Certifying Community Mobilisation - Brief Description

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Civil society participation in development is increasingly being recognized as being an essential component for promoting good governance - improving responsiveness of national policies and programmes to citizens’ needs and ensuring transparency and accountability in policy making and implementation processes. Genuine participation of citizens however, goes beyond dialogue with or contracting a few non-governmental organizations. It must engage all citizens (women and men, in their various capacities, socio-economic status, affiliations and locations) beyond elections to active participation in making decisions that affect their lives. Engaging people requires efforts and mechanisms that can empower all, but most especially the disadvantaged members of society, to participate effectively in development processes.

The concept of community mobilisation and development emerged from the recognition that a genuine participatory approach to development is essential for success and sustainability. Ideally, the process involves all members of the community, however, it may also require some members of the community to take the lead in the process and to act as innovators since the entire community gains or loses through the action of any member of the community. Community mobilisation and development often makes use of the inherent optimism of human beings by providing a mechanism through which positive futures can be achieved. This optimism can only be tapped by moving away from the traditional “problem solving and prevention” towards “potential development and enhancement”, there is a need to think-positive. Problem solving has often only resulted in social development being undertaken by communities (i.e. repair or construction of social facilities including health facilities, education facilities, etc.). Potential development focuses more on economic development, in other words what potential exists locally and what are the reasons or factors hindering the community from tapping, making use or actually developing these potentials. To sustain community development over time economic development is essential.

Photo 1: Community mobilisation in action

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