen in other community based programs is the direct involvement and the ownership of the projects by the community. They are generally designed on the top and implemented on the ground by the agencies without having the communities share their ideas in terms of their needs and wants. The needs of the community are identified and prioritized either by the donors or the implementing agencies and the community members are merely the direct beneficiaries who have nothing to do other than to receive what is delivered to them.

What is unique in our approach to reaching the community is that we aim at fully empowering the community and thoroughly involving them in all the decisions concerning their future. Further, the financial strategies we have adopted also adds more to the strength of our program; that is, the CDC in a community has its own bank account from which it can draw cash and is held accountable for the expenses of the community block grant. As a structured entity, the CDC has its designated authorized bodies with out whose signature no one can access their fund.

Delivery Model

Prior to reaching our target population, we conduct an extensive survey introducing the overall objective of our intervention to the community. We do this through using the traditional councils, which exist in every community. Once every one is introduced to the program and understood the main goal and objectives of the program, then, we start a house hold survey.

After mobilizing the community, we conduct the elections for the establishment of the community Development Councils. The election will lay the ground for formation of CDC. The representatives will be introduced by the community members and then a CDC will be formed with in the community. The CDC with in the community will stand as the bridge between SDO, government, providing the funding for the initiative, and the rest of community members.

The project impact can be seen in two ways; first, through software component of the project we see whether people effectively support the councils members in designing and successfully implementing their subprojects or not ,while the hardware component physically measures the proper implementation of the infrastructural projects.

Key Operational Partnerships

Our initiative is primarily linked with the government and hence our main partner is also the government. The funding is provided by the government, which originally is donated by several big donor agencies. We partner with both the government and the local communities on effective implementation of sub-projects the communities propose. The government provides the ground for us to cover the financial aspect of the project, while the community helps us in effective utilization of the fund. Our role is to maintain strong ties with both parties and strengthen the relationship between the government and the communities. For now, however, we can simply facilitate the process to ensure the block grant is transparently utilized by the community in the most vulnerable areas of their needs.

Impact

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Financial Model

As our job is mainly to work with the community and to mobilize them; so, we have fully involved the community in all financial affairs of the program ; that is , the CDC has its head, the deputy and the cashier ( the treasurer ) , who are held fully accountable for maintaining and demonstrating transparency in their financial operations. Besides the main procurement committee, there is another procurement committee formed by the community. This committee is composed of four representatives of the community who go along with the procurement committee and make purchases. They will also sign on every purchased item bills so as to make the social audit more transparent.

To further involve the community and develop more transparent financial system, there is hung a white board on the wall of the Shura on which all the expenses are recorded and anyone can clearly see how much has been spent on what areas. This is further supported by the fact that it is clearly announced in the mosques what projects has the CDC implemented and how much has been spent; this gives the the community members an over all idea about the performance and credibility of the CDC. The money is first transferred to the account of the CDC. Then, based on the projects and needs, only four designated people, who are elected by the CDC members, are authorized to draw cash from the CDC account.

There is also a social auditing conducted at the community level. Once a project is completed, then, the CDC members stand for accountability of the project implementation. During this process all the bills and expense of the project are democratically scrutinized and bills of purchases are also shown to the community if needed. At the end, some representatives of the community approve the whole process and sign the bills. This is one of the requirements of any project implementation.

What percentage, if any, of the total operating costs does earned income (from products, services, or other fees) represent?

None

How is the initiative financed? Is it financially self-sustainable or profitable? How much do beneficiaries contribute?

SDO channels the fund from the government to the community. The community is entitled to draw as much as 30 to 70% of the total allocated fund. The CDC should be able to justify their needs for the utilization of the fund.

Once the needs are identified and the sub- projects are approved. Then, as most of the sub-projects are infrastructural projects, the concerned engineer has to approve and state the exact amount that the community might need to draw. It is required that in any project there must be 10% community contribution. As sub-projects are approved and the installments are released, the community is directly involved in sub-project implementation; that is, the community members would contribute in implementation of sub-projects. They would contribute by provision of unskilled labors to the project, and ensure that proper maintenance and controlling mechanisms are installed.

Effectiveness

The project has had huge impact on empowering the community. The community members are now fully empowered and have the right capacity to come up with their own initiatives in regard to development of their community. The project has developed a sense of solidarity and cooperation among the community members. Specifically, the project has made it possible for community members to come together and represent themselves as one unit collectively working on the development of their community. Through formation of 486 CDCs, The project has so far covered 540594 beneficiaries with in the eleven districts of our operation.

