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close this bookTraining for Elected Leadership - The Councillor as Enabler (HABITAT, 1994, 18 p.)
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United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)

About the Hat
The hat worn by the figure on the right and shown on pages to come was selected to symbolize the councillor role featured in this handbook.

Handbook 6

Illustrations by Joel Elrod
Design and Layout by Vicki Gillette

ISBN for complete set of 13 volumes: 92-1-131242-6
ISBN for this volume: 92-1-131249-3


As shown by results of training needs assessments conducted by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), training needs of local government elected officials (councillors), or of local politicians, appear among the most urgent world-wide and, at the same time, the least attended areas of capacity-building for local development and municipal management.

In the last few years, a number of countries as varied as Nepal and Poland, or Uganda and Paraguay have embarked for the first time in several decades, and in some cases for the first time ever, on a process of electing their councillors and mayors. Training needs of local-government elected officials are also at the top of the agenda in established municipal democracies such as Ecuador, India, and the United States of America.

To respond to these needs, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) has developed and tested a series of training handbooks to assist councillors to represent the citizens, provide civic leadership and effectively work with central government and with the management, technical, and professional staff in local authorities and other local institutions. The handbooks cover policy and decision-making, communication, negotiation and leadership, attending, managing and conducting meetings, councillors enabling and facilitating activities, financial management and other related needs.

This handbook, The Councillor as Enabler, is one of the series of 12 and is intended for use primarily by trainers in national training institutions for local government or training units within local governments themselves. AS an additional assistance for trainers using these handbooks, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) has published a companion Trainer's Guide for Training of Elected Officials containing trainer's notes and information prepared exclusively for the benefit of these trainers in planning workshops for local elected officials based on the handbooks.

It is expected that this training handbook will contribute greatly to strengthening the capacity of local governments through the introduction of good leadership practices, one of the major objectives of the 1996 United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, Habitat II.

I wish to thank Dr. Fred Fisher and Mr. David W. Tees for preparing this and other handbooks in the series in collaboration with the staff of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) Training Section within the Center's training programmes supported by the Government of the Netherlands. I also wish to acknowledge the contribution of the trainers and local-government officials in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Kenya, Lithuania, Romania and Uganda who assisted in the field testing of these training, materials.

Dr. Wally N'Dow
Assistant Secretary-General
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)

How to use this handbook

This training handbook on THE COUNCILLORAS ENABLER, like other handbooks in the series, can be used in several ways.


The essay that opens this handbook is intended for self-instruction. All you need is a quiet place to think, some time, and something to write with. For best results, we encourage you to write down your answers to the questions raised from time to time in the essay. The learning value of the information is multiplied many times for the reader who takes the time to do this.

Workshop training

The trainer's notes and exercise materials in this handbook are intended for use by experienced trainers in a training workshop for councillors from different local governments. We have included various types of learning activities and formats to provide trainers with considerable flexibility in adapting a workshop to the specific needs of participating councillors. It has been our intention in developing this handbook to encourage you to incorporate your own experiences as a trainer to heighten the learning value of these training materials for participating councillors.

As a trainer, you may decide to use the materials in the handbook in the exact order and manner presented. If you prefer, however, you may rearrange or modify the materials as needed to meet the objectives of a particular training situation. You may choose to offer three hours or you may take advantage of the many materials in the handbook supplemented by content of your own to extend the length of the programme to a full day.

This handbook is one of 12 in a series for training in elected leadership. You might decide a workshop that requires you to use more decide or be requested to provide than one or all of these handbooks over a longer period of time. While each handbook Series can be used independently of the others, their use in sequence can provide a powerful unified learning experience for participating councillors.

Team training

These materials also can be used, preferably with the assistance of an experienced trainer/facilitator, to improve the performance of councillors who serve together on the same governing body. When training councillors who serve together, we believe the facilitator must be prepared to organize the training activities in this is handbook in different ways. There may be occasions where you, as facilitator, will choose to add new activities depending on the situation and the characteristics of the group. We hope in situations like these you will view this handbook as a "tool kit" containing many optional training ideas to be mixed and matched, modified or abandoned, as suggested by the situation.

