One of the slogans we use in management training is, "If you do not know where you are going, then any road will do." (See "Slogans.") This applies to you, too, in preparing for mobilizing.
What do you want to achieve?
It is easy to run around, looking busy, arranging meetings, getting latrines constructed, talking to community leaders, moving advocacy groups, stimulating action, without moving forward in accomplishing genuine community strengthening.
You need to clarify your goals, first to yourself, then on paper, then to those around you.
|Personal mobilization goals: My first draft
Here you should begin writing in your journal, or the section of it you have set aside for goals and concepts.
- What do you want to achieve with your community empowerment project?
- What do you want to get out of the project?
You must set them as your own goals, not think of them merely as a list of someone else's ideals.
The goals of mobilization to develop a community may vary from person to person, community to community.
Refining your personal goals
The goals of mobilization to develop a community may vary from person to person, community to community. Nevertheless, there are common elements.
These include: poverty eradication, good governance, change in social organization, community capacity development, empowering low income and marginalized people, and gender balance
As you go along, reading this, engaging in mobilization, you will see that each of these goals becomes more interesting and challenging, the more you know.
Read through the definitions and think about refining your personal goals
As mobilizers, we work towards the elimination of the social problem of poverty by analysing its causes, and taking steps to oppose and remove those causes. Since poverty is a social problem, the solution to that problem is social. Two complementary approaches to poverty elimination (communal and private) are found in two complementary modules here: Community Mobilization Cycle, and Income Generation Scheme <add links later>.
The word governance is much more broad than the word, government. It is less formal, more encompassing, less legalistic, in meaning. It refers to the total pattern of decision making, control, management, co-ordination and power processes of any organization, such as a community. Good governance is honest, participatory, responsive, transparent, progressive, equalitarian, democratic, respectful of all members, and works on behalf of all the people
Increasing the "capacity" (ability) of a community or an organization. Empowerment. Strengthening. The difference between capacity development and capacity building lies with the conception of where the force of growth originates. The term "capacity building" implies that some agency outside the community or organisation supplies the energy to increase its capacity. It is informed by the concept of "social engineering." The term "capacity development," in contrast, implies that the energy for growth is internal to the community or organisation.
The word "gender" is used to distinguish between two categories, "masculine" and "feminine." It should not be confused with the word "sex" which is used to distinguish between "male" and "female." Gender, and its interpretations of what constitutes masculine and feminine differ greatly between culture and culture, between community and community. Our concern with gender mainly is focused on how distinctions of gender affect the distribution of power, economic relations, and social distinctions. These are important variables which affect communities, and affect the nature of the work of every mobilizer. A mobilizer must (as part of the requirement of learning about a community) understand what values, attitudes and conceptualizations are shared among community members. A mobilizer must also work towards reducing unfair political and economic differences between the genders, as an important element of community empowerment.
|Refining your goals
Go back to your journal and think about whether you would like to refine your goals in the light of reading the definitions above.
Go back to your journal often to update, refine, and add details to all these goals.
Poverty reduction, for example, is more complex and challenging when you work with it, in contrast to just listing it.
We learn to avoid "poverty alleviation" because that merely temporarily alleviates the pain and discomfort, and does not lead to a durable solution.
Poverty is not merely the absence of money (as you will see later) and attacking the causes of poverty means fighting apathy, ignorance, disease, and dishonesty.
That is only one example where your understanding of the goal expands through experience.
Similarly, good governance does not simply mean strong leadership and efficient administration.
It also means transparency, people's involvement, trust, honesty, and a vision for the future.
You will learn, also, that you can hardly expect community leaders to be (or become) transparent in their use of community resources if you yourself are not transparent in your community activities.
Look in the: Glossary of Key Terms, for introductory discussion about these goals (poverty reduction, community development).
Compare them to your notes in your journal.