Civil Society and Community Participation
The strategic objectives of The Mvula Trust commit the organisation to promoting and strengthening the role of civil society in development, so that communities are active and involved in managing their own development, articulate their views and hold service providers to account. Mvula’s Policy Unit leads the organisation in engaging on increased citizen and community participation, using a number of national and international platforms to advance a people centred approach to development
Work undertaken by Mvula in this focus area recently include:
Advocacy- Input in numerous policy and regulatory processes aimed at strengthening recourse and accountability in service delivery - including developing monitoring tools, case studies, presentations and engagements with amongst others the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs, DWA, Cogta, the National Treasury, the Technical Sessions Committee of the Second African Water Week, ANEW, NAWISA, the Human Rights Commission, NEDLAC, SAMWU and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies.
Raising Citizen’s Voice– In addition to providing support to Mvula regional offices on the roll out of the Raising Citizen’s Voice project, the policy unit has rolled out user platforms in Vosloorus, Ekhurhuleni.
African Water Week- A Local Consultative Forum was established and supported by Mvula to enable effective participation by CSOs in the Second African Water week held in November 2009.
Village Water Committees– Understanding the historic, present and future role of village water committees in the operation and maintainance of rural water supply systems was the focus of a research project, funded by the Water Research Commission, carried out by the Policy Unit
Durban Regional Office
The Durban regional office supported over 50 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Durban and Pietermartizburg to become more active in water sector issues through the Raising Citizen’s Voice programme and a CSO Support Project funded by the French Embassy.
Empangeni Regional Office
The Empangeni regional office provided training and support to five co-operatives in the Mandeni and Kwadeda areas. The training – in construction and project management – enabled co-operative members to undertake delivery of household sanitation in Mandeni and Kwadeda, thereby enabling local economic benefits to accrue through the investment in sanitation infrastructure.
The Eastern Cape regional office provided support to 35 CSOs involved in the CSO Enhancement (Masibambane) Project. The project achieved the following:
- Enhanced the capacity of the 35 CSOs by work-shopping them on the procurement policies and procedures of the Water Services Authorities in the province, writing case studies, preparing project funding proposals, implementation plans and progress reports
- Marketed the CSOs to municipalities
- Supported CSOs to develop organisational profiles and provided access to professional designers to develop logos and stationary
- Developed a five year strategic plan for CSOs in the province and facilitated a provincial workshop in this plan
- Conducted a CSO capacity gap analysis and trained CSOs in order to address the capacity gaps identified. Training focus areas include writing tender proposals, implementation plans, progress reports and close-out report, minutes, appointment letters and case studies. The training was followed by mentorship support whereby practical assistance was given to each CSO in preparing the said documents
A strategic planning workshop was held in the North West to outline strategic priorities for CSO engagement in the water sector. The workshop developed a blueprint for the building strategic partnerships between sector partners and CSOs and outlined support measures for the achievement of this blueprint. In addition a lessons learning workshop was held between Free State and North West with the aim of sharing successes and shortcomings in the provinces' respective CSO support programmes.
The Limpopo regional office facilitated participation of Limpopo-based Civil Society Organisations in a number of water sector fora. These included the Limpopo Water Indaba, African Water Week, the Waterberg Water Indaba and the Limpopo Provincial Health and Hygiene conference.
Sanitation Job Creation Programme - This programme was implemented in all five Limpopo District Municipalities. A total of 16 block making sites run predominantly by women-led CBOs were established across the province. They supply various types of blocks to local residents, development programmes (e.g. construction of RDP houses, construction of public facilities by various departments, etc). The CBO members are responsible for carrying out the management tasks of production, selling the bricks/blocks and managing the finances at these sites.