Africa Book Development Organisation (ABDO) believes that meaningful and sustainable development can only happen where communities are capacitated to take a leading role in projects and programs intended to improve their livelihoods. The organisation has continued to explore and perfect strategies and processes to educate and empower the communities.
Communities need to fully understand and institutionalise the projects in their area. ABDO’s starting point is the identification of main stakeholders in each community. These include influential males and females, local and traditional leaders, Government departments including local authorities and locally based Community Based Organisations. Orientation in the form of meeting or workshops is carried out with males and females from these institutions covering the introduction to the projects, participatory methodologies in development intervention and expected outcomes from the projects as well as roles and responsibilities of various actors. This ensures ownership of the project by the locals from the onset.
Public campaigns and marches focusing on agreed themes have exposed pertinent issues and problems to the communities and, through public discussions, they are able to analyse the issues and challenges at hand. These have included prevalence of child rape and gender based violence, environmental issues, sexuality and reproductive health issues, discrimination of women on land distribution, ownership and control. The root causes to the problems and challenges are packaged and appropriate strategies formulated for community action and for the attention of other local stakeholders.
One example is disposal of litter which was posing a health hazard at Tsholotsho business centre and the wanton cutting down of trees to erect fences at homesteads.
A campaign involving the Council, Government departments, Environmental Management Authority was carried out in Tsholotsho. This involved cleaning of the business centre by removing litter, planting of trees at the centre and donation of trees to various institutions and to traditional leaders.
The organisation strengthens established local structures from identified key actors through leadership and project management training. This equips the leaders with knowledge and skills to better manage the project and ensures project sustainability.
ABDO has run workshops for the general community covering technical skills training and specific topics that are of interest to the community. During group discussions, at these workshops issues are raised some of which have translated into practical solutions and projects such as:
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