Why We Do This Work
Historically, solutions to poverty in Africa have taken grassroots communities as passive recipients of aid. Governments, both local and central, have been prescriptive in their development initiatives, which in many cases do not resonate with the interests, aspirations and challenges that people on the ground face.
In this context, communities have not seen the fight against poverty as their own struggle, which can be fought on their own with support from various stakeholders. Rather, they have placed such responsibilities in the hands of their governments and development organisations.
However, for sustainable development to materialise, they need to be the drivers of the process. In this way, real change is effected and is visible in the lives of the people.
It is therefore imperative to build the capacity and confidence of grassroots communities so that they can play a critical role in meaningful development. Communities need to properly organise themselves for a common cause and purpose; to identify their needs and pursue their critical path to their desired development.
The work of CCODE is that of support and capacitation of communities to effectively engage in dialogue in the pursuit of their needs. The underlying philosophy is to empower communities to take charge of change and be drivers of their community processes. This presents a shift in paradigm, from viewing communities as mere recipients, beneficiaries and onlookers, to players, partners and participants in development.
Communities need to be organised to be able to engage with resource-wielding authorities and demand the change they want to see and be a part of. This calls for a cohesive force that will always glue the people together in their quest to improve their present lives and those of the posterity.
However, communities cannot do this by themselves nor can NGOs too take this huge task single-handedly. Thus CCODE works in alliance with the Federation of the Rural and Urban Poor (previously known as Malawi’s Homeless People’s Federation), an organised social movement of the poor that is networked through savings groups across Malawi and plays a critical role in community mobilisation, social awareness and critical engagement of resource wielding authorities. It is by this alignment of work that lets communities do what they know best.