You have many options to choose from with these training handbooks. We hope you take full advantage of them.


The councillor, in the role of ENABLER, makes things possible, practical; and easier for others who are not quite prepared to do things for themselves.


This essay will explore some of the tactics and strategies the "enables" might-use to help others. For example, it will look at such things as networking, participation as a commitment-building mechanism, collaboration, option generation, and creativity.


Take a moment or two to respond to the following task before reading the essay. This is the first of a number of such inquiries to help you make better use of the concepts and ideas presented in this handbook and those that follow.

When I think of myself as an enabler, the following things come to mind:







Concepts and ideas

The Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 calls enabling "an approach whereby the full potential and resources of all the actors in the shelter production and improvement process are mobilized; but the final decision on how to house themselves is left to the people concerned."

The key words in this UNCHS (Habitat) definition are "mobilized" and "decision." Enabling is doing things that mobilize the resources others need without forfeiting their right to decide how, when, and where to use them. For example, here are some actions you might take as an enabler to achieve the goals described in the Global Strategy.

· Provide incentives to poor people to build their own housing.

· Provide access to information that would help others assume the responsibility for shelter development.

· Make training available to those who want to construct their own shelter.

· Build the confidence of those who need housing so that they can achieve their own goals through their own efforts.

· Remove legislative and financial barriers.

· Help those who want to build houses gain access to the necessary resources.

· Resolve conflicts that may stifle individual or community initiative.

· Provide organizational arrangements that will facilitate shelter development by others.1

The art of enabling

In others words, create the kind of environment where citizens, to the extent Series possible, can meet their own needs through their own efforts. These actions fall short of the local government, or any other level of government, building housing directly for the economically disadvantaged. On the other hand, everything possible is done that will assist these people to build their own shelter.

More and more local governments are discovering the potential in enabling others within their jurisdictions to assume more and more of the duties and responsibilities for public service and infrastructure development that have long been seen as the sole domain of public institutions. Here are just a few examples of how local governments are shifting and sharing the "public" mandate.

Sri Lanka Million Houses Programme: (At the time this was written, the programme was up to 1.5 million and still growing.) The administration of t National Housing Development Programme was decentralized and a cadre of officers trained to administer minimal loans and technical assistance to rural people to help them build new dwellings and upgrade existing ones. The public effort shifted from the construction of shelter to the development of community-management systems, enabling the rural citizens of this island state to build and improve their own housing.

Orangi Pilot Project, Karachi, Pakistan: This project, to enable low-income people to finance and install sewers to serve 20,000 households in a self-built settlement, was initially organized and implemented by a local nongovernmental organization. The project, which resulted in infrastructure being constructed at about 20 per cent of the cost of working through the Metropolitan Council, used a variety of enabling strategies to put the service into operation. It organized neighbourhood groups to collect individual contributions toward the cost of construction; teamed students with a handful of professionals to carry out the technical tasks; borrowed equipment to do the survey and design work; tapped foundations for grant aid; and mobilized local volunteer labour to assist in the construction of the sewers.

Uganda Water Development Programme: Uganda has set a target of reaching 75 per cent of the rural population with access to potable water from improve sources by the year 2000. This ambitious goal is based on the "Premise that by local community take as much responsibility as possible for rural water supply development." To accomplish this goal, Uganda is launching a vigorous community management programme. This programme will provide training, technical assistance, access to loans that neighbourhood groups will be responsible for repaying, and support in getting organized to plan, build, operate, and maintain community-based water supply systems.

The first two of these examples have been taken from the UNCHS (Habitat) publication, Roles, Responsibilities and Capabilities for the Management of human Settlements, 1990.2

Enabling strategies

Enabling involves a number of strategies that you can use, as a councillor, to become more effective. But, before we talk about these, it will help to look at a fundamental assumption about the functions of government that underlies the notion of enabling. E. S. Savas has said that "the job of government is to steer, not to row the boat. Delivering services is rowing, and government is not very good at rowing.3

In a publication on public sector decentralization by the World Bank, Jerry Silverman defines the difference between the "provision' of public goods by local governments and the "Production of these goods and services. Provision is the decision to allocate resources to a particular good or service and monitor its use; production is the transformation of those resources into the delivery of the good and service. Silverman goes on to say that "it is axiomatic that governments are responsible for the provision of public goods; although it is not necessary that they be directly involved in producing such goods and services.4

If you agree with these statements, it means, among other things, that your role as a councillor will involve doing things and making decisions that will help your local government do more steering and less rowing.


