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Engagement for Progress (E4P) Model

 

The model that GRRA used in order to achieve the intended results of the project is called the Engagement for Progress Model. The outcome of this model is based on: Increased engagement between duty bearers and rights holders. This outcome was mainly looking at enhancing the participation of citizens in the governance process, responsibility and accountability in public institutions through engagement between duty bearers and rights holders. GRRA focused on enhancing citizen participation in local decision making and influencing local government policies, plans, budgets and the improvement of service delivery. This was to be achieved through engagement using the following activities:

Residents/Rights holders and duty bearers’ interface, Citizen Accountability Forum, Youths and Women Roundtable.

These meetings created platforms of engagement between the right holders and the residents where they meet and peacefully engage. In these meetings, residents voiced their concerns and the duty bearers responded to them and collectively, they came up with solutions to help solve problems in the city.
Citizen accountability meetings are platforms where citizens were given an opportunity to hold duty bearers to account on various service delivery issues. This process promoted good governance and a culture of accountability in public administration which promotes efficiency. Women and Youth Roundtable meetings were also convened to allow these groups to discuss issues that affect them in the community. Residents/Rights holders and duty bearers interface meetings were held to create a platform where rights holders and duty bearers could meet and discuss this problem affecting the city and come up with ways to prepare for these disasters in the future.

The specific steps that were implemented in achieving the results are:

Stage 1 (Identification/Exploration)

GRRA identified the root cause of the problem by collecting information through the conduction of open
dialogues (ward community meetings), observations and interviews. Stakeholders, leaders from various
groups throughout the community, and other important partners that would help frame initial problems were then identified. Information from residents offered insight into the problem and its causes and allowed the organization and the communities to jointly come up with recommendations. Therefore, a situational analysis of the problem using the five Ws and H method was undertaken. GRRA sought to explore, What the problem was; Who the affected residents were; Why there was a problem; Where the problem was; When the problem occurred and How big the problem was.

Stage 2 (Initiation)

The initiation stage was in the context of achieving specific objectives. GRRA believes that change comes
from those residents who live and interact within a community and that residents are an important asset and direct agents of change in shaping the development of the community. The initiation stage of community action was therefore essential to increasing individual awareness and providing a platform for people to become active. Residents notified the responsible authorities, such as the Gweru City Council (GCC), through a letter and organised a meeting with the management to solve the issues affecting the community.

Stage 3 (Persistence)

Persistence means keeping at it over time. For GRRA, that meant remaining engaged and being prepared to be flexible in their approach as the environment changes. Seeking to influence a change in the community is difficult. Sometimes residents ought to feel that it is too hard and they are not achieving their goals fast enough. Some communities gave up and found easier ways of operating. However, persistence, rather than giving up, was a key characteristic of the engagement for progress model. At times it meant making use of advocacy coalitions with other residents’ associations, petitioning the responsible authorities and maintaining relationships based on mutual respect.

Moreover, this model lays the basis on the importance of community engagement evidenced by success stories that will be highlighted. GRRA realized that engagement can lead to improved and sustainable outcomes for communities when the local authority and responsible authorities seek out the aspirations, concerns and values of residents, who, in turn, share their aspirations, concerns and values with them. Incorporated into decision making processes, councilors are better informed and better able to meet resident’s needs if they engage well with the residents they represent. Engagement enables the establishment of long standing, effective partnerships between local authorities and communities resulting in a greater sense of community ownership and an improved uptake of services as they are tailored to the unique aspirations of the community.