Further, one o f viewable effects of the project is its stress on Gender Equity. Right from the start of the project, there is enough consideration to take in to account women as strong part of the society and empower them gradually. Hence, the establishment of women councils is one of the major effects of this program.

Democratic elections is one of the other significant effects of this program. It had never happened in history to the country to conduct such fair and democratic elections for representatives of the community in development councils. The election process for selection of the CDC members has earned the trust of the whole community and supported the culture of democracy in the country.

As the initiative involved the community in a broader way, it has also challenged the existence of traditional councils and the war lords ruling in a community. Through participatory and democratic elections held with in the community.

Traditionally, the main decisions with in the community rest in hand of the head of the village called “Malik”, whom may or may not be the ideal power holder for the community members. Hence, our initiative provides the ground for formation of an elected entity in shape of Community Development Council (CDC), which reflects a collection of representatives selected by the community.

Which element of the program proved itself most effective?

The mobilization and involvement of the community through a series of workshops was the most effective element of the program. A part from empowering the community to identify their needs, design and monitor their sub-projects, one has to see to the degree of positive change we have brought to the mind set of the community members, who have long been subject to most devastating war in history of the world. People who used to chant the slogans of war now offer to work for peace and solidarity. It all reflects that the major and most effective outcome of this program has been bringing the community together and providing the ground for them to resolve their conflicts and collectively work for the welfare of their community. Now, after four years of work with the community, we can clearly notice that there has been a major change in their attitude towards living in a peace and solidarity in the country.

Number of clients in the last year?

Up to end of 2006 we had 540594 beneficiaries in total

What is the potential demand?

After the success of the project and the viewable effect of the project on the community, there is an increasing demand for the project continuation and sustainability of the project. The communities have now realized the importance of such an intervention helping them find cohesion among themselves and move toward a well developed community with the basic infrastructures completely functional. Despite our work in the 11 districts of Kabul, there is a lot more to be delivered to the community.

Scaling up Strategy

In the next three years we are determined to further strengthen our community empowerment and make the gap between the communities and the government closer. Further, we would like to expand ourselves in other areas of Afghanistan and take the initiative to such areas, which have been un -served owing to server security threats.

Stage of the initiative

2

Expansion plan

As stated above, we are eagerly trying to explore every possible funding opportunity to expand the initiative to other areas of Afghanistan. For instance; efforts have been put to expand the project to Kandahar and Helmand, which are considered to be the most insecure areas in Afghanistan.

As we are working close with the government, our expansion strategies also depend on the government priority areas. Hopefully, we can reach in some consensus with the government on expansion our initiative to prioritized areas.

Origin of the Initiative

SDO has long been working in field of community peace building. While establishing the Peace Councils, we felt that there existed huge need for such an initiative to serve the communities beyond peace; our thoughts coincided with the decision of the government to allocate some fund for such community empowerment programs; hence, fortunately, our dreams meet the reality.

This Entry is about (Issues)

Sustainability

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Main Obstacles to Scaling Up

There are two main obstacles challenging our expansion approach
The more serious challenge a head of us is now the security concerns. The volatile security situation has posed a huge challenge for almost all development agencies in Afghanistan.

The other challenge is financial constraints ,there are not enough back donors for this project , the only donor we have is the government of Afghanistan , in some cases we have to cut through a series of red tapes to finally have the fund available for the project

Main Financial Challenges

As indicated above, the main donor for the initiative is the government of Afghanistan. Our main financial challenge is not having enough back donors support this project. The only donor is the government of Afghanistan

Main Partnership Challenges

Our major partnership is the government of Afghanistan, who is fully supporting this imitative. The only challenge we always come across is sustain the relationship with the government and have the fund flow unstoppably coming to us. This would take a lot of efforts and by no means is a simple task.

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate?

Through an ex- colleague

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joint council meeting.JPG743.24 KB
inaguration of a community sub-project.JPG760.42 KB
Mirbacha kot community development council.JPG828.48 KB
380 weeks ago Richard Gottbreht said: Hello, My name is Rich Gottbreht from Global Insights and I am one of the entrants in the competition. Our work centers on helping ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >