- To provide social guidance to people and facilitate them in harnessing their potential to help themselves.
- To organize communities to facilitate delivery of services and supplies to them by Government, NGOs, donors & other development agencies and nurture them into self-reliant organization.
- To complement and supplement Government of NWFP efforts for poverty reduction and overall development of the people.
- To test and develop managerial and technical models in participatory development, poverty reduction, self-reliance and public & private partnership for replication by others.
Social Mobilization Operational Guidelines
Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan (late) an internationally known scholar and practitioner of community development have derived the following lessons as operational guidelines for Rural Support Programme after studying AKRSP for a period of ten years. These guidelines are the guidelines of SRSP social mobilization strategy:
- The presence of a support institution (SRSP) whose leadership has abiding faith in the capacity of people to uplift themselves through social and technical guidance and community organization.
- The supporting institution (SRSP) and its leadership should have autonomy and adequate resources and reliable staff of technicians and social organizers.
- The role of social organizers is of crucial importance because it is through them that collective and cooperative vision is transferred to community group.
- The social organizer should search and identify activists or early adopters of cooperative ideas and methods who will be the real conveners and managers of the community groups. The activists have to be continuously trained and guided by the social organizer of the support programme.
- The practice of regular group meetings should be promoted assiduously. It is only through frequent assembly that the community members will learn responsible control of collective management and the managers / activists (office bearer) will learn to be accountable to their communities.
- Activists and members of the community organizations should be taught to practice responsibility, self-management, self-financing, self-reliance, better work and business ethics.
The social organizers and other staff of SRSP must adhere to these principles while working with the communities.
Essentials of Participatory Development
Mr. Shoaib Sultan khan, an internationally known expert and practitioner of participatory development have termed the fallowing three elements as essentials of rural development. He translated these essentials into practice under the participatory approach of The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. These essentials are
The perception and practice of these essentials is different in managers. Some managers take them as the object of development while some as the subject of development depending upon their own understanding. Objectively speaking, a manager may say he needs manpower, money and skills to implement a project. The managers of many work programmes usually think in this manner. But the Manager of a participatory programme will think differently. He/She will say that his subject of development is people, so the people should be prepared, educated and organized for their own development and for managing their own affairs.
In traditional manner, a manager may say that he needs money to buy material and hire laborers for a project but the manager of a participatory programme will take it subjectively. He will say that the people need money to implement development activities, which relates to their own development. There could be two ways; either the money shall be made available to them as an external resource for development activities which will not be on a regular basis or the people should be educated to form their own equity capital so that they may not wait for external resources and be able to implement activities which they can do on their own on self-help basis. Moreover capital is a power and people cannot be empowered with out access and control over capital. In community organization the equity capital is glue and keeps its members intact in CO/ WO.
Similar is the case of third essential the skills. Many mangers need skillful people to implement the projects. But the subjective thinking is that people needs skills up gradation to,
- Reduce their damages and losses due lack of skills
- Utilize skills and earn more for their livelihood
To overcome the above, the manager of a participatory programme focuses on people’s capacity and skill enhancement and his approach and strategy becomes different to a traditional manager.
The SRSP social mobilization strategy revolves round the following three essentials with a focus on people capacity building so that they may be able to manage their own affairs on self help basis and the CO /WO become a self reliant, self managed and self sustaining organization in the long run. The three essentials are
- Organization of people
- Capital formation through savings
- Skills up gradation
Self-help & Self-Reliance
Self-help and self-reliance take central place in social mobilization. Therefore, clarity of the theoretical concept is important for practical purpose.
As defined by Koenraad Verhegan, Royal Tropical Institute, The Netherlands 1987, self-help is any voluntary action undertaken by individual or group of persons for the satisfaction of individual or group needs. Traditionally contribution by community in shape of land, money, and manpower is known as self-help. But in this strategy self-help is seen as people’s contribution and the aspirations towards the achievements of self- reliance at the group level. This does not mean that self-help at the individual and household level is not important. But small farmers and the poor have no other option with out cooperating with each other’s and pooling of resources to achieve economies of scale. Organizing for collective actions, pooling of resources, formation of equity capital and up-gradation of human skills to provide technical and managerial services to its members are the steps of self-help toward achieving self-reliance.
SRSP promotes self-help by organizing communities into CO/WO at the mohallah / household level which is membership organization where risk, cost and benefits are shared among its members on equity basis and its leadership is accountable the general body. More over these CO/ WO provide institutional framework for promotion of the self-help at the community level where they are willing to do some thing for themselves.
Self-help is a mean to achieve self-reliance. Self reliance is a state or condition where by an individual or group having achieved such a condition where they no longer depend on the assistance of third party to secure their interest [Koenraad Verhegan, Royal Tropical Institute, The Netherland 1987]. Self-reliance should not be confused with self-sufficiency. In modern world no one is self-sufficient, one depends on other for one or the other reasons but this dependency and relations are on equity basis.
