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Public Health

Briefing Paper

Working with Community Committees


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1. Introduction different project sites, or across


programme sectors. For example
Strong community participation, often
inconsistencies can emerge if some
channelled through beneficiary groups or
activities are carried out by paid (casual)
committees, is the backbone of Oxfams
labourers and others are undertaken by
approach to Public Health programming.
volunteers. Levels and types of
It facilitates community-led project design,
incentives (cash, food, clothes or other
implementation and monitoring, and
goods sometimes given to committee
encourages participation and
members to encourage participation) can
accountability. Working with committees
also vary considerably between projects.
also allows us to work effectively with
large populations and to continue activities The impact of these inconsistencies is
when it is not safe or practical for staff to magnified when varying community
be present in the field. engagement policies between different
NGOs and UN agencies are considered.
The aim of this Briefing Paper is to ensure
Inter-agency discrepancies seriously
awareness amongst management and
damage the relationship between
programme staff of the issues surrounding
communities, local authorities and NGOs,
community committees, and to encourage
and can potentially create security risks for
consistency in the planning, budgeting,
field staff.
implementation and monitoring of
activities with committees and volunteers. The Kenya programme has recognised that
although NGOs have been involved in
An evaluation of water and sanitation
community training and committee
committees in India highlighted
development in the country for decades,
transparency, participation, inclusion and
there was little or no documentation of the
ownership as key committee features
processes followed by different agencies,
associated with project success. Of these,
nor the actual content of training. This
transparency emerged as the single most
made it impossible to know the quality of
important feature of the committees. It
what had been done, and led to
was found that the more community
inconsistencies and overlap between
members who understood the project in
NGOs.
terms of finances, committee functioning
and selection of committee members, the To tackle this, the public health team
more chance of success. (WSP, 2001) undertook an exercise of consultation with
2. Key Considerations
other NGOs and government structures to
determine strategies and materials for
Consistency capacity building of community
An ad hoc or un-coordinated approach to committees. The output is a common
working with committees can lead to NGO approach for working with
damaging inconsistencies between

August 2009
Working with Community Committees

committees and a training framework / female-headed households or the presence


toolkit for use across the sector. of chronically-ill people
Preparation
in the home.
of a standard
Livelihood Legal Issues
It is well understood that income- National legislation covering employee
generating opportunities for beneficiaries rights and employer responsibilities can
are limited. When committee volunteers give considerable rights to volunteers and
dedicate time to public health activities committees. In some countries
this can impact their ability to earn. volunteers are treated as employees in
legal terms if they are given any regular
It is often assumed (or recommended) by
remuneration for their work, even if this is
staff that Oxfam activities are for the
just weekly tea and sugar.
communitys benefit; therefore volunteers
should be compensated for their efforts by Given the numbers of volunteers working
others in their community. However this with Oxfam, and the crucial need for these
ideal solution needs to be balanced against volunteers inputs, legal liabilities need to
the lack of livelihood opportunities; be treated with the highest priority.
delicate community dynamics (ethnically,
Since 2003 the Darfur programme has
politically etc.) and the urgent need to
relied on the work of over 2,000
deliver public health activities to certain
community volunteers to deliver essential
groups (e.g. new arrivals).
public health activities. This committee
The importance of participation needs to engagement has generally been a positive
be emphasised to communities, and from process, well received by communities,
the start of a programme it should be and has delivered impressive results.
clearly understood that there will always
However the Sudanese Labour Act gives
be activities that beneficiaries must take
considerable rights to employees and this
on themselves: this is much easier if there
has implications for community
has been meaningful community input into
volunteers. In particular volunteers are
the programme design.
treated as employees if they are given
A simplistic solution to the livelihood regular remuneration for their work.
issue which is sometimes proposed is to
Since 2006 this has led to a plethora of
include committee volunteers as livelihood
court cases being brought by individuals
project beneficiaries. This risks missing
or groups who have worked with or
the most vulnerable in the community and
volunteered for NGOs in Darfur against
blurs the focus of the volunteers input to
their employer. There have even been
public health activities. It should only be
cases where the provision of fatur
considered if very clear beneficiary /
(communal breakfast) has been interpreted
volunteer criteria are set and agreed with
by the courts as employee remuneration.
the community.
To address this potential risk, the HR team
In Beni (DRC) a process of involving
in Sudan worked closely with programme
livelihood beneficiaries as public health
staff to develop procedures for
volunteers was developed which allowed
remuneration and committee working,
for positive involvement of host
including a standard Memorandum of
communities alongside IDPs. To ensure
Understanding (MoU) that describes levels
effectiveness the team set objective and
of volunteer involvement. Furthermore
transparent vulnerability criteria for
some staff who were being treated as
volunteer selection, such as people from
volunteers, but were effectively doing a
full time job (e.g. water pump attendants),