Where does your local government stand on the production of services? Make a list of those services that you currently produce. Of these, which could be provided just as efficiently and effectively by some other organization or agency? What would need to be done to shift production of these services from the local government to someone else?

Here are a few of the strategies and tactics you can employ to "enable" others to do the rowing:


Networking is a process that ignores some of the attributes of more formal, bureaucratic systems of decision-making and problem-solving. It is characterized by loose connections of task-oriented individuals and organizations who come together in informal groupings to expand resources and solve problems. Networking suggests an ever-widening knowledge of community resources that can be tapped to solve problems. Last week, for example, you learned that the local brick factory is willing to make its truck available on Saturdays at no cost to haul building materials to one of the low-income areas in your city. You also know there is a group of women who need this truck but they have not heard about the company's offer. You bring the two parties together.

Two qualities characterize the networking process: spontaneity and freedom. Spontaneity is the willingness of individuals to reach out at any time under almost a circumstance to help those in need. Freedom, on the other hand, is the will and the ability to take action, redefine institutional and programme boundaries to help them be more responsive, and share power, influence, and access to resources in a collabourative, non-threatening manner.

All the beads in the world won't make a necklace until you string them together.
- Korean proverb


Collabouration is the act of joining others to accomplish mutually beneficial goals and objectives. Or, to use a more academic definition, "a process of joint decision-making among key stakeholders of a problem domain about the future of that domain." Often collabouration involves cross-sectoral interaction, such as public private shelter-agriculture, or nonprofit-profit linkages. Two components are needed to assure success in such cross-cutting collabourative efforts:

1. An interest or stake in solving the problem (what's in it for each party to collabourate?); and,

2. The degree of interdependence the stakeholders perceive they have with other stakeholders in dealing with the problem.

Collabouration often involves unlikely parties, who see different aspects of a problem, exploring their differences and coming up with solutions that go beyond their individual limited vision of what is possible. There are several factors that motivate those who decide to collabourate:

· Efficiency
· Stability
· Legitimacy

· Mutually beneficial results

There are some situations where collabouration is unwise. These situations as exist when:

· There is a wide gap in values, attitudes, and beliefs among those who would collabourate;

· There are substantial power differences between the collabourators;

· The issues are too threatening;

· A legitimate convener can't be found to bring the parties together; and

· It is determined that the costs involved in maintaining the collabourative efforts will be too high.


"Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstein said this, and he was a person with considerable knowledge. Creativity is unleashed imagination. It is important to the councillor who wants to perform the role of the enabler. It is the ability to see alternatives and solutions that others don't see. Calling on the private sector to perform public services is an example of creative thinking in some communities. In others, this approach has become conventional wisdom, probably because they have involved private-sector operators for a number of years with successful results.

One of the more creative ways that local governments have acted in recent years is in the pursuit of alternative strategies to carry out community programme and services. In a recent book, Reinventing Government, the authors list 36 alternatives to delivering services by public employees (see the Annex on pp. 15-16). Some are more traditional, like licensing, grants, and loans. Others indicate a major break from the conventional ways of thinking about how local governments can serve their citizens without creating operational bureaucracies. In the innovative category of alternatives, they list such approaches as franchising, vouchers, and various kinds of public-private public-public partnerships.'

Some options the authors have branded as "avant-garde." They include: the use of voluntary associations (to deliver certain kinds of services); equity investments (in venture capital funds to encourage new businesses); and co-production (contracting with tenants to manage their own housing). While some of these approaches may be avante-garde in the United States, they are "old hat" in some other countries. We are thinking specifically about the use of voluntary associations as delivery systems.


