Communitization of Rural Development Programs

In development sector  ‘The Communitization’ means  involvement of  the community in program execution. In the beginning of a program, staff is hired to implement the project. The project staff identifies  leaders among beneficiaries who can carry out program activities further with and without external support. After some capacity building, these community leaders known as community caders, start to take the lead and the hired staff reduces their  involvement.

There are several benefits of communitization, some of them are-

  1. It is cost effective.
  2. Outreach to real beneficiaries is increased.
  3. More trust of the community  in program is developed.
  4. The real solution for a problem is found out.
  5. the opposition of community to change is reduced.

There are several disadvantages of the communitization if it is not introduced carefully-

  1. Lack of proper capacity building impacts programs output in terms of poor quality.
  2. Lack of professionalism in program execution.
  3. Lack of proper monitoring enhances the chance of capturing of the program by some elite families like relatives of a family occupy all important positions.
  4. Capturing of leadership positions by the elite or a single family, develop dissatisfaction among the community.
  5. Program execution has time limitation (Generally 3-5 years), so in hurry, the communitization is done without proper hand holding support and its results poor ownership among beneficiaries due to less understanding.
  6. Sometimes, it is understood job providing program and it  undermines real objectives of the program.

So, the communitization and exit strategy of the staff should be planned carefully and focus should be more on capacity building of community cadre.  They may be attached to professional staff for 1-2 years before giving them control of the program. External support should also be provided for some time. Before, final hand over to the community, a transparent system for monitoring and execution should be developed and implemented, especially for financial matters.




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