AIDFI has been involved in implementing various projects that would create impact in the lives of rural communities. Projects that focuses on the real basic need of the community.
More often, these rural communities are being left behind in accessing basic social services from the Local Government and its Agencies.
Mainly, the reasons for these are the geographical locations (distance from the center) and the big reason is budget allocation from the Municipal or Provincial Government (although Barangay Local Governments have its share in the Internal Revenue Allotment, this is not enough for projects like barangay level 2 water system).
AIDFI as the pioneer in low cost and alternative technologies had perfected its design/model of a device that would lift water upstream without using any electricity or motor driven machines. This device is now the flagship program of AIDFI.
In the implementation of this Program, AIDFI realizes that installation of hydraulic ram pump is not enough in the community. AIDFI has to find strategies so as this would very important need of the community would last – thus in its 5 year strategic plan, a Community Development Section was formed.
AIDFI’s Community Development approach was the product of long year’s experiences and lessons learned in the implementation of Ram Pump Projects. Aside from lessons learned and experiences, the Foundation also has to adopt some literature of community development.
AIDFI also believes that community development work is a continuous process.
Community OrganizingCommunity Organizing is a continuous and tedious process of community organizing work. The ten (10) basic steps in community organizing (CO MULTIVERSITY) (options depending on the area and community situation) is being used. Community/beneficiaries training workshops are also incorporated. The duration of this process is quo terminus with the number of days of the installation stage/phase. The final result of this process is the formation of community water association which should be registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Implementation/Installation of the project
This is the “hardware” of the project, the installation/construction of a level 2 barangay/community water system. Incorporated in this phase is the transfer of skills from AIDFI’s installation team to the local community technicians through on the job training during the construction phase. The local technicians are being taught all the parts of the ram pump and the how to’s in case the ram pump malfunction and needs repair.
Enterprise and livelihood training
The Agos level 2 water system is only the “triggering point” in developing communities. AIDFI believes that infusing project like water and the active participation of the beneficiaries in managing their organization, many projects will someday be accessed by the organization. The enterprise and livelihood training is being implemented by AIDFI’s partner, L.A.H.A.T. (Lupa, Araw, Hangin, Ako, Tubig) by using the available indigenous materials in the community and develop this into a product (including labeling and packaging). With the assistance of LAHAT, a community store will be set up where the beneficiaries could sell their produce.
Households and community organizations experience many challenges in relation to skills and knowledge, material resources, relationships and trust. When management issue arise in relation to water supply services, external support is needed. Not all instances of conflict, breakdown of trust, problems with “bayanihan” or misunderstanding with the community can be solved by the household or organization on its own. However, it should be carefully cleared and explained to the external group that the management and decision making shall always be in the hand of the organization – thus, coordination and networking/linkaging work by the association to the Local Government Units and its Agencies is imperative.
Monitoring has two important functions. It is essential both of accountability (assuring the partners, donors and user communities that services are appropriate, affordable and in compliance with standards) and for management. The first is about knowledge, the second is about action. When monitoring system explicitly involves the beneficiaries and feed-back it – then performance can be improve, for example, the local community ram pump technicians. AIDFI’s previous experience is that lack or absence of the involvement of the local association in monitoring the system including the ram pump. When monitoring is carried out by households and communities it can further contribute to the achievement of sustainability because attention is mainly focused on the outcome of the system. This also as part of empowering the community and the beneficiaries in the long lasting service of the project.