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Working with Community Committees

were transferred onto Oxfam contracts In some cases it is beneficial to establish


through the standard recruitment process. separate womens committees, to ensure
that the female voice is heard, however
Gender and Vulnerable Groups
this can lead to further marginalisation if
Women are the principal beneficiaries, all key decisions are taken in the separate
managers and users of water. They may mens or leaders committee. Strong
be aware of problems earlier or have a monitoring and feedback mechanisms are
different perspective on how best to crucial for identifying this.
achieve things. It cannot be assumed that
Vulnerable groups in the community, for
the interests of the whole family will be
example older people and the disabled can
optimised if the committee only consists
also be active members of a committee
of men. Yet when committee roles and
even if they are not able to do physical
responsibilities are devised, it is common
work such as operation and maintenance.
for communities to allocate unpaid duties
For example they can play an important
to women, whilst the men are given paid
role in other areas such as finance or
casual work.
registration. If any committee member
A familiar solution to this problem is for does not have a meaningful job they risk
our proposals or logframes to target 50% becoming a token presence.
of committee members to be women.
Sustainability
Whilst equal representation is important, it
is vital to look beyond this basic A common argument against giving
qualitative indicator. Otherwise we might incentives to committee volunteers is that
miss, for example, that 8 women on the they merely encourage involvement when
committee are doing 3 days of unpaid they are being handed-out. Participation
solid waste clean-ups a week, whilst 8 fades when incentives are stopped
men are digging pipelines for $10 a day. (whether because of changes in
implementation strategies, or after the
Differences in committee participation by
NGO exits) because the volunteers do not
gender extend further than activity
understand the real importance of their
segregation; it is important to monitor the
involvement, and have not developed their
degree of influence females have in
own mechanisms to ensure sustainability.
committee decisions. This is something
The argument suggests that effort should
which needs consideration and discussion
be focussed on educating beneficiaries on
with different groups (women, youth, men
the long-term importance of the activity,
etc.) when the committee is established
and on developing community-based
and after a review period.
management committees for example
Experience from around the world water point operation and maintenance
indicates that where women are actively committees who collect fees and do not
involved in decision making the quality of rely on Oxfam incentives.
a project is enhanced: In Somalia - a This is a valid consideration for many of
strongly male-dominated society - one our programmes, and for a proportion of
criteria for Oxfam-supported health our activities (e.g. household-level
committees is that women occupy at least hygiene activities). However, in some
30% of the decision-making positions. acute emergencies we are not aiming for
The 2002 Water Act in Kenya also sustainability; the emergency situation
requires 30% of decision-making posts in itself is unsustainable. Oxfams
Water User Associations (WUAs) to be immediate priority is to ensure that
women. essential public health activities take
place, not whether we can hand-over

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Working with Community Committees

