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Empower people to participate in local decision making process

Raising awareness on social issues: Human Right, Gender and HIV/AIDS
It is essential to raise the community’s awareness on Human Rights in order to include more people in the community for local decision-making processes. We draw attention to Human Rights in village/commune level meetings. Furthermore, we liaise with external service providers to deliver more in depth training sessions on Human Rights issues to Community Councils (CC), village and group leaders, village volunteers and any other relevant stakeholders.

Gender equality is promoted through all our activities. Accounted for 60 or 65 percept of our beneficiaries are women. We ensure that they get the opportunity to be involved in discussions, take on leadership roles, and develop new skills.

Additionally, We, READA, mainstream HIV/AIDS into our activities in order to raise awareness and minimize risks. HIV/AIDS issues are also addressed among staff members in order to ensure that they are clear about the implications of HIV/AIDS and able to disseminate knowledge within the community. HIV/AIDS campaigns are also organized in the community once a year on World AIDS Day. This is a great opportunity to inform on causes, prevention, care centres.

Self Help groups

With supports from READA project staffs, poor families form Self Help Groups (SHGs). Each group set up its own structure and formulates a process to identify problems and determine potential solutions. The aim is to assist SHG members to gain skills in group management and leadership (planning, recording, facilitation etc.) as well as to build a strong community structure. The SHGs are also used as safety nets: group members are encouraged to save an agreed amount of money every month. These small capitals belong to each SHG and can be borrowed with no regard to needs assessment and investment purposes. This has proved to be beneficial in order to compensate the costs for health care. Since people in the rural area can access to cash service from SHGs, instead of relying on local lenders who put high interests. Our project staffs assist the SHGs to build their capacity through following up and coaching.

Establishing Community Based Organizations (CBOs) 
SHGs are encouraged to form Community Based Organisations (CBOs), which are called Village Associations (VAs). Each VA consists of no less than 5 SHG groups (about 60 families). We provide capacity building support for the VAs and facilitate elections of VA representatives. In addition, READA assists the VAs to look for supports from local authorities and private service providers. VAs are essential for the long term project sustainability. Our goal of VAs is to take a leadership role and address issues rooted in the communities through increase financial resources from relevant agencies and getting involved in the decision-making processes. We believe that VAs can build democratic structures at grass-root level. 

Building the capacity of VAs (CBOs) and Commune Councils
READA works with Village Associations (VAs) in order to have a power for local decision-making processes. After conducted a capacity assessment of VAs, we provide trainings on topics, such as VA activity planning, reporting, facilitating, accountability and transparency, complaint mechanism system, small proposal development, project and financial management, monitoring and evaluation, and Human Rights (e.g. HIV or Gender). As well as READA, some service providers deliver trainings for VA members when appropriate. As a part of this process, we also invite Commune Councils to attend the trainings in order to recognise and get involved in VAs’ activities.

Trainings and supervisions are provided to Commune Councils (CCs), Planning and Budgeting Committees (PBCs), community leaders, and other relevant stakeholders. In the trainings, the topics are techniques on situation analysis, problem identification, prioritisation, and alternative analysis related the Commune Council’s local planning process (LPP). The aim of the training is to put all relevant issues identified through problem analysis in Commune Development Planning (CDP). The district integration workshop (DIW) enables Commune Councils to present their draft CDP and raise issues rooted in the communities.

Commune Development Forum and Public Meetings
READA’s staffs co-facilitates the commune development forum with the Commune Councils (CCs) in order to provide  “on the job” coaching and mentoring for the memebers of CCs. As a part of this process, our staffs also assist CCs and community representatives to facilitate the forums, such as setting agendas, taking notes, and making a decision for following-up actions. 

Our staffs also encourage the all stakeholders to express their opinions and participate in the decision-making processes for their future action plans or campaigns. Village representatives are invited to the forum in order to hear the voices from people. Through participating in the discussion, rural people can have an opportunity to address their issues and how much human rights are entitled at a grass root level.

In addition, we organise monthly meeting with VA representatives and Commune Councils in order to increase accountability in local development planning and address the issues faced by the poorest people.