I sat in on a CARE-led workshop for the Community Development Committee today – a platform for community-led development that is backed by the Mayor of the Commune and is attended by members of the Commune Administration. It is a forum for consultation between stakeholders and coordination of various community-led development sub-committees. It acts as an umbrella to these development sub-committees and one is the WASH sub-committee organised under the WSSCC national Diorano-WASH platform – a very dynamic national WASH coalition. The WASH sub-committee is tasked with disseminating three messages into the Commune: (1) the need for a hygienic latrine; (2) the need for hand washing with soap; and (3) the need to preserve water quality from tap to point of use. The CDC however is the coordinating body for all development activities, and the ACF project will work with them to improve their capacity for planning and implementing water and sanitation improvements .
It was good to see such a high attendance by women – largely due to the efforts of the community extension workers who have managed to mobilise women into being active participants.
These fora for improving communications are common to all ACF urban programs – the simple act of sitting people down to talk is proving an effective strategy for the urban context.
There was a grand turnout with some very energised members of the community. Many of these were volunteers who had left their income generating activities. This touches on one specific area of learning that the ACF program could draw from all 6 country projects: Are community forums sustainable to expect urban community members to volunteer their time, as would be expected in a more-rural community project? What incentives could be established to ensure it continues after the ACF project? What effect is the Commune Administration having by being involved? What level of local government involvement is the right amount?