There are many people who are affected by the work that development agencies do and we feel that it is important that not only are they consulted but that they have a say in development work. It is important that they are all listened to and their opinions are heard. In the work that we do the community are the major stakeholders. Far too many projects fail because the community have not been involved in the process. Consultation and participation are so important and can take a lot of time, but we believe that true sustainability can only come from community buy-in.
This is why the Livingstone Tanzania Trust works hand in hand with the community addressing their needs not our perception of their needs. The community are involved in project conception, development, delivery and monitoring and evaluation.
We talk to the community through various pre-existing forums. There are ward officers, village officers, school development committees and community groups (single and mixed sex groups) and then there are the Girl Guides.
The meetings are long and extremely respectful of everyone’s views which is amazing to see.
We have set up a number of community programs with the aim of increasing knowledge and generating income so that those invovled can improve their lives and the lives of their children. It is all about a hand up not a hand out.