Participatory Development Activist Research


Official names:
Shireen De Visser – Senior Manager Governance and Risk
Gurswin Cain – Manager IDP and Performance Management

The meeting which was held at the Kayamandi Community Hall had in attendance all the Wards representatives within the community. The representatives comprises of Ward Administrators, Ward Committee Members, and Councilors from all the Wards. There are four (4) Wards within Kayamandi community and they are; Ward 12, 13, 14, and 15. This Ward Plan meeting is held twice in a year. The first for this year was held in March 2019. And the main purpose of the meeting is to assess and ensure that the community representatives and municipality are on the same page in terms of key priorities projects identified earlier from the IDP public participation meeting held in September 2019.

Each table had on it documents to be used by the community representatives (Ward Administrators, Ward Committees members) and Councilors for the participatory process. The documents on each table are; Template for priorities, Attendance register and 2019/2020 Ward priorities and feedback booklet.

Template for priorities: this form is provided by the municipality for the community representatives to populate by either re-prioritize or leave their earlier identified needs as it is. This need identification process reduce the broader needs of the community to specifics. From the municipality side, it allows and help for linking each specifically identified need by the community representatives to a directorate responsible.

Attendance register: the attendance register captures all the community representatives present at the Ward plan meeting. It becomes vital because a participant, either a Ward Councilor present or a nominated community representative has to sign on the template to be submitted to the municipality at the end of the project identification process.

2019/2020 Ward priorities and feedback booklet: this documents carries the number of each Ward on it. In this case, there are four (4) of this documents for the four (4) Wards in kayamandi community. And each differ in content because the needs as identified by these Wards are different. It serves as a guide to the community representatives to see their earlier identified needs, how much have been achieved and what is left to be achieved. It also guides the Ward Committee Members which are the representative of the communities on how to re-prioritize if need be.

The preceding response and discussion emanated from an interview with the IDP Manager

Question: Why are you not guiding the Ward Councilors and Committee Members on what to do?

Response: “This is their stage. We are not here to guide or tell them what to do. They have to identify and include or re-prioritize their already identified projects themselves. We are just here to collect the populated template from them once they are done. Remember, a Councilor or someone representing the Councilor, which they will choose or nominate will have to sign on it for us to accept it”.

The IDP Manager and Senior Manager Governance and Risk were there to only facilitate and collect from the community representatives their rearranged priorities if any, in the form of the template that was given to each Ward to populate. There was no interference from the Municipal staff throughout the entire process of deliberation within the community representatives. This signaled a clear and non-imposing process of need identification.  According to the theory of participatory development, persistent poverty and isolation, as well as inappropriate and unsustainable development programmes, were the outcomes of top-down planning and non-involvement of local communities in the process of identification and programme design (Mosse, 2001).

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