Local action plan
A plan built on the results of the community survey, including the needs of the locals along with their plans for their personal future and for their municipality, in the implementation of which the locals are actively involved.
Purpose of the activity
The purpose is to involve self-organizing citizens as partners in working to reach this goal, together with other NGOs, their own local government, professional organizations and business partners.
Conditions of drafting: We need to have the analysed results of the community surveys, interviews and discussions at hand; please refer to their methodology.
local action plan, partnership, empowerment – training, establishment of new institutions within the community, local activities, coordination
- personal: community developer, community cultural organizer, active participation of the partner consortium – representatives of the local government, non-governmental organizations, professional organizations and institutions and the business sector
- material: meeting rooms, computer capacity, projector, flipchart and pens, post-it blocs, note paper and pens, printer, A4 sheets
- financial: room rental fee (if needed)
Applied tools and methods
A local action plan is designed for a longer, 3-5-year, term, and the implementation requires planned and coordinated activities in several areas. The activity programme consists of these planned, mutually reinforcing activities, and may be broken down into smaller units, aka projects.
It is useful to set up a planning matrix to schedule the actions to be taken:
- What is to be done now, what is to be done soon and later?
The table will also include the group of responsible individuals to be appointed here and now whom the community group believes to be competent in the given issue: local government, local citizens, local community organizations, professionals, professional and advocacy bodies, central government, etc.
Template for planning matrix:
|Things to be done||Now||Soon||Later||Person responsible||How?|
The table may have a how? heading, where the manners of implementation are described; e.g. step 1: training, step 2: forming an organization (e.g. a cooperative) etc.
The programme is likely to outline several project ideas based on the results of the applied involvement methods (interviews, community discussions, community surveys), and several of these may relate to the management of the same issue. These may be treated as alternative solutions, which we need to analyse in order to select the one which is most in line with the community’s present capacity (working capacity, expertise, financial resources). The solution(s) deemed good and realistic may then become the subject of a project-planning activity.
Points to consider: When planning a project, one needs to consider the human investment needed for its implementation: community organizations, the need to launch learning and information processes; financial investments; finding business and cooperative forms, grants; and what sorts of professional, consultative, informational and organizational background and forms of community employment are needed, etc.
- In the case of an initial (first) local action, quick results will boost confidence and motivate people to perform further more complex tasks – a quick and simple task may prove a successful start;
- If the planning is done by experienced NGOs and strong organizations together with the local government and the business sector, they may set out to perform considerably larger and more complex activities after a thorough preparation process involving experts and partners.
A number of necessary tasks may only be implemented after proper training. The exploration process itself is a community learning process, whether or not we make the community aware of this from the beginning. People also need to learn to think in local community terms. Most computer-related activities also require training. Finding partners is really effective only when done by properly skilled professionals. Local volunteers also need to learn about democracy, civil society and the functions of the governmental, non-governmental and business sectors. The tasks outlined during the exploration may also require training. The key figures of the local projects learn to write tender applications; future entrepreneurs and founders of small cooperatives attend courses on business and cooperatives, visit successful companies and functioning cooperatives; people seeking to be involved in village tourism will organize language and tourism courses and study trips in the country and abroad, because good examples provide the best source of motivation, etc. Raising funds for individual activities is also partly the task of the community. Another task is to learn to give a quick and efficient summary of the information and activities required for an application, along with making a budget.
These trainings are provided partly by the community developers and community cultural organizers, and partly by the training institutes connected to the community through their organizing activities. After training, the local volunteers may become volunteer community organizers.
The plan may be forwarded beyond the community boundaries to the neighbouring local governments, NGOs, communities and municipalities conducting similar tasks in the sub-region or the region; to the county general assembly; to institutions and organizations, inviting them as partners, to potential sponsors and the media. Inviting and engaging external help is a lobbying activity at the same time – experts need to be involved, grants sought, community jobs created, etc.
It is thus important that the plan should be managed by the newly shaped community organizations. They need to decide on contact persons for all those involved, and to appoint people to discuss the plan, which has previously been sent out in writing, with each partner in person. Remarks and comments made this way may be integrated continuously into the plan.
Establishing new civil organizations – building institutions in local communities
Locals conducting the community exploration, initiators, drafters, interviewers and assessors, etc. form a community on their own, whose activity is communal exploration itself, and to cover the expenses of which grants may be sought. Several other communities may come to life along with this first one during the implementation of the plans, which need to discuss and define their identities, tasks and strategies among themselves, preferably in the form of a residential training course.
The involvement of local talents in acting for the public good may also help to create new communities; e.g. starting a local publication, establishing a museum, giving language classes, etc. We are looking for community solutions everywhere!
Results, expected outcome
- The community’s local action plan is drafted with the involvement of the stakeholders (locals and their organizations), interested professional institutions and experts;
- The action plan is written in partnership and is implemented in the same manner: the content of the programme and its projects as well as the group of people in charge are clarified;
- A coordinated development activity is established with several participants;
- There is an increase in the participants’ commitment, knowledge and involvement in local actions;
- New institutions are established in the local community;
- There is a growth in local publicity;
- Relations are created with the world outside of the community;
- The community raises further funds in order to be able to continue with its plans.
- Varga, A. T. – Vercseg, I.: Közösségfejlesztés. [Community Development] 1998 and 2002, Budapest, Hungarian Institute for Culture. http://www.pafi.hu/_Kozossegi_Adattar/Azadatt.nsf/99b0698cd023d1018525670c0080e328/ec68caea967c3c04c125679f005b84b7?OpenDocument
- Vercseg, I.: Közösségfejlesztő leckék kezdőknek és haladóknak. [Community building for beginners and professionals]. Parola booklets. 2004, Budapest, Hungarian Association for Community Development. http://www.kka.hu/_Kozossegi_Adattar/Azadatt.nsf/0a84037251c6a630c1257075002e65aa/c25665214fdbda8ec1256f1800529729?OpenDocument
This article based on the following document: Community development methodological guide