The Community-Driven Development (CDD) Unit handles the design, implementation and management of community-led projects and programmes within PDA.
The CDD Unit views communities as subjects of change and development partners in their own right, rather than as mere receivers of public and private goods and services or objects of charity. For this reason the CDD Unit places premium on the role that communities and their institutions, organisations and stakeholders play in decisions about the economic and social development processes that directly affect the well-being of their members.
Specific objectives of the Unit includes:
- To facilitate processes that empower poor or marginalised communities, and marginalised groups to take initiatives for their own socio-economic development.
- To promote and/or facilitate community participation in project design and implementation within specific sectors.
- To support local governance and for that matter decentralisation programs.
- To enhance local capacity through local level coordination, training, facilitation and technical support.
The unit has co-ordinated projects in the 158 cocoa communities with the core objective of improving livelihoods, supporting initiatives to address worst forms of child labour (WFCL), and in empowering community members and district stakeholders in the delivery of the project outcomes. The work of CDDU is interrelated to all the other units of PDA. In our quest to facilitate the development of communities we undertake research, train district partners and community leaders in leadership and advocacy skills and also undertake direct advocacy in the areas of local governance and accountability.
The CDD Unit seeks to facilitate a process of self-belief and self-reliance, and therefore attitudinal and behavioural change, on the part of communities who over the years have lost confidence in their own capabilities. In this regard, in our work with communities or marginalised groups, we employ a set of tools and methods that have become known internationally as Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) approach to facilitate the following interrelated processes:
- Dialogue and animation – by getting the community to analyse their own reality, appreciate what they have and are capable of doing for themselves, and recognising what needs to change.
- Participatory community action planning, implementation and monitoring – that is collectively developing a vision for the kind of community they wish to see, identifying the actions and resources needed to achieve it, assigning roles and responsibilities for implementation and monitoring.
- Indigenous knowledge and organisational strengthening – placing the responsibility for the development of the community or group in the hands of the leadership, building on positive indigenous knowledge and practices, reviewing and strengthening existing organisational and institutional structures, and creating new ones where necessary.
- Participatory action research – a process of taking actions, reflecting on the actions and learning from what worked or did not work.
- Advocacy – providing community or group leaders with the skills to lobby and advocate for support from the local government authorities and elected representatives like the MPs.
- Coordination and technical backstopping – providing managerial and technical support with regard to report or proposal writing, financial report, fund-raising and advocacy.
CDDU has managed and successfully delivered on major projects like “Yen Daakye” Project (YDK), iMPACT Project, EU/CSSP II, and now is exploring the area of cocoa certification. In collaboration with FTS (USA) and SSF (Obuasi) the CDDU is implementing the Child Rights in Mining Project. In working with communities, CDDU’s preferred option, as it has done for all these projects, is to work with district-based NGOs as partners, as they are already present and closer to the communities. The capacity of these local partners is strengthened to ensure they work efficiently with the community members and stakeholders.