A Participatory Approach in the Community Projects
By, Isabelle Bourgeois
We are all aware of the challenges connected to each other, inseparable that arise in the world. The situation remains very fragile. The load for all is growing. The needs are enormous and constantly increasing. They are factors of violence, protest and desertion of their living areas by the affected populations, in particular those affected by extreme poverty.
The NGO Global Hope Network International (GHNI) has experienced positive examples of communities transformed by the active participation of people, groups and villages belonging to the marginalized in the world’s poorest areas. For 12 years in 40 partnership countries, it offers emergency, humanitarian aid and initiates community projects of 3-5 years.
Despite the risks, Global Hope Network International (GHNI) makes it a priority to help and give hope in the most heavily insulated, inaccessible and poorly developed areas. By setting up and carrying out community development projects (TCD), the organization supports, motivates and equips communities so that everyone can participate in the decisions and actions affecting its own life, its own development and that of its entourage.
These collaborative projects are spaces for dialogue and training. They allow individuals to gain confidence in themselves and their relatives. They contribute to help people to have a sense of belonging, to be essential actors in the community while encouraged to stay and develop their own place of life.
For example: Situation of the Gambella village in northern Kenya.
It is located in an arid region particularly vulnerable to climate change and subject to tribal warfare. 5 years ago, this pastoral community had no drinking water available. The water pump installed by UNICEF in the 90s was unfortunately broken. One meal a day, high mortality rates, epidemics, high HIV/AIDS, incomes averaging hardly more than $ 1 per day per man (women did not have access to income). Education: a volunteer teacher for 12 children under a tree.
Global Hope seeks to support and facilitate the formulation of future plans, realistic, measurable, that facilitate coordinated action with the greatest impact, the highest chance of success, and replicable to other villages, areas. It is the people themselves who take initiatives and the project is theirs.
The goal is for communities to become self-sufficient and autonomous. This is achieved through five committees responsible for projects, which allow access and improvement to five key basic needs (water, food, financial resources, education and health).
Back to the village of Gambella: In just four years of operation (2009 – April 2013), despite a devastating and deadly attack orchestrated by the neighboring tribe 2 years ago,
we find the following improvements:
- Income: Multiplied by 10 in 3 months and the town became an economic hub for the region;
- Water: from absence of drinking water to enough clean water for all 4 years;
- Food: from one meal per day to enough food for sale outside;
- Health: On mortality, epidemics and high HIV / AIDS to: we got to a decrease (almost zero) of infant mortality, no epidemic and no cases HIV/AIDS found that year (by testing every 3 months) and creation of a center for disease prevention ;
- Education: From a volunteer teacher 12 children under a tree to a school with 8 classrooms and 8 teachers and 200 students (School awarded by the government for this region of Kenya).
There has also been a change in mentality:
- In February 2012, approx. 100 women initiated a peace march to encourage everyone to reconciliation and peaceful co-operation;
- Another change of mentality found: After observing the results, a neighboring village, who had at first refused the offer of technical assistance and expertise by the staff of Global Hope saying: “If you do not give us money, we do not need you “, asked the NGOs to replicate the same experience in their own community.
Today, leaders of surrounding village communities (Up to 200 Km) come to learn from the successful example of Gambella. A 10-day course was organized for them.
The coherence of Global Hope Network International resides on one side, for the sake of the practical and effective participation of individuals through their community, and on the other hand, the ability to duplicate and adapt the successful model TCD “Transforming Communities” worldwide. This is combined with the building capacity of each one and accountability of local leaders through workshops and adapted courses.
In addition, in order to positively reform the society by improving policies and the exercise of human rights, GHNI offers to the political elites of the countries a one week a year intensive training in Geneva through the GENEVA INSTITUTE for leadership and public policy (GILPP).
The purpose of GHNI is to ensure the long-term of community development projects, unity and support, to directly influence policies taking into account the needs and the interests of the poor, excluded from the development in the design and implementation of policies, while fostering links with political leaders of other countries.
We have seen, experienced that it is possible that each individual within a community can be integrated into a social network and participate effectively and efficiently to its own fate. To hope for a better future, thanks to a multi-holistic approach to capacity development, knowledge transfer, use of local resources, and empowerment of people who are capable at the community and national level, in collaboration with other partner organizations.
We all want the spiral of extreme poverty to eventually reverse through the dynamic replication of successful models. And for those living in poverty and isolation, to see themselves as full members of society and autonomous actors in a safe and secure environment for everyone. More than economic resources, this requires a serious political will but also time, planning, resources and the constant commitment of all partners.