Engage Communities in Sustainable Development and Conflict Resolution
By Diing Agim Diing
Nyanut Malek Ngor considers the time she has volunteered as a member of Boma Development Committee (BDC) from Wathok worthwhile and beneficial. “I am empowered through the BDC training that was facilitated by UMCOR last year (2016),”says Nyanut expressing her happiness.
Wathok is one of the Bomas in Malual East Payam, Aweil North County, participating in the Local Governance and Service Delivery Project (LOGOSEED). The Project implements small infrastructure projects that are selected by communities through an extensive community engagement process and also conducts institutional strengthening of Local Government officials in selected counties. The engagement process entails the election of community representatives into the local structures known as Boma Development Committees (BDCs) and Payam Development Committees (PDCs).
From the training Nyanut attended, she acquired Development Planning and Communication Skills that enabled her to participate in decision-making processes in Wathok Boma. Through the community-driven-development approach adopted by LOGOSEED, she learned the importance of sustainability of development activities because the project improves already existing facilities. The Project for example approved Payam Development Grant (PDG) projects where schools, primary health units and markets already operated under temporary or open-air structures.
There are additional benefits according to Nyanut: “I can say the Project has brought unity among our communities”. As a part of an eleven-member BDC, she has, in the last year, worked to resolve conflicts in the community through other community members, thereby promoting their involvement in solving their own problems. Such initiatives were a preserve of chiefs only in the past.
Nyanut added that this was the first time to be selected to participate in handling development issues. Her only wish is that the implementation, which follows the Government budgeting cycle, would be executed faster. She says that delays in execution of projects are a challenge as community members have asked her when PDG projects are going to be started, indicating the great anticipation for the projects. Nyanut further requests the Government to expand the LOGOSEED Project to include support to small-scale businesses that will empower women economically.