People’s Participation in Institutional Development

Peoples participation

Six implementing agencies and four PNGOs, with support from the Technical Assistance team, are working on the formation, strengthening and capacity building of field level institutions (FLIs), for the promotion of an institutional environment that sustains CDSP IV type of interventions. For this purpose the project activities are specifically geared towards:

  • institutional development;
  • studies, knowledge management and dissemination;
  • concrete interventions at field level.

Field Level Institutions (FLI)

To ensure peoples participation in all stages of the project cycle, various Field Level Institutions have been created under CDSP IV. These are community based organizations, consisting of representatives of the settlers in the chars. The FLIs make it possible for community members to participate in the planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and sustainability of the project activities through Operation & Maintenance (O&M).

The FLI’s ensure that the local needs and interests in planning, execution and maintenance are addressed, which stimulates the sense of ownership of the project. The main FLIs created under the CDSP IV project are: Water Management Organizations (WMO), Farmers’ Forums (FF), Social Forestry Groups (SFG), Tube well User Groups (TUG), Labour Contracting Societies (LCS) and Micro Credit & Saving Groups (MCSG). In the formation of FLI’s, it is tried to attain a FLI specific gender balance. For WMG’s this is 50%, for SFG’s 41%, for FF’s 42%; LCS’s either are solely men or women, or mixed, and NGO groups and TUG’s consist of women only.

While establishing the different FLI’s, several policies and guidelines are taken into consideration: The National Water Policy (NWP, 1999); the Guidelines for Participatory Water Management (GPWM, 2001), the Social Forestry Rules (SFR, 2004), the National Agricultural Extension Policy (NAEP, 1996 and 2014), and the Participatory Water Management Rules (PWMR, 2014).

Water Management Organizations (WMO)

Participatory water management is of utmost importance for Bangladesh; to ensure this is realised in CDSP IV, Water Management Organizations (WMO’s) have been established. The types of WMO’s are: Water Management Groups (WMG), Water Management Associations (WMA) and Water Management Federations (WMF), each representing a different level of tire.

The formation process of WMG’s in line with the GPWM basically consists of the following 8 steps: 1. Information campaign, 2. workshops with key persons on demarcation of area, 3. plan for WMG formation, 4. mass meetings (men and women separately), 5-6 induction orientation/session on tasks and responsibilities of WMG with election of 12 member management committee and regular meetings, 7 preparation of bylaws, and 8 training and registration. In table 1 an overview is provided on the WMO’s, consisting of WMG’s, WMA’s and WMF’s, formed under all four phases of CDSP.

WMG’s are involved in planning, implementation, operation & maintenance, liaising with LGI’s, Government of Bangladesh (GoB) agencies and in mobilising local funds.

Innovation scale-up
Under CDSP III an internalization process was started to encourage other institutions to utilize our learning’s and innovative activities in land management systems. This transforms the titling of land into a more open, transparent and hassle free process. These activities, including the development of training manuals and organization of seminars, are continued under CDSP IV.

Local Area Development Committees (LADC)

LADC’s are established in unprotected areas where no embankments are built and only (natural) drainage infrastructure is in place. However as per recommendation of Mission Report – 5 all 6 LADC have been reconstituted and converted into WMGs in 2014 and 2016 for their sustainability. 42% of women are the members of WMOs.

Farmer Forums (FF)

Following DAE’s New Agriculture Extension Policy (NAEP), the group approach has been adopted in all agriculture extension activities under CDSP. For this purpose CDSP IV has established 90 Farmer Forums in the five chars, counting over 5400 members of which 42% are women. The size of FF’s are on average 60 members, that have farming as their main occupation and are interested to participate in crop production. Some of the FF’s have opened bank accounts and started saving. The money is intended to buy agricultural equipment in the future.

Labour Contracting Societies (LCS)

It is mentioned in the guidelines (GPWM) and in the policy (NWP) that 25% of the earthwork of any public water project will be implemented by LCS. The NWP also stipulates that all opportunities must be explored and efforts undertaken to ensure that the landless and other disadvantaged groups are directly involved in participatory water management of local water resources.

The purpose of the LCS program is to create opportunities for employment and income generation for the poorest project beneficiaries, both males and females. This to ensure a fair wage to the labourers and to implement the works in a timely manner and with high quality. In CDSP the LCS are involved in earthworks as repair of embankments, re-excavation of khals and ponds, and construction of earthen roads. And also in construction of single pit latrines and market development. Up till now 74 (male-28, female-12, mixed-34) LCS have been formed with affiliation of WMG’s.

Social Forestry Groups (SFG)

To ensure peoples participation in forestation activities, a social forestry approach has been applied through which settlers are involved in planning, implementation, monitoring, maintenance and management of the plantations. For this purpose, the Forest Department (FD) with the assistance of the TA staff is working on setting up Social Forestry Groups for road side-, embankment-, foreshore-, killa-, institutions- and mangrove plantations. In CDSP IV 568 SFGs have been formed out of the project target of 630. Women participation in SFG’s is currently about 41%.

Tube well User Groups (TUG)

Safe drinking water is a basic need for the people in the CDSP IV project areas. The establishment of deep hand tube wells provides this safe drinking water, and reduces the collection time as it is usually placed in close proximity to the users.

Before a new drilling location for a tube well is selected, the NGO’s seek to form a tube well user group, consisting solely of women. The members receive general training on water, sanitation and health (WASH). Additionally two caretakers per TUG receive special training on operation and maintenance of the tube well and get a toolkit for this purpose. The TUG‘s are responsible for collecting contribution money from the participating families. So far 1297 TUGs have been formed out of the project target of 1454.

Micro Credit and Savings Groups (MCSG)

In CDSP IV, four partner NGOs (BRAC, SSUS, DUS & SDI) are working to implement six sub-components through establishing micro credit and savings groups (MCSG). 984 Microcredit groups have already been formed out of the project target of 1120 for 2800 households. One female member per household is part of an MCSG. They are saving on average Tk 20 per week and regularly attend the weekly MCSG meeting. Most of the members have taken loans or intend to take loans for income generating activities.