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Community Outreach and Capacity Building for Infrastructure

Community Outreach and Capacity Building for Infrastructure

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Published by: International Relief and Development on Jun 18, 2012
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An IntegrAted ApproAch

to Infrastructure

Community Outreach and Capacity Building
InternatIonal relIef & Development may 2012

communIty outreAch And

capacIty BuIlDIng
Policy Advisory Capacity Building Partnership Economic Development

vErnmEnt Go

PrivAtE SE Ct

munity om C

risk mitigation & Capacity Building

Engagement mobilization Awareness

opportunity training Assistance


The COCB Model
rebuilding infrastructure in nations emerging from conflict or natural disaster requires capacities beyond those required by typical construction projects. Since 1998, Ird has worked with thousands of communities, contractors, and government bodies to design and manage infrastructure development projects on both small- and very large-scale. Key to our success working in unstable, kinetic, and other difficult environments is use of the service model we developed called community outreach and capacity building (cocB). the cocB approach ensures successful project delivery by addressing the capacity needs of three core players in the infrastructure sector: the government and public sector, the private sector, and beneficiary communities.

IRD has learned that improvement in one sector without gains in the others does not generally lead to long-term growth and improved overall capacity.

use of the cocB model improves government buy-in and community acceptance, reduces risk, and increases local capacity to deliver high-quality projects – and maintain them after they are completed. While the approach is tailored to each project, the overarching goal is to support our clients to manage their infrastructure needs independently for the long term. this capacity must be developed among all three stakeholders. Ird has learned that improvement in one sector without gains in the others does not generally lead to long-term growth and improved overall capacity.

While IRD’s clients and donors specify their infrastructure needs, our community-based approaches support project implementation and simultaneously build capacity for the long term.

Targeted Capacity Building
In Afghanistan, where Ird successfully applied the cocB model on a very large road and bridge construction project in 2008–2011, the engineering and construction industry had seriously atrophied as a result of decades of conflict. donors and contractors working there were challenged by the high-risk environment and the low technical and managerial capacity of local firms. the national government was also challenged to develop, complete, and maintain projects. Ird met these challenges with a variety of tailored tools and training programs: • on-the-job mentoring for design-build contracts to local firms • creation of a construction trade vocational school • development of a mentor-protégé program to train local staff in various job skills • training of subcontractors in construction methodology and contract and financial management • training of technical monitors in quality assurance and field monitoring • design of labor-intensive construction programs for combat-aged men • provision of long-term advisory services and mentoring to government ministries • development of a gIS-based monitoring system to track projects country-wide • development of an internship program for university engineering students As a result of these responses, the capacity of government to budget, plan, and oversee infrastructure construction greatly increased. In addition, dozens of local firms now have the ability to bid on, manage, and complete complex infrastructure construction projects.

Benefits of COCB
A community’s infrastructure is the most visible measure of its stability and economic development. residents and visitors alike can easily gauge the number and condition of schools, healthcare facilities, water systems, power grids, and roads. While Ird’s clients and donors specify their infrastructure needs, our community-based approaches support project implementation and simultaneously build capacity for the long term. projects that benefit from this approach include: • projects in high-risk areas, conflict or post-conflict zones, and remote and rural communities • horizontal projects affecting multiple communities over a long distance, such as roads, railways, pipelines, and power transmission lines • Large-scale projects requiring construction of industrial or support facilities such as mineral extraction, energy development, and government facilities • donor-funded projects that are evaluated by results and long-term impact

Community Engagement
community buy-in and support are sometimes difficult to gain but Ird knows both are essential. Small communities, especially in hard-to-reach or rural areas, may have limited information, suffer from low literacy, or do not communicate regularly with government agencies based in metropolitan areas. Without adequate outreach and engagement, community members may view the disruption created by large construction programs as against their interests, and this loss of goodwill increases risk. once a community accepts the project, the dialogue must continue, addressing new issues as they arise to prevent or mitigate conflict. the continuous outreach also assists in addressing any short-term losses that may occur, such as of land or homes. Well-planned infrastructure development projects address community priorities. Ird helps identify these priorities through outreach, dialogue, and rapid needs assessments. Ird has worked with thousands of communities worldwide to identify and prioritize community development needs. We also employ local staff whenever possible to adapt this community engagement approach to the particular project. Among the many strategies we employ to engage communities are: • outreach and dialogue with community leaders • hiring and training of community project representatives • mobilization of community leaders for decision-making • Inclusion strategies to broaden community ownership and support • conflict mitigation to address issues as they arise • Information sharing and media campaigns

