Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering these questions.
What do you understand by community mobilisation? Describe briefly how it can be achieved.
Community mobilisation is the process of mobilising people within communities. This means encouraging and supporting them to act together to achieve desired community goals. Communities can be mobilised through helping them to identify their priorities, resources, needs and solutions.
Name four reasons why community mobilisation can be beneficial when implementing specific WASH initiatives.
There are many reasons why community mobilisation is beneficial, including:
- sharing local knowledge and wisdom makes good use of wider community experience and insight
- involvement helps the community to have ownership of projects, and of their outcomes
- it promotes self-reliance among community members
- it improves trust and partnership between wash practitioners and the community
- it helps members of the community to develop skills and knowledge to solve problems on their own
- all of the above help to make projects more sustainable, which means they will last longer and bring long-term benefits to the community.
Explain why knowing your community is essential for effective community mobilisation.
Knowing the community is essential for effective community mobilisation because you need to understand the people in the community and the issues that are important to them. Facilitators should be familiar with the social structure of the community and the different groups and their leaders. Knowing about language, culture, religion and economic status are also important. It’s important to identify the key stakeholders who have influence of others and who are likely to lead any decision-making process. For WASH projects, the current water supply situation, sanitation habits and health status of the community are also essential information.
Briefly describe how the following can contribute to a community mobilisation process.
- schools and WASH clubs
- community action groups.
- Schools and WASH clubs can contribute because children are useful agents of change. They take messages learned in school back to their homes and spread the information to their family members. WASH clubs in schools are a good focus for community action, especially about sanitation, handwashing and good hygiene practices.
- Community action groups involve a small group of people with particular skills who are committed to working on a specific project. They can be helpful to move projects forward because a small group focused on a task is often more effective that a larger group. The CAG can be helpful for communicating with the wider community.
Imagine you are trying to improve the condition of a communal latrine in an urban locality. What challenges might you expect?
There could be many challenges, including:
- lack of leadership or of management capabilities
- lack of social cohesion and/or gender equality
- users unwilling to pay to use the facility, and may need persuasion
- poor sense of community ownership
- inadequate expertise to provide appropriate service level
- there may be arguments which require resolution
- complaints about the smell if the facility is poorly maintained.