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C7_D11 Community Participation and Empowerment_Rabindra Nath Sabat

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C7_D11 Community Participation and Empowerment_Rabindra Nath Sabat

  1. 1. Community Participation & Empowerment Rabindra Nath Sabat
  2. 2. Context  Discuss an overall concept and key characteristics of a community  Present a basic framework on Participation  Present an experiential module on empowerment The presentations will be mostly relevant to community empowerment projects (not confined to service delivery modules)
  3. 3. Concept of Community  In sociology, the concept of community has caused infinite debate, and sociologists are yet to reach agreement on a definition of the term.  Traditionally a "community" has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location.  Community literally comes from the Latin word munus., “to give amongst each other.”  The word is often used to mean a group that is organized around common values and social cohesion within a shared geographical location
  4. 4. Concept of Community  People with common interests living in a particular area  An interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location  A group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society  A body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests
  5. 5. Definition of community “A community is best defined as a group of people who, regardless of the diversity of their backgrounds, have been able to accept and transcend their differences and communicate effectively and openly to work together toward goals identified for their common good.”
  6. 6. Characteristics of a community  When a child is born, s/he learns about the values, culture, beliefs, society accepted norms and conditions and education from his/her family, immediate relatives/friends and community s/he lives in.  Based on where they live and what they learn during their childhood, they form personal and cultural values, a world view, and attitudes toward a larger society.  Individuals develop interpersonal relationships and begin to make choices about whom to associate with and under what circumstances.
  7. 7. Characteristics of a community  During adolescence and adulthood, the individual tends to develop a more sophisticated identity, often taking on a role as a leader or follower in groups.  If an individual develops the feeling that they belong to a group, and they must help the group they are part of, then they develop a sense of community.
  8. 8. Key factors of a community  Historical factors  Play a key role in community cohesion and resource management  Population and settlement history (ancestral origins of the community) constitute a homogenous or heterogeneous community  The community's conflict in the past greatly influence its present degree of social cohesion  Social factors  Ethnicity and language  Family structure  Social divisions  Gender relations
  9. 9. Key factors of a community  Economic factors Differences or similarities in livelihood affect the sense of belongingness  Cultural factors  Culture is the "the way of life  Knowledge and institutions including codes of manners, dress, language, religion, rituals, norms of behavior such as law and morality, and systems of belief and the art of a population that are passed down from generation to generation.
  10. 10. Participation framework
  11. 11. Three dimensions of participation 1. Level of participation – where do you stand? 2. The phase (the process)– where and how you want to go? 3. People –who is involved?
  12. 12. Levels of participation
  13. 13. Levels of participation To lead the people, walk behind them. Levels of participation The ‘lower’ level of participation keep control with the initiator – but they lead to less commitment from others. Information. The least you can do is tell people what is planned. Consultation. You offer a number of options and listen to the feedback you get. Deciding together. You encourage others to provide some additional ideas and options, and join in deciding the best way forward. Acting together. Not only do different interests decide together what is best, but they form a partnership to carry it out. Supporting independent community initiatives. You help others do what they want – perhaps within a framework of grants, advice and support provided by the resource holder.
  14. 14. Levels of participation
  15. 15. Phases of participation It is a long way from conception to completion. Four main phases: 1. Initiation: The phase at which something triggers the need to involve people, and you start to think what that involves 2. Preparation The period when you think through the process, make the first contacts, and agree an approach.
  16. 16. Phases of participation 3. Participation The phase in which you use participation methods with the main interests in the community. 4. Continuation What happens in this phase will depend very much on the level of participation – you may be reporting back on consultation, or at another level setting up partnership organizations
  17. 17. People (who is involved) in participation All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.  Some people will want – or demand – more involvement than others  Others will wish not to be involved.  It is important to Identify these different interests – stakeholders – and negotiating the level of participation appropriate to the third dimension of the framework.  Some of the main issues in participation are about where power and control lies between these interests, and the role of ‘you’ in this.
  18. 18. People (who is involved) in participation  Before starting a participation process it is important to reflect on the role you have – the hat you are wearing.  The way you act may be influenced by how far you control resources, to whom you are answerable.  People’s attitudes to you will certainly be influenced by the role and power they think you have.
  19. 19. Empowerment  The term empowerment has different meanings in different socio-cultural and political contexts, and does not translate easily into all languages.  Empowerment is the process of enhancing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes.  Empowered people have freedom of choice and action. This in turn enables them to better influence the course of their lives and the decisions which affect them.
  20. 20. Definition of Empowerment Empowerment is the expansion of assets and capabilities of poor people to participate in, negotiate with, influence, control, and hold accountable institutions that affect their lives.
  21. 21. Power dynamics  “Power is about somebody taking over”  The ability to influence or resist is what social power is all about.  People with lots of money, muscle, status, intelligence, etc., can usually successfully influence other people. In most circumstances, they have more social power.  When a person or group has substantially more power than others, their relationships affect
  22. 22. Power analysis o Social power has two aspects:  The ability to influence others so as to further community’s own interests or desires.  The ability to resist the activities of others which affects the common citizens o Economical power o Political power
  23. 23. Elements of empowerment Four key elements of empowerment 1. Access to Information 2. Inclusion and Participation 3. Accountability 4. Local Organizational Capacity
  24. 24. Access to Information  Information is power. Informed citizens are better equipped to take advantage of opportunity, access services, exercise their rights, and hold state and non-state actors accountable.  Information and communication technologies often play a pivotal role in broadening access to information.
  25. 25. Inclusion and Participation  Opportunities for excluded groups to participate in decision making are critical  Sustaining inclusion and informed participation usually requires changing the rules to create space for people to participate in local and national issues
  26. 26. Accountability  State officials, public employees, and private actors must be held answerable for their policies, actions, and use of funds.  Government agencies, both administrative and political systems must also be accountable to their citizens and clients for their performance
  27. 27. Local organizational capacity  This refers to the ability of people to work together, organize themselves, and mobilize resources to solve problems of common interest.  Organized communities are more likely to have their voices heard and their demands met.
  28. 28. Empowerment approaches  Access by poor people to basic services  Improved local governance  Improved national governance and economy-wide reform  Pro-poor market development  Access by poor people to justice.
  29. 29. Conclusion “Go to the people. Live with them. Love them. Respect them. Learn from them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say "We have done this ourselves".
  30. 30. Any question? Thank you so much for participating in this workshop.