Geographical Context

The geographical coverage of CMDO’s ID program mainly includes seven agencies of FATA and Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Karak, Peshawar, Lower Dir, and Swat districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province. Both FATA and majority of KP districts with millions populations are among the poorest parts of Pakistan. The large number of population living in these regions lacks access to basic services including clean drinking water, sanitation and adequate physical access to social services. Majority of people depend on subsistence agriculture and livestock and the visible absence of progress translates even small shocks into large increases in destitution. In both regions, water, sanitation, agriculture, and livestock sectors have been identified to be especially poorly resourced and under-developed.

Over 97% of the population in FATA resides in rural areas with 2.7 million hectares under agricultural use. The unemployment is particularly high among young men aged 15-30. The region is the most underdeveloped in Pakistan with over 60% of its population living below national poverty line. Similarly, CMDO’s intervened districts are also generally considered as low human development districts in the KP province. There is a broad-based awareness of FATA and Southern KP region’s acute development disparities with the rest of Pakistan. The militancy crisis in KP and FATA is also a key contributor to stagnant growth and high unemployment.

The prevailing colonial age administrative structures and laws in FATA is also one major hurdle in the provision of basic human rights to local tribal population and in the acceleration of development process in the region. The public sector institutions both in FATA and intervened KP districts are lacking the capacities to meet the development challenges and address the development needs of the local population. The emerging role of civil society institutions and grass root community institutions in the provision of development services is now equally accepted by local population and government departments. Over a period of last two decades, a number of national level civil society/rural development networks are now actively working with thousands of urban and rural communities in FATA and KP province and contributing in the provision of basic development infrastructures, social services, and livelihood enhancement facilities. However, the magnitude of development problems is at such larger scale that still a lot need to be done particularly the capacity building of grass root community institutions in FATA and KP and promoting their lead role in fostering participatory development process.

Institutional Development (ID) Program-An Introduction

The ID program strategic goal is to contribute in poverty reduction in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through social mobilization and increased cooperation in between local public institutions and indigenous grass root community institutions and networks. The ID program strategic objective is to work on the establishment of multi-tiers grass root community institutions through rigorous social mobilization process and develop its linkages with local public institutions for bringing improvements in service delivery and strengthening integrated development process at community, village and Union Council levels. CMDO’s Institutional Development (ID) Program put poor people at the core of decision making process and amplifies their voice while delivering key social sector development services. They support collective action, build local empowerment and strengthen social capital, as community groups take responsibility for managing resources. The following are some major strategic outcomes of CMDO’s ID Program.

  • Formation of Multiple Levels Community Institutions Development through Social Mobilization
  • Improved Service Delivery of local public institutions through better coordination with Community Institutions
  • Increased Networking and Linkages among District line agencies, Community Institutions, and Civil Society/Donors
  • Capacity Building Trainings on strengthening Community Institutions and Community Development Practices
  • Functional Community Institutions & Networks working for integrated development at local level

The ID Program adopted the community institution model of RSPN/PPAF and mobilized and facilitated target communities in the formulation of 3024 Community Organizations (COs) at Sub-Village Level, 39 Village Organizations (VOs) at Village Level, and 9 Local Support Organization (LSOs) at Union Council Levels. It was indeed gratifying to note that, besides ensuring inclusiveness for all vulnerable and marginalized groups, women were also engaged in the formation process of community institutions. According to the process 5-10 COs converge (75% Household of village) to form a Village Organization (VO) and a 5-7 number of VOs transform into a Local Support Organization (LSO). Each CO represents 15-20 household and each household is represented by a member in the CO holding important position based on the particularly function that he required to perform. These community solidarity organizations were strengthened through Community Management Skills Training (CMST) and Leadership Management Skills Training (LMST).

Social mobilization and capacity building training activities under CMDO Institutional Development (ID) Program stimulated the targeted communities to organize themselves through the formation of their own community institutions, identifying their needs, priorities and resources, and plan and implement not only grassroots development initiatives with NGOs/government but also their own self help basis initiatives. The program activities largely contributed towards the start of multiple level research, development, and linkages/networking activities by these community institutions ranging from preparing development profiles of their respective areas to the identification and prioritization of development needs and from preparing Village Development Plans (VDPs) to working in coordination with local line departments in education, health, infrastructure, and poverty reduction sectors in their respective localities.

The program was able to develop a strong foundation of various level community institutions which led towards initiating participatory integrated development and income generation activities in the intervened program areas. It is worthy to mention that COs, VOs, and LSOs formed under the program are also able to attain opportunities to participate in livelihood enhancement activities and community infrastructure projects sponsored by either the PPAF or other donors organizations. Such active participations are enabling these Community Institutions to further enhance their human and institutional capacities through implementing development interventions in their respective areas. The promotion of gender equality, human rights, and civil society engagement were incorporated as cross cutting themes in implementing all major program activities.