From the context of this strategy self-help is a ladder for reaching to the position of self-reliance. The steps of this ladder in SRSP approach are as under,
- Willingness of the people to help themselves
- Organizing to achieve the economy of scales
- Identification of honest and competent leadership
- Identification of the poor and their inclusion in CO/WO
- Saving to form equity capital
- Up gradation of human skills
- Implementation of economic activities
- Linkages building and networking
All the above are the self-help initiatives of the people and means to achieve self-reliance.
Field evidence shows that there cannot be a viable organization of men and women with out a competent and honest activist. He /she are a catalyst in the process of people development. How to identify honest and competent activist, how build his /her capacity and how to make good use of them is a challenge for us. The following is a checklist of screening of the activists.
- Look into the book keeping work in a CO/WO. How he/ she is keeping it?
- Look into the decision making process in a CO/WO. How much this process is participatory and transparent?
- Look into the equity capital of the CO/WO and find out the rate and volume with which it is growing.
- Look into his /her own personal savings rate and participation in CO/Wo activities. How it differs from others.
- Look into his language he/she is using during meeting and presenting CO/WO.
- Find out what other [member & nonmembers] say about his honesty and competency.
- See what makes him /her uncomfortable and what makes him /her happy with reference to situation in CO/WO.
- Put him to test in simple ways, like asking him for nomination of a poor person for skill development training. Analyze this decision in light of the above parameters and decide where he/she stands.
Identification of activist, building their managerial and technical capacity and making good use of their expertise and services is the core element of the strategy. The programme can only be expended if there are activists, because a social organizer cannot reach everywhere. He /she needs additional hands in shape of honest and competent activists only.
Gender & Development
The God given differences among people are in sex, color & size and these are by birth. The other differences among the people are due to their culture and societies. We decide many things on the basis of sex. Men should do this and women should do that. This creates basis of discrimination among men and women in our society. Why we have more primary schools for boys and less for girls though the number of girls is more then the boys? This attitude and behavior of us create issues of gender inequity and development in our society.
SRSP has a gender-balanced programme where equal importance is given to the development of women to minimize the discrimination and encourage the women emancipation for this purpose. SRSP focus is on Household development that includes men, women, children and elders of a family. Now a day a family is a joint venture where every one has to contribute for its survival. No doubt women play very crucial role in the maintenance and survival of a family and as such household development becomes a question mark with out women development.
SRSP is working in NWFP and its cultural values are similar to the cultural values of NWFP. SRSP is keeping separate staff to interact with women, assess their needs and facilitate them in the solution of their problems. This does not mean that men have nothing with women development. Men are mobilized to allow their women to participate in development activities.
Community Physical Infrastructure
This is very important intervention of SRSP programme and has both positive and negative impact on social mobilization. In other words it is a two edged sword. With this one can build a community or its impact is other way round. This all depends upon our intervention and the way we deliver it.
For example it’s a good organizing tools. It has always been a common interest among the groups and is helpful in organizing them. It is a confidence building item, creating confidence between communities and the project / programme. It is an investment to get people organized and build confidence with them.
It is an element to build the capacity of CO/WOs in collective management, collective decision-making, practice democratic values create accountable leadership, ensure accountability and transparency in CO/WOs and its members. It is an intervention where the CO/WO members learn basic engineering, basic accountancy, stock management and many other technical skills. But this all depends upon the implementers. In which way they are going to deliver and implement a CPI. However, it should not be taken as contractual work as done by other departments. The above mentioned are the areas in which the capacity and capability of a CO/WO could be improved and by end of a CPI we should have these management and technical skills in CO/ WOs. It is not only the completion of a CPI but building the capacity of the CO/WOs.
Microfinance is another important component in SRSP programme. The purpose is to make the un- bankable bank worthy. Formation of equity capital and loaning is the primary function of a CO/WO for this purpose. Each community organization has to raise its own equity capital through regular savings of its members. In the beginning, this saving will be very small and not enough to meet the credit requirement of the CO/ WO, as such; it will need credit from out side, which is arranged by SRSP.
Moreover, SRSP’s mandate is to reduce poverty and the needs of the poor are either in shape credit or in shape of skills development, which again make it an important component from poverty point of view. However, the idea should be to make CO/WO financially self-sustainable for credit business in the long run and should not be used as receiving mechanism for credit by any financial institution. Internal lending, VO banking, cooperative investment, terms deposit and such like opportunities are to be explored for this purpose.
Human Resource Development
Human Resource Development and Capacity Building has very close relationship with social mobilization. As mentioned in the beginning social mobilization is a process of harnessing people’s potential through creating awareness, education, training and motivation to become ready for collective actions, which is not possible without proper training. In SRSP, the HRD trains activists both in managerial and technical skills to build their managerial and technical capacities. The activists are trained from two points of view. Firstly, they are trained as service providers to community like extension workers and secondly, they are trained as skilled persons for self-employment or for initiating income-generating activities. The activists are also trained in the concept and philosophy of participatory development to work as change agent in the local communities.