This Community Development Strategic Operation Plan offers a unique opportunity to the people of Faisalabad. This Plan marks a shift in the department planning culture and provides strong direction. Moreover, the plan is supported by detailed scrutiny to diagnose weaknesses in departmental performance. The outcome is a greater understanding of how to confront those shortcomings through the service planning process.
This Plan brings together expertise, resources and the collective will of the District Government to offer quality life for citizens. It will usher in a new era for the department and community development in the district. Improved service planning, will lead to widening of the community development agenda and gradually the department equipped with greater capacity will begin to offer new services, namely in gender, training and information on poverty.
In the first year, the department will be focusing primarily on supporting Citizen Community Boards (CCBs). Over the last decade there have been numerous community development initiatives. Faisalabad offers both sets of stakeholders an opportunity to demonstrate that government and civil society can indeed work as partners towards a common goal.
Introduction of Citizen Community Boards (CCBs)
Chapter X of the Local Government Ordinance provides for setting up Citizen Community Boards (CCBs) for energizing the Community for development and improvement in service delivery through voluntary and self-help initiatives. The Local Government Ordinance encourages public participation in all areas of Local Government. This is especially true in the case of development activities. The involvement and ownership of the communities is essential for the sustainability of projects and for the delivery of quality services.
The previous Development planning system was a centralized system. The development funds were distributed to provincial departments under a trop-down approach and had inherent flaws. The identification, appraisal, and approval of development projects had no relationship to the local priorities. The element of community participation was missing form the process. The design of projects did not include the viewpoint of the community. High technology projects were adopted where low cost technology could have been used. The issue of sustainability was overlooked in most cases. The process of allocation of funds was non-transparent and inequitable. Politicians were provided development funds to be spent according to their Priorities. The linkage between the Development and Non-Development budget was missing.
On the Non-Development side, the quality of services suffered due to the unplanned development activities and poor management of facilities. The facilities are in dire need of repair and maintenance. The social indicators of Pakistan are one of the lowest in the world. Education, Health, Population and Water supply and Sanitation have been the main areas affected. Additional spending as per the old system is not the answer. Higher spending levels need to be planned, implemented and monitored properly if positive results are required. CCBs can play a major role in improving services by mobilizing the Community and creating a sense of ownership.
The law provides legal cover to the formation of Citizen Community Boards to enable citizens to actively participate in the development and Non-development activities of the Local Governments. The Citizen Community Boards will serve as a channel for mobilizing communities. They will assist in raising funds to solve local problems. The CCBs through voluntary, proactive and self-help initiatives undertake activities for resolving issues at the grass root level.
The involvement of CCBs will ensure transparency and accountability in the development process due to the contribution of the community in the Project. Instead of passive recipients they will become active partners in development. CCBs will mobilize communities and raise funds to solve local problems. Section 98 (1) of the Ordinance provides the functions of CCBs.
The CCBs through voluntary, proactive and self-help initiatives take up:
- Improvement of deliverer of service by a public facility
- Development and management of a new public facility
- Welfare of the handicapped, destitute, widows and families in extreme poverty
- Establishment of farming, marketing and consumer cooperatives
- Identification of development and municipal needs and mobilization of resources
- Formation of stakeholders association (means voluntary associations such as Parent Teacher
- Associations, Patient Hospital Association, School Management Associations or Farm Water Association or Citizen Police Association etc.) for community involvement in the improvement and maintenance of specific facilities
- Reinforcing the capacity of a specific Monitoring Committee at the behest of the concerned Council
The success of local governments is related to their ability to respond to community needs. Despite a tremendous response throughout the district to the formation of over 595 CCBs a considerable amount of work remains to be done to ensure that the job might be completed properly. In the last three years there despite some early successes for district government with CCBs, particularly in formation and their capacity building, a number of bottlenecks have emerged that threaten to undo the good that has been done so far.