The enabling role for the councillor falls somewhere between facilitating and empowering. Since both of these bracketing strategies will be pursued under their own labels, later we don't want to spend much time now in describing them. Briefly, facilitating is the use of human relation skills persuasion/motivation/group process) to help others do better what they have decided to do anyway. Empowerment, on the Other end of the process continuum, is providing someone with the necessary authority (from psychological to real) and resources to do whatever needs to be done.

Within the enabling strategy are some options, based on what is required to enable" the other party to assume roles and responsibilities that would normally be carried out by public institutions such as local governments. For example, someone else, such as the private sector, non-governmental organizations, community-based, self-help groups, and individual citizens can do what needs to be done. But, such groups (a) need council approval to go ahead; or, (b) they need council authority (leg sanction); or, (c) they need resources from the council or other source. These resources might include:

· Information
· Technical assistance
· Training Start-up funds
· Organizational arrangements
· Removal of bureaucratic barriers

· Access to facilities Incentives

Or, (d) someone else can help council do it better than they can do it alone (collabouration).

Enabling strategies are particularly effective in working with NG0s, community (neighbourhood) groups, and the private sector. They can often undertake programmes and services at a lower cost and help minimize the long-term commitments of the local council, which, in turn, conserves your scarce resources to perform other services. Using these kinds of strategies may require you and your colleagues to revise your thinking about the role of your local government. In his State of the. City address, George Latimer, the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota said:

City government will have to make some adjustments and in some ways redefine its traditional role. I believe the city will more often define its role as a catalyst and facilitator The city will more often find itself in the role of defining problems and then assembling resources for others to use in addressing those problems... . City government will have to become even more willing to interweave scarce public and private resources in order to achieve our community locals.6

Enabling and community development

John McKnight spent several decades in Chicago working as a community organizer. His experience at the grassroots level convinced him that local governments often "shoot themselves in the foot" by putting community services in the hands of professionals and bureaucracies. He believes the professionalization of community services has weakened communities and undermined its citizens. "There is a mistaken notion that our society has a problem in terms of effective human services," McKnight says. "Our essential problem is weak communities." McKnight has put together a list of contrasts that describes the advantages of using "associations of community' (the family, the neighbourhood, the church, and the voluntary organization) rather than professional service delivery systems. For example:

· Communities have more commitment to their members than service delivery systems have to their clients.

· Communities understand their problems better than service professionals.

· Professionals and bureaucracies deliver services; communities solve problems.

· Institutions and professionals offer "service"; communities offer "care."

· Communities are more flexible and creative than large service bureaucracies.

· Communities are cheaper than service professionals.

· Communities enforce standards of behaviour more effectively than bureaucracies or service professionals.

· Communities focus on capacities; service systems focus on deficiencies.7

This list should be a reminder of the strengths that exist in community-based programmes and services. It seems the more our cities and countries become "developed," the more we are inclined to professionalize and "governmentize" those things that communities traditionally have done for themselves and their citizens. McKnight reminds us that this kind of "development" may be counter-productive, not to mention very expensive! The enabling role of the councillor, we have been discussing, is one that: (a) recognizes the advantages of community-based service delivery and problem-solving, and (b) sees that the necessary support and authority (autonomy) is provided to keep these "associations of community' strong and viable.

Many councillors may find it difficult to perform as enablers. Modern theories and practices of development have put local governments into both the roles of providers and the producers of programmes and services for the community and their constituents (fortunately, many development organizations now recognize the folly of this but it's difficult to undo professional bureaucracies once they are in place). And, there is an expectation on the part of many in our communities that this practice of "doing things for citizens," rather than helping them "do things for themselves," will continue.

This practice is compounded, as a potential barrier to "enabling" others, by the need of many councils (and councillors) to be in control of all locally-based public programmes and services. Enabling often requires new thinking about who can do what and where decisions should be made. Enabling expands the net of community responsibility and resources to include those who are both part of the problem and the solution. Or, if your local government is fortunate enough to have strong, viable associations of community, your efforts at enabling will be equally important to maintain them.

One hand cannot hold all wisdom.
-Maasai proverb

Key points

· Enabling is a strategy that can expand your local government's ability to serve its citizens with quality programmes and services.

