| Small enterprise development: in-service mining manual |
|Session 4: Identifying project resource needs|
It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the success of a development project depends in large part on the maintenance of a harmonious, informed, and purposeful working relationship between the project's development workers and the residents of the community in which the project is located and/or the community that is primarily affected by that project. If project workers and community participants/residents do not 1) work well together, 2) communicate and share necessary and useful project information, and 3) pursue common objectives and carry out similar project-supporting activities, there is little chance that the project will achieve its primary objective. Development workers must realize that the development of the community's human resources, in a way that both supports project goals and activities and also promotes the growth of community initiative and self-reliance, is central to overall project success.
In what ways do project development workers interact with community residents to achieve their project's basic objective? Here are some of the responsible functions that development workers must perform that bear directly on both the community and the project. At each stage of the project's development, these steps engage the community in project activities as human resources and also promote community development, if well performed. What form these steps take, and the order in which they are carried out, depends on such factors as the nature of the project, the number of development workers, and particular local conditions. In one way or another, however, they are applicable to all development projects.
First, development workers inform the community about the project, the development problem it seeks to solve, its primary objective, the proposed benefits to the community, and the ways in which community residents might participate in the project. In turn, the development workers seek information from the community about the ways in which the community might assist the project. Already a relationship is being established which will vary through further stages of the project's development.
Second, development workers must recruit project participants from the community. At this point, the development workers enter into an active working relationship with the community residents, who may either become direct participants in the project, as members of a cooperative, for example, or provide needed project-supporting goods and services to it. In performing these recruitment functions the development workers should foster community enthusiasm for the project by discussing its benefits and activities and employment and income possibilities.
Third, development workers must organize the project-supporting activities and resources, including labor, that are necessary to produce the project's anticipated results. In order to do this, they need to understand how community residents perform similar activities, and this, in turn, involves understanding the community cultural patterns, including its economic and social organization, and nature and operation of its technologies.
Fourth, development workers relate directly to community residents/participants by training selected people in the skills that are necessary to effectively carry out project-supporting activities. The way in which this training is performed will directly affect the success of the project.
Fifth, the development workers interact with the project participants and other community residents in the day-to-day management of the project until such time as the project participants can themselves capably operate the project and effectively manage its activities.
Sixth, the development workers will eventually transfer the responsibility for the continuing operation of the project to the project participants and the community. For the development workers, this step involves performing a combination of the above functions, with an emphasis on training project participants to carry out the major management and technical aspects of the project.
Keeping in mind that you will be performing these six project functions, consider the following specific suggestions for working with, and helping to develop, the community's human resources. They are taken from Some Points for Consideration of Technicians Working with Villages, by Arthur Raper (US Agency for International Development, Washington, DC, 1961).
1) "Be sure your presence in the village is understood."
2) "Find a basis for common interest with the villagers."
3) "Try to understand why they do things the way they do."
4) "Start where the people are, and with what they want."
5) "Work within the cultural framework of the people."
6) 'Note and respect the pace of the villagers."
7) "Take care that the reactions of the villagers are understood."
8) "Help the people believe they can improve their own situation."
9) "Be content with small beginnings."
10) "Utilize the villagers' own organizations, and recognize their leaders."
11) "Encourage individuals to assume responsibility, and involve as many as possible."
12) "Be short on making promises, and long on keeping the ones that are made."
13) "Make certain that technical benefits accrue at the local level."
14) "Help the government get organized to serve the village people."
15) "Train and use sub-professional, multi-purpose village workers.''
16) "Expect growing pains.''
17) "Don't expect thanks from the people helped."
18) "Deal with the villagers as equals."
(From: Peace Corps/Mali Resource Book)