The ID program communities are now well aware of their basic development rights and contributing in improving local governance structures and strengthening transparency and accountability mechanisms. The Community Institutions formed under the program are now also acting as support structures in promoting tolerance, social cohesion, and peace building in their respective conflict affected areas. The program implementation heavily contributed in improving increased sense of social protection among the local communities. The program also contributed in enhancing awareness among project communities on gender sensitive development and basic human rights. It is anticipated that various level community institutions functioning in the program areas would keep working on poverty reduction, food security, and better access to clean water, education, and health facilities.

Social Mobilization and Organization

In order to promote participatory integrated community development practices, CMDO in its ID Program always emphasized on strengthening social mobilization and organization process in its intervened areas in FATA and KP province. It is a pre-requisite for the long term sustainability of CMDO’s grass root development interventions that its partner communities are fully mobilized, organized and committed to such extent that they themselves take the ownerships of development activities and ensure maximum participation of its community members in the planning and implementation of integrated development work in their respective areas. The formulation of different level interrelated Community Institutions and its lead role in fostering integrated development process and in improving social service delivery were successfully demonstrated by CMDO’s ID Program.

CMDO right from the start of ID program undertook extensive social mobilization and organization activities in FATA and KP Province. An effective liaison was developed with the communities through regular meetings and dialogues. The communities were rallied around the idea of organization by way of underscoring its benefits. Rapport was duly built with the elders and all other segments of the communities in order to organize and enable the community activists and youth to form different tiers Community Institutions. During the social mobilization process and organization of regular meetings of both male/female groups, communities at the Community, Village, and Union Council level have been organized for the formulation of COs, VOs, and LSOs respectively. The already existing less functional COs were also reactivated and re-organized during the process of forming grass root COs network in FATA and KP Province.

The ID Program has been able to effectively mobilize and organize thousands of communities in the targeted villages in FATA and KP. The communities took active part in the ID program activities and contributed indigenous local resources in the planning and implementation of development initiatives. The ID program implementation promoted grass root institutional development, gender equity, social cohesion and harmony among the targeted communities. The program has been successful in forming a number of women community organizations and building their capacities thereby, fostering women empowerment along with their acceptance within the male dominated society. Aimed at the gender mainstreaming, especially the empowerment of women, the program sensitized community members about the role and contribution of women in community development process. As a result of effective sensitization process, the male community members and elders allowed their females to participate in the community level developmental activities.

With the formation and functioning of grass root community institutions through a democratic process, new energetic, dedicated and accountable leadership both men and women have been emerged in the targeted marginalized and poor rural areas of FATA and KP province. In a tribal and conservative society like FATA and South KP, women are the most deprived and neglected segment of the society. They are not usually consulted in the local level decision making process. Social mobilization done through ID Program has enabled the poor women to form their community organizations and their voices are now heard in the local level decision making process. Women have been able to identify and prioritize their needs and problems and now successfully executing women development activities in their respective villages.

Community Organizations

The formation of Community Organization (COs) is one of the largest ID program activities in which CMDO’s Program staff undertook vigorous social mobilization and organization activities all across FATA and intervened districts of KP Province. The majority of 3024 COs were formulated at Sub-Village/Basti which includes both new COs and revitalization of existing COs. The standard procedures for COs formation were undertaken by the program team which include sensitization of local communities on the need, scope, and utility of formulating community development institution, undertaking membership activities at the sub-villages, and facilitating local communities in the election/selection of the representatives/office bearers of the COs. The COs formulated under the project organized regular meeting of its COs members and encouraged their active participation in preparing the profiles of sub-villages. Similarly, CO’s through active participation of its communities identified and prioritized the development needs of their respective areas and planned and executed number of development initiatives.

Such development initiatives include awareness campaigns on school enrolment of children and child-mother health care needs and developing collaborations with local public institutions and national civil society organizations on service delivery and poverty reduction activities in their respective areas. COs also undertook other numerous self initiatives viz. resolve conflicts, measures for DRR, community support, social protection, and social welfare of community members. The sustainable functioning of such large number of COs reflects that program beneficiary communities have now taken up the ownership of such grass root social institutions and now themselves working with public and civil society institutions on various level development and livelihood enhancement initiatives. It reflects the successful community mobilization and organization skills and strategies adopted in the ID Program. Below are details of COs formed and established in various parts of FATA and KP Province under CMDO’s ID Program.

