page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15 page 16
< prev - next > Social and economic development Social Development learning_from_practice (Printable PDF)
and other NGOs to feed back to donors the
importance of strengthening community
organizational capacity, its relevance to long-
term sustainable poverty reduction, and the
ways in which donors can make this easier to
achieve. It is possible to engage donors and
challenge approaches, rather than simply to
accept them and work within them. This is
best achieved through illustrating the benefits
of better ways of working.
The challenge to donors
Many of the barriers to implementing a light
touch approach to strengthening community
organizations emanate from the expectations
and constraints of donors. Driven by a
reasonable demand for accountability of
funds, donor approaches often don’t support
the longer-term engagement that is necessary
for good institution building and bottom-
up facilitative processes. The requirement
for highly detailed project proposals with
predetermined activities and timetabled
milestones and budgets can constrain the more
flexible, community-led approaches they may
wish for. There can be a temptation for donors
to ‘measure success in poverty reduction and
community development by the number of
new organizations that are formed and the
number of group training courses and other
support given’24 – negating the requirement
for working with pre-existing organizations and
facilitating capacity and visioning processes
for sustainability.
The challenge to donors is to pursue these
more organic ‘process’ (not project-based)
approaches. Their funding must allow for the
flexibility to facilitate, respond to community
needs, build community confidence to
articulate their priorities and act, and enhance
community organizations’ capacity and
networks to deliver after the project ends.
Partnership agreements between NGOs and
donors can support more flexible working, and
are becoming more commonplace. This means
that donors support a broader strategy of work
in a particular sector, or across sectors, and
the work is reviewed at intervals, and on this
basis funding can be extended. Allocation of
resources to proposal development processes
is another strategy that supports communities
and other local institutions to participate in
local analysis, priority setting, and planning
before funds are allocated. Donors can
Community-based fish culture reaps rewards in
Gaibandha, Bangladesh
recognize and encourage efforts to strengthen
community organizations by requiring reporting
and feedback on these processes. This in turn
can help donors and other NGOs to continually
learn from experience and improve practice.
When it comes to working with community
organizations, Practical Action’s journey to
adopt pro-poor light touch facilitation is just
beginning. We have much experience to draw
from, and many lessons to learn.
This document has summarized for
ourselves, for donors, and for fellow NGOs and
practitioners, the key benefits and strategies
of a light touch approach to working with
community organizations to achieve long-term,
sustainable poverty reduction. But it also
raises the challenges which these strategies
imply. It calls for new ways of working to be
able to overcome these challenges – on the
part of ourselves, of donors, other NGOs, and
ultimately of individuals working in the field.
More discussion, debate, collaboration, and
learning will be needed, to fully negotiate new
ways of working; but the goal – empowering
poor and vulnerable populations – remains