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close this bookWater and Sanitation Technologies: A Trainer's Manual (Peace Corps, 1985)
close this folderSessions
close this folderSession 4 - Community mobilization
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View the documentAttachment 4A: Development and self-reliance
View the documentAttachment 4B: Community mobilization

Attachment 4B: Community mobilization


REFERENCE: In-Service Training Manual, Peace Corps ICE.


You are a water and sanitation Volunteer who has been in the community for a few months. During this time, you have developed a good relationship with your counterpart. You have confidence in his/her abilities and have gladly given responsibility for community mobilization to him/her. However, lately it has appeared to you that your counterpart does not have the respect of the community and people have little enthusiasm for the project you would like to do. You want to build a strong project team, yet keep the good relationship with your counterpart. What should you do?

Possible Strategies

a. Talk to the counterpart and offer to lead the next community meeting.

b. Help the counterpart plan the next meeting and offer specific suggestions concerning mobilization.

c. Ask the counterpart questions about how she/he thinks the project is going, especially community participation, and watch for opportunities to provide constructive feedback.

d. Leave the situation alone and hope for more community participation.

Other Strategies


You are a water and sanitation Volunteer in the middle of your service. The local project committee is urging you to start a large-scale gravity water system, similar to the system in a large town nearby your village, before you leave. It is unclear whether you will be replaced by another Volunteer and you are not sure if you can complete the project in the time you have left. How would you handle this situation?

Possible Strategies

a. Start the project and try as hard as you can to complete it.

b. Lead a planning meeting with the local project committee and try to develop alternative strategies such as scaling down the project to a manageable level.

c. Concentrate on developing skills in the committee to enable them to complete the project after your departure.

d. Pass the problem on to the committee and encourage them to solve it and tell you what to do.

Other Strategies


You are a water and sanitation technician assigned to a shallow wells project in a community where potable water is in short supply. You know how to dig wells and have demonstrated that to the community by completing one well with the help of three local men whose labor you paid for. However, you soon find that manual labor is frowned upon by most men in the village, and you are unable to involve more community members in the program. You cannot afford to continue paying for labor. You need community support. What will you do?

Possible Strategies

a. Continue digging wells to show that manual labor is acceptable and, by example, influence local men to join you.

b. Meet with influential leaders and point out the necessity for potable water and its relationship with health problems in the community. Hope that their influence can mobilize the village.

c. Stop digging wells and focus your attention on overall community needs and how you might help meet some of those needs by such methods as health education.

d. Meet with community leaders and ask them to solve the problem and tell you what steps to take.

Other Strategies


You are a water and sanitation Volunteer newly arrived in your village. You notice that there are many cases of water-borne diseases and also very few latrines. A meeting is called to welcome you to the community and the leaders ask you what you intend to do for the community. You respond by telling them that you are there to help the people help themselves. You ask the villagers to hold a meeting and to decide what they consider their most pressing problems to be. Later, everyone returns to the meeting and a leader informs you that many of their children are sick and die young. Therefore, the village needs a hospital. Will you build one for them? How would you respond to this request?

Possible Strategies

a. Explain to the villagers that you are unable to build a hospital and that your skills are in water and sanitation. Present some alternative projects that you would be able to help them implement.

b. Ask the villagers if they have the funds for a hospital and if not, offer to help them obtain money through an independent funding source.

c. Discuss with the villagers the overall health problems in the community, pointing out that many of their problems can be prevented by proper hygiene and the use of latrines. Organize some health education classes for the near future.

d. Agree to help the villagers organize in order to build a hospital for themselves and at the same time emphasize the importance of good sanitary practices in the prevention of disease.

Other Strategies