A one window operation for CCBs has been proposed to District Government and approved as a specialized unit within the department to deal with CCB matters. One window operation is an innovative approach to solve CCB problems particularly because bottlenecks emerge within different departments responsible for providing project feasibilities, technical sanctions and administrative approvals for CCB projects. The one window will attempt to circumvent these bureaucratic hurdles with specialists within the unit chasing up proposals in the system. In the second, third, forth and fifth years of the strategic planning process, gender development will be a greater priority as part of the wider aim of trying to achieve better community development. The department will draw on existing female staff within the department to embark on a gender program that targets women and women councilors in communities. Before embarking on this route, there will be a need for gender analysis, community awareness, access to resources for gender focused work and partnerships with civil society groups working on women issues. This work will be supplemented with appropriate training on gender for staff.
Community Development is fundamental to tackling poverty and improving the district social and economic indicators. The department has remained limited in its ability to embrace a more holistic agenda, though through a shortage of appropriate skills and resources. This plan offers hope to communities in the District. For the first time since the inception of devolution the department appears to have expanded its horizons and is serious about trying to achieve the objectives it has set itself.
The Punjab Local Government Ordinance 2001 stipulates that Citizen Community Boards (CCBs) consist of a general body and executive committee. A chairperson and secretary are elected to carry out specific functions. As non-profit organizations these bodies have been mandated to work to improve the delivery of public services, the development and management of new facilities, welfare of the poor, identification of priority needs, and formation of stakeholder associations. In Faisalabad, urban and rural communities were targeted as part of an information campaign on CCBs to people and communities who were unsure as to their purpose and role. Most of the CCBs were formed with representative community participation in which community members from a union council were encouraged to nominate personnel for the general body and vote for executive members of the board.
Links with Communities and CCBs
The Community Development Department took it as a challenge in meeting community demands and working successfully for the formation and training of CCBs throughout the district with its own limited resources.
- An effective and efficient community development department
- Achieving better community development
- Sustained poverty reduction by targeting the poor
- Collaborative partnerships with civil society
- Effective communication with all stakeholders
- Strengthen community monitoring mechanisms
- Increase departmental resources and capacity
- Support Citizen Community Boards and their initiatives
- Develop collaborative partnerships with civil society and the voluntary sector
- Improve departmental systems and processes
- Develop local community capacity through training initiatives
- Promote rights based approach to development
- Promote participatory development approach in local community
- Develop communication, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms
CCB Proposal Approval
The department has an important role in CCB project approval process. The steps below highlight the process briefly.
- CCBs will identify projects to be submitted to the union council house for approval
- If the project is approved, the application is submitted to community development department. In the case of an education project, the application is sent to EDO Education who will instruct his team to carry out feasibility of the project
- The application is then passed from EDO Education to AD Planning, DO, DDO, AEO and head teacher. The application is then returned via the same channels back to the EDO Education
- Once the feasibility is complete, the application is sent to DO Building in Works & Services Department. The DO Building will send it to his sub-engineer to prepare cost estimates. After this, it is then forwarded to Works & Services Department for countersign. Again cost estimate is sent back to EDO, Community Development Department
- Proposal is then sent to the District House for approval through DO Planning. Once this has been done the proposal with all the necessary paper work (20% community share bank draft, technical sanction and form CCB-4) are then sent to DO Planning in Finance & Planning department
- A working paper is prepared for the District Development Committee by DO Planning
- DDC provides administrative approval and will instruct District Accounts Officer to release funds into the personal ledger account of EDO Community Development. The DAO releases 80% of the funds
- Community Development Department then releases the funds to CCBs in installments. This process is fraught with bottlenecks. Numerous factors contribute to delays in the processing of applications but critical blockages occur once applications have been submitted to Education, Finance and Works & Services departments. In the last two years, the average time taken to process an application has been between 6-8 months and in some cases even 1 -2 year. This has caused widespread dissatisfaction with services and local government
To address this problem it was decided by the department to create a specialist technical wing within the department that is given the resources and support to work as one window operation.