While there have been notable exceptions, community development programs have traditionally focused on sector-specific approaches such as housing or asset building, with less attention paid to how one project could intersect with other distinct efforts addressing a community’s challenges. As a result, community development practitioners have worked in parallel within their respective fields of specialization, constrained by organizational and financial frameworks that restrict cross-sector collaboration. This essay will look into how community development projects which implements collective action are a success. A case study of the Pastoral community in Ethiopia will be used.
Traditional funding sources have often been tied to achievement of narrowly defined numerical objectives – such as building a certain number of housing units or financing a certain number of small businesses – and different sectors within the community development field have often had to compete with one another for limited capital, seeing one another as competitors rather than collaborators.
It’s not shocking that the concept of collective action has recently sparked a lot of curiosity and followers. The framework, which aims to achieve true unity of intent across relevant sectors operating on social, economic, and environmental issues, holds a lot of promise for significantly improving the lives of vulnerable people..
While it may seem obvious that a collaborative approach is the best way to solve the interconnected problems that our societies face, it is not a natural model for most stakeholders (Desta and Coppock, 2002). Changing from fighting for resources to sharing them; shifting from outputs to outcomes with heightened accountability; shifting from technological approaches to adaptive and emerging ones; and financing a mechanism or new infrastructure rather than individual projects are only a few examples of how collective action goes against institutional, cultural, and economic norms.
Participants quickly find themselves in uncharted territory, searching for a compass to help them successfully navigate their initiative. These projects take off once vision and momentum are developed, and the concept of “building the plane as you fly it” becomes a reality.
The Pastoral Community Development Project, funded by IFAD, the Ethiopian government, the World Bank, and the International Development Association, was designed as a long-term intervention, spanning fifteen years and three five-year stages, with a total population of 4.7 million people (Greenwood and Levin, 2015). Decentralizing woreda (district) processes and empowering pastoral groups, local administrations, and regional governments to better control local growth in their respective pastoral areas was a key feature of the project.
The pastoral population of Ethiopia consists of 12-15 million people who live in pastoral and agropastoral woredas in remote arid and semi-arid regions. Restricted access to public and social services, limited involvement in local decision-making, inadequate infrastructure, vulnerability to drought shocks, environmental degradation, movement limitations, and disputes related to natural resource management are all major growth problems in these regions..
To encourage community engagement and demand-driven development processes, the project used a bottom-up community-driven development (CDD) collective action approach. The project gained genuine participation from pastoral societies, grassroot organisations, and local governments as a result of this strategy (Desta et al., 2006). Communities held a conversation to ensure that the available resources were directed toward their growth needs. The communities have listed education, housing, water supply, and enhancing animal health care facilities as investment priorities.
The multi-phase project design allowed for the application of a number of key lessons in the preparation of the various phases, especially in institutionalizing the CDD approach through capacity building of both communities and local level implementing bodies, as well as improving the inclusiveness and transparency of planning processes (Coppock et al., 2009). This long-term strategy allowed for not only regional expansion and outreach, but also the deepening and convergence of reform processes and structural initiatives, as well as deeper incorporation of pastoral communities into national policy agendas.
The CDD approach stressed the importance of decentralization and community empowerment while encouraging local collaborations between the public sector, private sector, and civil society. In Ethiopia, policy consultation on pastoral progress is now standard practice, and the Pastoral Standing Committee of the Ethiopian Parliament has become a vocal supporter of pastoral institutions.
Microloans have been used in a variety of ways. The majority of the funds were used to help small-scale livestock trade, while others aided in the establishment of kiosks, small restaurants, bakeries, butcheries, donkey rentals, and cash-crop processing of vegetables and dairy products. (Rogers, 2004
Over 400 houses have been built with the help of loans, acting as primary or secondary residences as well as rental properties. Seeds, poultry, cereal crops, honey, and the local stimulant khat have all benefited from loans. The most aggressive forms of diversification have included the establishment of sand and gravel businesses in a number of locations, which have created significant revenue streams in support of public and private construction projects.
In Addis Ababa, 11 collective-action groups sold over 25,600 head of sheep and goats to two export firms in 2004 and 2005, demonstrating the local effect of opening new livestock markets (Desta et al., 2006). Cattle and camels in smaller quantities were also exchanged. Most of this business has been successfully continued..
As contrasted to peers who had never been involved in the initiative, the combination of collective action, microfinance, and access to livestock markets changed lives in many respects (Coppock et al., 2007; Coppock et al., in preparation). The findings of a survey of 180 randomly selected people—120 from collective-action groups and 60 from nearby control communities—show substantial changes in virtually every aspect of life as a result of the intervention package..
Improvements were made in a variety of fields, including improved business skills, improved human health, increased quality of life, increased future trust, increased problem-solving capacity, increased acceptance of manufacturing technologies, and increased income generation. When compared to conventional peers, members of groups had more food protection, which could be attributed to simply having more resources.
The initiative has also resulted in significant improvements in men and women’s relationships. When Ethiopian women started to assert themselves when they joined collective-action groups, tension in the home was first recorded (Seré, et al. 2008). Some husbands were worried that conventional household responsibilities could be overlooked. A few men retaliated by attacking their wives. The Kenyan women had expected this conflict, and they had advised the Ethiopian women on how to recruit their husbands as “shift partners.”
The vast majority of gender-based disputes have been successfully resolved in a peaceful and constructive manner. In reality, it appears that as women’s economic status improves, so does their status among men. Wives have taken on the position of household money managers and have a greater say in livestock transactions, which were historically the domain of men.
In conclusion, there is no question that the community develoment collective action strategy has worked. And the benefits aren’t just monetary; they also include the intangibles that have resulted from giving people the ability to form their own lives. The process has been based on the development of human and social resources, with collective action at its heart. Collective behavior, on the other hand, is not a goal in and of itself. It is predicted that there will be times in one’s life when joint efforts will be most beneficial. Collective action is just one stage of a rural community’s growth and development.
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