Use FCAP model to improve parish development model

By Aggrey Jackson Etwop

Lira I In Uganda, in the last 30 years, several poverty eradication projects and programmes have been launched and implemented. There has been the Entandikwa programme, Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP), NUSAF 1, 2, 3, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and recently, the Parish Development Model (PDM).

However, despite all these, Uganda is still one of the poorest countries in the world with a substantial number of its people, living in abject poverty. It has been noted that 41% of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day. The level of poverty has remained persistently high, especially in the Northern, Busoga, and Karamoja regions.

Many actually believe that all the government-initiated poverty alleviation programmes are enriching other people (government technocrats) while accelerating poverty among the intended project beneficiaries.

Launched in 2022, PDM is a government initiative in Uganda aimed at promoting rural development and poverty reduction at the grassroots level.

According to the Ministry of Local Government, the PDM is premised on the model that the Parish Development Committee (PDC) together with common citizens as the end user of social services are better placed to identify and respond to their own needs, priorities, and direct use of resources.

The established PDM is purposely to deepen the decentralization process: improve household incomes; enable inclusive, sustainable, balanced and equitable socio-economic transformation; and increase accountability at local levels.

Currently, many good things have been said about the PDM programme. Media and politicization have made the nation awash that the genie is finally out of the bottle. However, on the ground, there are no substantive case studies across the country that can be showcased as a model that actually works.

Thus, it is difficult to predict with certainty whether PDM will fail or succeed, and there are several challenges and potential reasons why it might face difficulties in Uganda. These include limited resources; capacity and expertise gaps, governance and corruption, socio-cultural factors, sustainability and long-term planning, and connectivity and infrastructure.

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It’s important to note that these challenges are not insurmountable. This unpleasant state of affairs, therefore, calls for the identification of suitable projects that can be showcased to the population in order to give them hope, and inspiration that indeed the PDM project can transform their lives positively.

One of the programmes that the PDM could borrow ideas from is the FCAP project, initiated and implemented by Community Development Centre (CDC), a non-governmental organization based in Arua City, and supporting refugees and host communities.

FCAP is a two-year community mobilization and capacity-building process that establishes a system for development coordination at the community level. FCAP also builds community capacity to engage in development planning and to manage community-level projects. The FCAP is led by a Community Based Facilitator (CBF).

The planning phase of the FCAP provides a model for how communities can create annual community plans outlining community vision, goals, and projects. The phase consists of six and a half months of weekly facilitated meetings. During the partnership step, the community sets expectations about the community planning process, develops a vision, elects leaders, and sets community commitments.

During goal-setting, the community brainstorms and prioritizes a collective goal and identifies a pathway to reach its goal. During proposal development, the community develops an implementation plan and budget, creates a maintenance plan, completes a risk assessment, and drafts bylaws.

The community then receives training and support from a technical advisor who will help revise its proposal to create a strong pathway plan. After this process, the community will receive their grants in their bank accounts.

Currently, there are 20 FCAP communities in Terego district, and each group receives up to USD 8,000 (about UGX 30,000,000). The villages are both from the host and refugee communities implementing these projects.

The key aspect of the FCAP process is sustainability, which lies in the ability of communities to change systems both within the communities and the organizations they partner with.

In sum, the FCAP and PDM share the same vision. The major difference and advantage of FCAP is that it has been adequately tested on the ground, and its outcomes and impact are available for all to see.  The fact is PDM currently lacks role models, yet we could use the FCAP approach, and valuable experience to inspire the citizenry to embrace PDM.

The author is a Resource Mobilization Advisor for World University Services of Canada (WUSC) and a Human Rights Activist. aduku2000@yahoo.com WhatsApp 0782319778

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