CMDO’s CO’s Network in FATA and KPK
Agency Tehsil Nos of CBOs Total Nos
Khyber Jamrud 28 77
Bara 8
Landikotal 40
Malagori 1
Kurram Upper Kurram 83 136
Lower Kurram 47
Central Kurram 6
Mohmand Ekka Ghund 43 69
Ghalanai 5
Lakarai 9
Prang Ghar 12
North Wazirestan 51 51
Bajaur Khar 5 74
Mamund 18
Charmang 1
Nawagai 2
Salarzai 4
Uthman Khel 44
Orakzai Upper 6 62
Lower 35
Kalaya 21
Dir Lower Timergara 14 50
Balambat 19
Munda 7
Lal Qilla 10
Lakki & Bannu 1860
CMDO’s Tribal Network in FATA/KP 645
Grand Total 3024

Community Organizations formed under CMDO ID Program are playing an important role in development interventions within their respective areas. The positive aspect of these community organizations is the inclusiveness represented by diverse membership including men, women, youth, etc and the participation and collaboration of public & private sector and CSOs. The participatory approach employed by the ID Program is playing a vital role as it is providing a positive environment where gender equality is ensured. The empowerment of women and their acceptance in the male oriented society improved. These community organizations are proactive, cooperative and possess positive compliance to provide a fair chance to women in decision making which is ultimately leading them towards women development & empowerment.

Through social mobilization process the social capital of the poor communities increased and the communities are more socially viable and cooperative with each other and solve their conflicts and disputes at the local level. The mobilized communities are getting empowered now and are breaking down the poor’s mentality of dependence and increasing their control over their own lives. The poor are acquiring new skills and abilities by participating in the local level development activities. Through social mobilization the poor communities are in good bargaining position and developing positive linkages with local government institutions and civil society organizations.

Village Organizations

In line with the principles and procedures of RSPN/PPAF model, project staff further organized combined meetings of COs at their village levels for the formulation and establishment of Village Organizations (VOs) in CMDO’s program areas in Southern KP province. The project facilitated and contributed in the formation of 39 VOs and later its capacity building trainings for its functioning at the village level. The graduation process of Cos towards the formulation of VOs with improved participation level, representation, potential, and outreach represent a case study of community networking and synergy. With combined voice and strength program communities are expected to achieve village level development goals. It also improved the institutional capacity at the grassroots with greater potential for more pro-active development partnerships with local government institutions and NGOs. The members of VOs have been involved in conflict resolution, facilitating National ID Card Registration of both men and women, and birth registrations. They have also facilitated the communities to get themselves registered as voters with the ECP.

The communities through VOs took initiatives to develop linkages with government line agencies/departments and NGOs and secured various services. The VOs developed their linkages with NADRA for national identity cards of community members. These VOs have facilitated poorest of the poor community members to get income cards under Benazir Income Support Program. Linkages were developed with the health department and WHO to ensure Polio Campaigns in their areas. The VO also supported/ facilitated the polio teams during polio campaigns in the UC to access the far flung areas and activists visited house to house and sensitized the parents about the vaccination. They are working to motivate the community to get their children enrolled in schools and promoting girls education in their areas. Through social organization and mobilization of the poor communities, both male and female village level leaderships are emerging who have the spirit and enthusiasm to work for the development and prosperity of their respective communities.

VOs through active collaboration with their respective COs also worked on the preparation of 24 Village Development Plans (VDPs). The Village Development Plans (VDPs) are comprehensive documents which comprise the profile of the village in terms of demographics; data on public and private sector social services; resources such as water, cultivable land, forest, crops, business and employment opportunities, conflicts etc; and prioritize community needs and future development strategies at the village level. The VOs, with their VDPs are better placed to know and articulate their needs, priorities, resources, challenges and risks. The VDPs will help them in forging future development partnerships with NGOs and local public institutions. With an overview of their communal natural resources and having understanding about its importance in their lives, they are now better placed to manage and preserve their natural resources such as water, land, forest etc. The plans are ready tools for them to feed opportunities and overcome challenges.

Village Development Planning also provided a forum to different COs in the village to come together and discuss their village issues and plan collectively. Village assemblies and VDP exercises strengthened the institution base and social capital of the communities as they are now in better position to influence their local representatives and line departments and develop linkages with the service providers. Village assemblies and VDPs were also conducted with women in the targeted UCs, where women leaders and activists actively participated and discussed women development issues and problems.

