Owning the process - taking responsibility

In the experience of NETZ an important stepping stone towards an effective development intervention is that the participants own the process and assume active responsibility for its success. On the one hand this requires the introduction of effective participatory tools such as PRA or the Family Development Plan during the course of the intervention. On the other hand this presumes that the participants have the chance to gradually assume both the creative and the financial responsibility for the intervention even after external support has ended. In order to effectively guide the further development process after the phase-out of the intervention the self-help groups on village and municipal level have to be well-organized, assertive and sometimes even registered as an independent organization.

The main elements for successfully handing over the financial and creative responsibility to the project intervention to the participants are:

  • Building the capacities of the self-help groups in terms of financial management and strategic planning so that they can take over certain project management tasks.
  • Facilitate the registration of the federations as independent organizations to strengthen their organizational capacity and assertiveness.
  • Introduce a membership fee system for the federations to ensure their financial sustainability.
  • Facilitate the payment of an insurance premium by the participants (managed by the federations) towards the end of the intervention in order to continue the project-initiated risk fund after external funding has ended.
  • Facilitate exchange visits between different federation members from different regions in order to start a process of mutual learning and analyse potentials for regional cooperation between different federations.
  • Facilitate a dialogue process between participants and local elites, political decision makers and service providers which persists even after external support has phased out and creates an enabling environment for the continuation of activities by the self-help groups.

Coupled with targeted measures of capacity building, all these steps eventually lead to an increased ability of the participants to assume responsibility for their own empowerment, which does not only strengthen their self-determination, but first and foremost increases their human dignity.