• comprehensive community needs assessments • Implementation of small grants programs to address gender, livelihoods, small infrastructure, and other needs • development of processes for redress of land acquisition • procedures to ensure compliant disbursement of funds1 • rigorous monitoring and evaluation and reporting procedures

1 Successful community development programs comply with host-country government regulations and ensure that beneficiaries receive the maximum benefits. IRD procedures assure compliant disbursement of funds with documented results – a key to success in high-risk environments.

Meeting the Government’s Needs
Building a nationwide transportation or energy network requires access to information as well as expertise in planning and management. While donor funding aids the process, government agencies must also have adequate resources and oversight capacity to maximize the benefits and sustainability of public facilities. to strengthen this capacity, Ird has developed the following processes: • Baseline and gap analysis within government oversight organizations • partnering, mentoring, and shadowing for knowledge transfer • relationship building with stakeholders and associations • policy advisory services, including planning and risk assessment • training in management and specific construction disciplines • training in use of industry-standard software and technology

COCB for Infrastructure
outreach capacity Building

community & stakeholder management

training & Development programs

• outreach & promotion • needs assessment • conflict resolution • ongoing dialogue

• needs-based grants • training & mentoring • economic opportunity • labor-based projects

• community & local government support & inclusion • Investment yields maximum benefits • monitoring & evaluation of impact on community • overall risk reduction

Addressing Private Sector Needs
In many emerging markets, construction contracting firms are newer businesses competing in a rapidly growing market. In Afghanistan, the influx of foreign aid and the transition to country-led development, the need for local firms with strong design and construction capabilities was stronger than ever. While the capacity of these firms is increasing and industry leaders are emerging, many will require continued support from organizations like Ird to succeed. the same is true in many other developing and post-conflict countries. In countries like Kosovo, Jordan, ethiopia, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, Ird has implemented the following strategies to increase private sector capacity: • training programs in collaboration with trade associations and technical facilities • Internships for university students in design, construction, quality assurance, and project controls • development of a construction vocational training center • training classes in design, scheduling, quality assurance, and management • contracting for on-the job experience • provision and training in use of industrystandard software • development of alternate contracting strategies to address risk factors and ensure an achievable scope of work • on-the-job mentoring and partnerships • provision of community outreach and support to ensure successful project completion

In many emerging markets, construction contracting firms are newer businesses competing in a rapidly growing market.

to succeed over the long term, local contractors must complete progressively larger and more complex projects. Ird can facilitate this by advising donors and prime contractors on how to adapt the tender process to the capacity level of the region or country. In addition, we can provide linkages to other donors and stakeholders to fill in gaps, for example, access to banking services, credit, or insurance.

Partnering with IRD
Ird has staff on hand who can visit your project site or office, and we have a large network of strategic partners and in-country relationships to support your project. We also offer professional consulting services in program development and can mobilize staff quickly to any part of the world. our project development services include concept paper development, development of requests for proposals, feasibility studies, and risk analysis. Ird’s other operating units employ a vast array of experts in logistics, agriculture, community stabilization, health, governance, and relief who can assist with your programs as needed. Ird is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, and maintains offices worldwide. for more information on our capacities and services, contact director of program operations gilbert richard (grichard@ird-dc.org).

Ird’s mission is to reduce the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable groups and provide tools and resources needed to increase their self-sufficiency.

InternatIonal relIef & Development | 1621 north Kent Street, 4th fLoor | ArLIngton, VA 22209 t 703.248.0194 | f 703.248.0194 | WWW.Ird.org

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