· Enabling is a process of mobilizing community resources and divesting decision-making to those who use these resources to meet their needs.

· While local governments should provide for local public services, they should leave the production of these services to others.

· Effective councillors have an ever-widening network of contacts and re-sources they can tap to get things done for, and with, their constituents.

· Councillors who collabourate with other stakeholders to provide programmes and services expand their options and conserve their resources in the process.

Annex - Service delivery options for local government

Mention has been made of the recent book, Reinventing Government, that documents many of the changes that are taking place in the United States within the public sector, particularly local governments. For example, the contrasting perspectives about professional vs. community-owned service-delivery systems by John McKnight is from this book. Below, we've summarized 25 of the 36 service-delivery options included by the authors in Reinventing Government. These options are both interesting and provocative, particularly to those who might believe that government should be "the provider of first resort."

1. Creating legal rules and sanctions. Direct government action can be taken to encourage certain activities by making them legal or discourage them by making them illegal.

2. Regulation and deregulation. Momentous changes in service delivery can be brought about by a simple change in government regulations.

3. Monitoring and investigation. Government can dramatically improve the quality of public goods or services by monitoring their delivery or investigating complaints.

4. Licensing. Government can expand or contract the number of providers of a service by changing its licensing requirements (who can and who cannot provide a service).

5. Tax policy. Government can encourage private providers by offering them tax reductions or credits and can discourage them by imposing taxes on unwanted products or services.

6. Grants. Direct allocations of money can be made to groups targeted for aid by the government.

7. Subsidies. Governments can underwrite the cost of services they consider to be beneficial to the public interest.

8. Loans. Governments can offer financing for the activities of worthy individuals or groups by loans secured by a promise to repay over time at a prescribed rate of interest.

9. Contracting. Private individuals or firms may be invited by government to undertake public services on a contractual basis.

10. Franchising. Private individuals or firms providing a service can be paid directly by the user of the service.

11. Public-private partnerships. Joint ventures can be undertaken by government with private firms to carry out and finance public services.

12. Public enterprises. Businesses can be owned and operated by the government when the private sector cannot or will not provide a needed public service.

13. Procurement. Government can encourage certain activities by buying only from companies that engage in these activities.

14. Insurance. Government can underwrite the cost of insurance for special groups (unemployed, elderly, poor) and insurance for depositors in banks to prevent financial panic.

15. Changing public investment policy. Government can encourage or discourage the behaviour of others by changing how and with whom they choose to invest government funds.

16. Technical assistance. Government can offer technical assistance to businesses, community organizations, and other governments so that they can better provide some service of value.

17. Information. Government may have a significant impact by providing health and other types of information to the public.

18. Referral. Government can operate services that steer people to other organizations that provide the services they need.

19. Volunteers. Governments can make use of volunteers to provide many services, usually under the supervision of paid employees.

20. Vouchers. Governments may give special groups of people the ability to buy goods or services using vouchers.

21. Impact fees. The social cost of an activity can be passed along to those who benefit from the activity.

22. Catalysing non-governmental efforts. Government can support and encourage the formation of community-wide efforts to provide a needed public service or activity.

23. Co-production or self-help. The government can assist individuals or groups to operate and manage their own activities.

24. Demand management. The government can take steps to reduce the demand for certain services (e.g., tolls to cut demand for highway use or charges for unnecessary calls for fire service).

25. Sale, exchange, or use of property. Government action can be taken to encourage the construction of desirable public facilities by selling, exchanging, or sharing the use of land or buildings with other governments or private firms.


1. United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), The Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 [Nairobi, UNCHS (Habitat), 19881.

2. United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Roles, Responsibilities and Capabilities for the Management of Human Settlements [Nairobi, UNCHS (Habitat), 1990].

3. Osborne, David and Gaebler, Ted, Reinventing Government.. How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Tranforming the Public Sector (Reading, MA., Addison-Wesley, 1992), pp. 25.

