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A must : "Provision" approach to an " Enabling" approach to get a Community action....!!!

First do we behave as Facilitator???

Do not assume, however, that we can get prepared "once and for all." We facilitators are continually learning more and more ....... It is a never ending process, and we will be doomed to failure if we ever think we know it all and it has a big impact on how the Community gonna act.

When we start talking about community problems, and asking what their priority problems are, there will be a tendency to assume that we are there to solve their problems for them. We must counteract this assumption and explain that they have to solve their own problems; we can only assist and guide them, not do it for them.

Similarly, they may assume that we will provide resources. Quickly and firmly squash that assumption, explaining that they must identify and provide their own resources; we can only assist and guide them in doing so.

We will learn to use stories,.... to illustrate our points.

The truth is that, if they shift from a "provision" approach to an "enabling" approach, in time, they will benefit. That is because every community has hidden resources that will not be identified and used so long as outside other people are expected to provide all the resources.

It is our duty to demonstrate that the "provision" approach may benefit "others" in the short run, but is not sustainable, whereas the "enabling" approach contributes to genuine development and growth which benefit them in the long run.

If it is not done correctly, it is not worth doing at all. The "provision" approach weakens the community and contributes to the socially debilitating "dependency syndrome."

Once the community has been prepared (awareness raised, unity improved, information accurate, priority action chosen by them), it is now ready to go into action.

At all times you are facilitating  the community, show them that this is an opportunity to learn. Preparing an action plan may at first seem to them to be an unnecessary nuisance; you must be enthusiastic in showing them its importance and usefulness.

The community gets stronger when its members learn by doing and when we facilitate their self learning. is the community in action....!!!

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Comment by Kunchok Tsundue on November 29, 2012 at 5:15am

The question still stays -who prepares the community to undertake all those four key activities? The facilitator ! 

Comment by Dr Prince Bosco KANANI B. on November 28, 2012 at 2:01pm

Dear Kunchok,

It is provoking indeed...but as Jean Louis said:" A Positive ‘Epidemic’ of Communities Taking Ownership"...this the time to happen. So It's relatively more easy to pump resources into a community  to build the physical structure for ex., but it is not likely to be sustainable; the community members will not feel they own it, and not feel responsible for maintaining it.

You may reach the short term objective of the "provision side"... , but you will fail to reach your own long term facilitator's goal of strengthening that community.

If it is not done correctly, then it is not worth doing at all.... The " provision" approach weakens the community and contributes to the socially debilitating " dependency syndrome".

Once the community has been prepared (awareness raised, unity improved, information accurate, priority action chosen,....), it is now ready to go into action. And it's our role as facilitator of this noble cause.

Comment by Kunchok Tsundue on November 28, 2012 at 10:42am

Excellent and thought provoking indeed. But, it may be evolutionary or slow, aren't communities world over has been not been doing this for ages? And they will continue to do it so in future -if so, what is the need for (us) this mechanism at all? Are we not in hurry to bring those assumptiuos changes? By mere our presence, are we not tacitly saying or being perceived that we have external resources/aid to be delivered? Becaouse many of us have worked with and connected to some well known agencies. One may say tha this situation is there to stay for the time being (due to all elaborate dependence system that are there): Shouldn't we think about our exit strategies -thematically and temporarily?      

Comment by Marlou on November 23, 2012 at 12:24pm

Prince!! Merci mon cher ami. This fully is in line with a principle that 'my' team came up with this afternoon. Thanks, we can add your pearl to our string of wisdom :)

Comment by Dr Prince Bosco KANANI B. on November 23, 2012 at 8:45am

Thanks Rituu. All the best

Comment by Dr Prince Bosco KANANI B. on November 23, 2012 at 8:30am

Dear Olivia,

Remember that our job as facilitator is to fight dependency, where community members come to rely on outside assistance for community improvements. Our emphasis should be on community self reliance (where the community relies mainly on its own resources).

If the community chooses an expensive actions, and cannot expect to raise enough money, you must caution them to be more realistic (not to depend upon outside charity).

When discussing resources, you will often hear some  members saying that the community does not have enough strengths.... There is a tendency to rely on one outside donor only. Relying on only external source increases vulnerability, thus decreases the strength of the community. With some effort, community members can pull in resources from many and varied sources among them.

As a Facilitator, you will find that it is difficult to find a balance between resources that originate outside the community, and those from within. You will be under considerable pressure to bring outside resources into the community.

Donor agencies want to help..., while community members want to receive.... You know, however, that bringing in outside resources contributes to the dependency syndrome and reduces the chances of sustainability and self reliance.

Yet I think also that there are ways to maximize the strengthening ability of using outside resources .  If you can convince an outside donor to provide some costs of skill training, management training, and mobilization, and assist the community in obtaining most of its own construction resources, you can contribute to self reliance and sustainability.

But in my experience, we have to help them to understand to choose their proper actions which are realistic and doable by them and not costing beyond their capacities. And as a facilitator if we see that we need to link this community with others then we can do it but again we have to consider that this linkage is contributing to their dreams. But their Action Plan remains and have to be implemented as it is by them.

Am still convinced that "The community must be in the driver's seat".


Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on November 22, 2012 at 7:47pm

Thanks for this powerful posting Prince Bosco

Comment by Olivia Munoru on November 22, 2012 at 1:27pm

Beautifully articulated, Prince Bosco! I have seen and struggled with community expectations recently in Zambia, where the Dependency Syndrome was strong and the people expressed initial disappointment (and some distrust) when they heard that we did not come with money or carrying packaged solutions. We communicated the benefits of building from strengths, and the importance of using an approach which enables them to take ownership and action. We shared how this will be more sustainable. But I learned that as a facilitator, one must continue to emphasise this point, or else people will return to the usual ways. I learned that modelling SALT in our behaviour throughout helps to continuously remind people of the benefits of this enabling approach.

A question I'd like to ask you. How do you deal with action plans which require going beyond the existing resources of the community. Sometimes I have seen action plans which are bigger than what the community can do themselves. As a facilitator, we can facilitate linkage (i.e. with funders, NGOs or service providers) - but how do we avoid reverting back to the provision approach? What is your experience here?

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