Empowering Rural Communities and Rendering them Self–Reliant

Alio Ada Women’s group in Yumbe District in 2010 was selected to benefit from the District Livelihood support Programme (DLSP). The DLSP is aimed at improving the standard and sustainability of the livelihoods of poor households in the rural areas. One of strategies used to empower rural communities and render them self–reliant is through the provision of 50 goats to selected groups across the district.

Alio Ada Women’s group among others received goats which were not of the quality promised by the DLSP office. The women approached the Yumbe GBV Network (YUGNET— a group nurtured by UWONET) to seek audience with the district leadership so as to voice their dissatisfaction over the low quality inputs.

Member of Alio Ada Women’s group in Yumbe District who received goats as a beneficiary of the District Livelihood Support Programme (DSLP)

Member of Alio Ada Women’s group in Yumbe District who received goats as a beneficiary of the District Livelihood Support Programme (DSLP)

After a visit to the farm, the LC V Chairperson charged the DLSP office to purchase the right quality of goats which were given to the group as compensation. Currently the farm has 70 goats. The group members testify that their standard of living has improved and the goats provided solutions when they are faced with challenges.

For example, one of the member’s daughter (Christine) had been chased from school due to lack of school fees. She approached the rest of the members who agreed to sell a goat to pay the fees. “Christine has been able to continue with school and is now attending high school” a group member testified.

Local Actions for Quality Service Delivery

For positive social change to happen, communities need to get involved in service delivery and exercise their role. Community monitors, civil society organizations and local groups have campaigned against the poor service delivery in their own communities.

The documented local actions have taken different forms. Some have happened in small, everyday actions and others in creative ways using large–scale or far reaching avenues like the media. Rooted within the community, the community members create a push from the inside—their actions being the most powerful in improving service delivery in their localities.

Empowering the local communities has revealed the power of demand–side approaches in enhancing governance through the concepts of citizens’ voice, accountability, and responsiveness. It has provided lessons on the establishment of social accountability mechanisms, thereby empowering the local communities, who represent a majority of society.

Far from being passive observers of development and governance discourse, an increasingly vigilant civil society is critiquing, monitoring, and contesting the role of the state and its institutions in shaping and controlling the forms of governance. Working against heavy odds, many civil society groups have demonstrated the power of ordinary people in bringing about changes in service delivery.

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