4. Silverman, Jerry M., Public Sector Decentralization (Washington, D. C., The World Bank, 1990), p. 11.

5. Osborne, op. cit., pp. 332-42.

6. Ibid, p. 27.

7. Ibid, pp. 65-70.



The complexity of problems facing urban communities makes it increasingly difficult for elected leaders to get things done in traditional ways. Gone are the days when a handful of councillors could sell an elegantly crafted solution to a patiently waiting population. Dawning is a new day where success in addressing community issues calls for mutually beneficial partnerships, active participation by many people, and a new role for the councillor as a catalyst, a broker, an "enabler."

If you meet a hungry man and give him a fish, he will not be hungry; but, if you teach him how to fish, he will never be hungry.
-An ancient Talmudic lesson

This workshop is designed to provide participants with an understanding of the enabler as one who seeks to enlist others who are affected by community problems to help themselves by taking an active part in finding solutions. Workshop participants will explore creative alternatives to conventional methods of service -delivery and how power sharing and collabouration can be used by elected officials as powerful forces for getting things done.


A brief description of each learning activity is shown below with an approximation of the amount of time required. If you wish to change the order, to omit something, or to add training material of your own, feel free to do so.

6.1 Warm-up exercise: the nine dots

Participants are asked to find the solution to a puzzle to demonstrate that many problems can be solved only by getting outside conventional ways of thinking. (15 minutes)

6.2 Trainer presentation

Brief presentation on the councillor as enabler. Draw on material from -the essay that opens this unit to clarify what it means to enable the activities and performance of others. Distinguish between the production and the provision of public services. Explain how collabouration and power sharing can accomplish more than independent action and when these techniques can and cannot be used effectively. (30 minutes)

6.3 Exercise: service-delivery options

Participants, working alone, list programmes and services that are currently being carried out by their governments and then in small teams to identify and analyse alternative ways to deliver one of these programmes or services. (45 - 60 minutes)

6.4 Exercise: stakeholder's map

Based on a seemingly unsolvable problem their city is having, participants, working in small groups, develop a map showing all of those who have a stake in seeing the problem solved. (90 minutes)

6.5 Case study: the million houses programme

Participants read a case and discuss the potential of decentralization and citizen involvement in dealing with complex community issues and in creating greater trust and positive regard for local authorities. (60 minutes)

6.6 Skill transfer exercise

Participants reflect privately and then share with others what they intend to do after the workshop with what they have learned about enabling at the workshop. (45 minutes)

Warm-up exercise: the nine dots

Time required: 15 minutes


This is a classic exercise used by trainers to demonstrate how preexisting ways of thinking can prevent us from seeing new ways of doing things. It can be substituted for a longer warm-up exercise when time is a factor or can be used at any time during this or other training units to encourage creative thinking.

If you want to have different results, you need to have different thoughts.


Display on newsprint the pattern of nine dots as shown below. Ask participants to reproduce the pattern on a sheet of their own paper. Give them the task of connecting all nine of the dots by drawing four straight, continuous lines without lifting their pencils or retracing a fine.

The Nine Dot Pattern










Allow participants a few minutes to make several attempts. Ask how many of them solved the task. Either have a volunteer step forward to display the solution or else show participants how it is done by drawing the lines yourself The key to the nine-dot problem can be found in the Trainer's Guide on Training for Elected Leadership.

1. Lead a discussion of the exercise focused on the three following or similar questions:

2. What approach do we take in attempting to solve the problem? (e.g., we visualize a square and try to circumscribe it, leaving the centre dot untouched.)

3. What change in our thinking is necessary for us to find the solution? (We have to step outside the mental box that we create for ourselves or others create for us.)

4. What implications does the nine-dot problem have for your performance as councillors?

Trainer presentation

Time required: 30 minutes


This presentation is to provide participants with ideas and perspectives on the enabler role and a conceptual foundation they can use for the individual and group exercises included in this workshop.


Prepare the presentation based on information from the preceding essay on the enabler role. In particular, clarify what it means to enable the activities and performance of others. Distinguish between the production and the provision of public services. Explain how collabouration and sharing responsibilities can accomplish more than independent action and when these techniques can and cannot be used effectively.