Local Support Organizations

Under CMDO’s ID Program, the VOs in similar union council’s further work together on the formation of UC level Local Support Organizations (LSOs). The purpose of LSO formation was to raise the collective voices of COs and VOs from a union council level platform and influence the policy and practices of local public institutions and NGOs. CMDO’s ID program has been able to formulate and establish 9 Local Support Organizations (LSOs) in the Southern districts of KP Province. These UC level LSOs are properly rooted out from the grass root COs at sub-village levels and VOs at village levels. The 9 LSOs are now actively working on the identified development needs of their respective areas whereas it has been planned to work further on the formulation and capacity building of new LSOs in the targeted program areas.

Capicity Building Trainings

The organization of Community & Leadership Management and Skills Trainings (CMST & LMST) for the capacity building of COs, VOs, and LSOs were an integral and important component of the ID Program. The trainings programs were designed in a way to build the capacities of the representatives of COs/VOs/LSOs on social mobilization, community organization, communication skills, record keeping, financial management, meeting organizations, village profiling, documentation, resource mobilization, identification and prioritization of development needs, DRR, NRM, and how to establish better coordination and working relationships with the local public institutions working in the areas. The capacity building trainings contributed a lot in the regular functionality and sustainability of various level community institutions formulated in the targeted areas. The broader objectives of such CMST/LMST for the members of COs/VOs/LSOs mainly include

  • To build the capacities for effective management of Community Institutions
  • To increase communication & presentation skills of the participants.
  • To enhance grass root level leadership qualities.
  • To create awareness on basic developmental rights
  • To improve community skills on participatory planning methods

The principal objective of the CMST and LMST trainings was to understand the approach and principal of social mobilization ensure inclusiveness and the engagement of numerous segments of people such as influential, poor, very poor, religious leaders, women, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), and marginalized groups within a community. The training activities encouraged the effective usage of locally available resources for the community betterment, planning& management, operation and maintenance of community schemes, and generating savings. Community Management Skill Trainings (CMST) and Leadership Management Skill Trainings (LMST) have effectively contributed towards enhancing the capacities of local community members in planning and management of development activities, conducting effective community meetings, situation analysis, resource mobilization, financial management, communication& motivation skills, conflict resolution, record keeping, responsibilities & accountability of office bearers, leadership roles, gender mainstreaming, linkages development, project proposal and report writing, right based approach, and disaster risk management.

ID Program-issues and Challenges

  • Socio-Cultural constraints and gender discrimination identified as one major issue in the way of fostering women development process in the intervened program areas in FATA and KP Province. It is one critical project challenge that how to increase women participation and empowerment process in the future Community Institutions development process.
  • The law and order situation has its effects on the achievements of the program targets in certain areas. The ID Program required an active approach, timely management and coordination. Whereas, the prevailing fragile security situation has given setbacks and delays in implementing program activities.
  • While approaching such insecure fragile communities, it was kept in mind to take into account the security, cultural and related aspects. Such local staff was deputed who have a better understanding of their areas. In areas with volatile security a low profile approach was adopted to overcome such hindrances. Communication and Visibility was also kept low.
  • Despite socio-cultural constraints, participation of women in community organizations and trainings activities remained encouraging. Women despite being culturally restricted and with low decision making power for their mobility in most cases played active role and turned as community leaders. In a male and status quo agent dominated society there is opposition by men to allow women in community leadership role. The ID program has positive impacts on the lives of local women. However, there is still a need for further sensitization of local communities on increased participation of women in community’s decision making process.

CMDO’s Future ID Program

In order to aggressively pursue the acceleration process of self reliance among local communities for attaining their common development interest, the institutional development program of CMDO would play a fundamental role in terms of increasing the capacities and sustainability of its associated COs/VOs/LSOs network in FATA/KP, development of skilled and trained human resources in the target areas and relevant district government departments, and as well increasing the managerial capacities and skills of the staff of CMDO to gradually transform its role and responsibilities as a regional level facilitation platform/network for local civil society and district governments. The ID program would also undertake follow-up work on implemented ID program activities in the form of documenting more case studies on those interventions and strategies that bring real changes and upward mobility in the lives of the local people. The documentation would largely help in replicating such community based development initiatives in future ID programming. The ID program would also work on developing linkages in between community institutions and local markets and industries so that community level entrepreneurs could benefit by selling their products to them.

Another important aspect of the program would be to devise a series of actions on the assets building of CMDO and achieving its financial sustainability and autonomy through establishing Endowment Fund and income generating projects in next 5-year period. CMDO under this program would also take actions on improving the functionality of research, advocacy, publication and internal evaluation and monitoring sections of the organization. Another significant program activity would be to establish and construct CMDO’s Central Secretariat at Peshawar city. CMDO in next five year under this program should also undertake experimental business activities in agriculture, livestock, flour mills, timber, and leather industries or other potential sectors in order to develop actionable feasibility studies for such future income generating projects.