Outlined information on note cards may help you cover the information systematically and stay on schedule. Ask questions from time to time during the presentation as a check on participant comprehension and to hold their attention. Augment the presentation with visual aids including pre-printed newsprint sheets and overhead transparencies as a further aid to comprehension.

Exercise: service delivery options

Time required: 45-60


This exercise is meant to stimulate creative thinking about different ways of doing what local governments are accustomed to doing - producing public goods and services. The twin focus on creativity and on alternative delivery systems makes this exercise a good introduction to understanding the enabler role.


Ask participants individually to make a list of three programmes and services that their local governments currently perform using their own employees, equipment and facilities, programmes and services that could be performed by someone else.

When participants have completed the task, divide them into severalsmaller groups of four to seven members each. Ask each group to select one programme or service from one of the lists and to identify at least one way the programme or service could be carried out differently (maybe better) without using the government's employees, equipment, or facilities. Ask each group to list the advantages and disadvantages of the service option(s). A worksheet is provided on the next page for use by participants in making notes on service options and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Reconvene the small groups after about 30 minutes and ask for reports. Initiate a discussion about the benefits that can result from new ways of delivering government programmes and services.

*The amount of time scheduled for this exercise may be extended up to three hours depending on the number of programme and service examples participants are asked to consider.


Programme or service


Alternative service delivery method
















Based on your analysis, what would be your recommendation:


Exercise: stakholder's map

Time required: 90 minutes


This exercise is to expand on some of the ideas about the importance of involving key people in the process of solving problems and making decisions about issues that affect them. Using community groups to plan and participate in problem-solving can lead to the resolution of many seemingly unresolvable problems.


Ask participants to identify a problem in their city which seems to be unsolvable using the city's own human and material resources. If there is a team or teams present from the same council, ask them to work on a current problem facing them as a council.

Divide participants into smaller groups of six to ten. Ask each small group to prepare a "stakeholder's map" consisting of the names of individuals, groups, or organizations that are directly influenced by actions taken by others relative to the problem or that would have a stake in seeing the problem solved. Ask participants to draw their maps on newsprint sheets using the example on the next page as a guide.

After about 15 minutes of map-making, have small groups report. In the ensuing discussion, have the various groups assist one another in adding to their respective lists of stakeholders.

When each group has reported and received assistance from other groups, reconvene the small groups and ask them to complete three tasks:

1. Identify the three to five most important stakeholders;

2. State why they are the most important stakeholders;

3. Describe how the council might go about getting the most important stakeholders involved.

Ask each small group to report its results in a plenary session and ask participants to critique each other's presentations.

End the exercise with a general discussion of the importance of involving others (enabling them) and the various ways that local governments can collabourate with others in the delivery of programmes and services.



In this example, the councillor represents a rural area which today has 10 per cent of its population receiving potable water. The council is responsible for finding a way to participate successfully in the national goal of a potable water supply for 90 per cent of the country's rural population in 10 years. The national government has adopted a strategy of reaching this goal through a network of community-based water systems. The councillor in the example has identified the stakeholders involved in carrying out this strategy and has entered their titles in the oval-shaped figures. As you can see, a circle at the centre of the map contains the goal.

Case study: the Million Houses Programme

Time required: 60 minutes


This case study is to provide an opportunity for councillors to visualize and appreciate the strength of decentralization and citizen involvement in dealing with complex community issues.

The case should not be used as a substitute for the stakeholder map exercise but might be used to supplement it in a full-day workshop design. In any event, participants should be provided with presentation material on the strategies used by the community energizer, consensus builder, and "enabler," before being introduced to this case.


Distribute copies of The Million Houses Programme and ask participants toread the case. If possible, arrange to provide participants with copies of the case to read before the workshop.

After participants have read the case, divide them into small groups of four to seven. Give each small group the tasks of.

1. Identifying the stakeholders in the case and making a list of them using the worksheet at the end of the case.

2. Answering the four questions following the case.

Reconvene workshop participants after about 20 minutes and ask for reports from each small group. Encourage a general group discussion.



The Million Houses Programme is a unique approach to shelter production developed in response to economic and demographic conditions in a developing country. It remains one of the few examples of national housing policy in which the role of the public sector is confined entirely to the direct provision of technical and financial support to individual low-income households and communities.


Ten years ago, administration of the country's National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) was decentralized to the district level. Emphasis at the start of the programme was placed on the development of a system for community housing administration instead of constructing or upgrading individual dwellings. To accomplish this, the NHDA assisted local housing authorities to train community development officers whose principal responsibility was to stimulate the formation of community development councils (CDCS) representing between 50 and 100 households in slum or low-income housing areas. With the assistance of the NHDA housing officers and local community development officers, the CDCs were responsible for subdividing and platting land, formulating building standards, deciding on the level of infrastructure provision, and managing the disbursement and recovery of governmental loans. The CDCs resulted in a new layer of government to serve as a liaison between individual households and the established urban local authorities.

The Million Houses Programme developed a process of learning-by-doing by participants at all levels. In a relatively short time, the national government had converted the NHDA, established for the centralized control of public-housing production through the construction of costly and highly subsidized dwellings, into a participatory technical and financial assistance agency. Through this process, some 50,000 families have benefited each year. It has been estimated that small government loans (a maximum of US$350 per household) have stimulated the release of nearly three times that amount from the private savings of low-income homebuilders. The construction industry's artisan level and the building-materials market have grown rapidly, creating new jobs and incomes at the lowest levels. Through partnership between the public and the community sectors, a new form of community confidence, stability and development has been generated in those urban areas reached by the Programme.


1. What were the major actions or decisions that account for the positive outcomes in this case?

2. What do you suppose would have happened had the NHDA continued to exercise centralized administrative control over local housing production?

3. What types of community programmes and services might be addressed effectively by a highly decentralized and participative system or organizations like the CDCS?

What are the two or three most important lessons to be learned from this case about enabling others to take greater responsibility for community problems?

Note.. The situation described in this exercise is based on a 1984 Sri Lanka programme aimed at decentralizing shelter provision and establishing a partnership between communities and local authorities with a focus on community participation.


In this space below, make a list of those individuals or groups that you believe are stakeholders in this case.

Series Skill transfer exercise

Time required: 30-45 minutes


This exercise is to help participants transfer the learning experiences of the workshop into their real-world activities as elected officials. The focus of this exercise is on raising expectations, engaging in realistic planning, and making personal commitments. Most of the work is done on a personal basis with some interpersonal sharing.

Between knowing and doing there is a wide chasm.

It is generally agreed that the purpose of training is to improve the way people do things by showing them a better way. In fact, the success of a training experience can be measured by the amount of personal growth and change that takes place both during training and after the training is over.

Training rarely has the impact on workshop participants that trainers hope it will have, particularly after an exposure of only a few hours. The exhilaration of the moment fades quickly when the trainee is confronted with old work habits and the resistance of work associates who have not shared the training experience.

On the other hand, commitments to learning and change made at the close of a workshop can help participants overcome learning resistance in themselves and in the work environment. A trainer can help learners make a successful transition from the world of learning to the world of doing through a few simple planning exercises. Think about it this way. The time taken to
encourage learning transfer could be the difference between a brief exposure to some interesting ideas and a life-changing experience.


Spend at least half an hour at the end of the workshop to focus the attention of participants on important learning's and encourage them to continue experimenting with these learning's in their council activities. Begin by giving participants about 15 minutes to work independently on a simple learning transfer questionnaire.

When participants have completed the questionnaire, ask them to share quickly with the group two or three things they intend to do differently in their council roles as enablers to close the workshop.


Take a few minutes to reflect on the role of the enabler, the new ideas you encountered in this workshop, and how you feel about them. Then, in the space below, write a sentence or two to describe something interesting you have learned about yourself during this workshop.

Based on what you have learned about yourself and the many possibilities for change presented by this workshop, what two or three things do you intend to do differently in your council role as enabler?







Finally, what obstacles in yourself or in your work environment do you expect to experience during your efforts to implement these changes? What will you do to remove or minimize these obstacles?


Action to remove the Obstacle













If you can learn it, you can do it.