activities to communities in the short- or to ensure that there is no delay when


long-term. This is closely linked to the casual labour is required.
above livelihoods issue; and must be
3. Common Principles
judged on a case-by-case basis, balancing
the opportunities for developing Every Oxfam programme is different; so
sustainable activities which provide we should not necessarily apply identical
communities with long-term benefits, with structures or ways of working to
the reality of the dynamic, acute committees and volunteers in different
emergencies. countries or contexts. However there are
certain principles which should be applied
Motivation
to community committees (or at minimum,
As is to be expected, the individuals and considered) regardless of the situation.
committee groups we work with have
Co-ordination
different motivations for dedicating their
time and effort to community activities. Planning and implementation of work with
committees should be clearly co-ordinated
Possible motivations for involvement can
across the Oxfam programme (e.g. with
include altruism; community spirit; the
livelihoods), and with other NGOs, to
opportunity to improve social standing
avoid over-burdening certain individuals
within the community; the desire to learn;
and to ensure consistency. This should
the importance of clan or tribal
include common agreement on committee
representation; and the expectation to
selection, composition and incentives.
receive financial or gift incentives.
Added value can also be gained from
Whilst our understanding of the range of sharing training and resources (e.g.
personal motivating factors is often community meeting places) between
limited, it is well worth the effort to groups, and from learning lessons on legal
discuss this amongst the team and issues and traditional community
informally with volunteers: understanding volunteering practices from other NGOs.
their motivations will help in the design of
To address problems of inconsistent
a more sustainable, appropriate and
approaches to health workers and WASH
transparent committee structure.
committees during the 2008-09 Zimbabwe
Budget Issues Cholera Epidemic the WASH Cluster
Concerns over budget availability can formed a Technical Working Group on
limit opportunities for sustained Working with WASH Facilitators and
committee involvement in chronic was able to quickly draft and agree a set of
emergencies. guidelines for the Cluster. Whilst these
recommendations had no legal standing,
It is clear that not every Oxfam volunteer they encouraged NGOs to work with
can receive compensation every day. volunteers in a co-ordinated manner, and
However, paying employees for priority had the support of the major WASH
activities (for example pump operators) or donors.
at specific times (e.g. a cholera outbreak)
is an option that can encourage rapid Link to Existing Structures
programme implementation. It is important to understand local practice
The budget implications of this need not of volunteering and community
be excessive, however it is important to organisation before establishing Oxfam
consider the need for this contingency at committees. We should respect and where
the time of preliminary / annual budgeting possible work with established local
structures, suggesting minor adaptations

August 2009
Working with Community Committees

(e.g. to promote gender equality, ethnic The active involvement of women and
diversity) rather than creating new (rival) other vulnerable groups, and fair
groups altogether. representation of different ethnic groups,
should to be promoted and agreed early on
In some situations it might be possible to
in the project.
work with the appropriate government
structures as well as traditional community Committee size: A recent survey of
groups. This can provide more WUAs in Turkana, Kenya reported that
opportunities for the sustainability, but the average size of committee was 15
needs to be carefully managed in conflict members. However several had 20 or
or politically-sensitive locations. more members and one even had 40. It
concluded that there is nothing wrong with
As part of the response to Hurricane Dean
a large number of committee members as
in 2007, the Haiti programme worked
long as everyone knows his/her role and is
successfully with local government
motivated to be involved. If roles are
(Mayors Office, Sections Communales,
unclear and people do not see the purpose
and the Public Health, Water and
or value they are adding then something
Education Departments) this helped
needs to change.
integration of the Oxfam programmes
because the authorities were equally It is good practice to maintain a database
interested in livelihoods and Disaster Risk of community members involved directly
Reduction (DRR) as in public health. in Oxfam work both volunteers in
committees and casual labourers
Selection of Committees
recording details of representation across
A clear and transparent mechanism for villages or camps, the length of time
selecting committee members needs to be volunteers have been working with Oxfam
agreed with the entire community (i.e. not and any trainings they have received etc.
just leadership) at the earliest opportunity. This can documenting and sharing
It is tempting to merely accept a list of capacity building lessons, and could be
names from the community, but if a used as a resource to minimise
group has been openly selected it is more employment law issues.
likely to remain accountable to the wider
beneficiary community. A sample Volunteer Database can be
obtained from the Public Health Team in
Oxfams Toolkit for WUAs in Kenya lists Oxford.
the following important attributes for
committee members: Committee Focus

Use the water source themselves. Often a community committee which has
been established or supported by Oxfam
Have sufficient time to spend involved will be focused on one main public health
in project matters. issue whether water, sanitation or
Trusted by community. hygiene promotion. If this is the case it is
important that this focus is considered
Will remain in village for future years. when committees are established, to
Representative of different ensure that members have the aptitude for
neighbourhoods / water users. the particular issue. If specific
technologies are to be adopted in the
Hard-working.
project (e.g. solar pumping, or school
Active. hygiene) this will have an impact on how
Dependable. the committee needs to function.

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Working with Community Committees

Clarity in Roles and the names of those involved, dates of the


Responsibilities project, commitments of Oxfam and the
committee and details of any materials,
The community should be involved in
incentive or remuneration the committee
devising and agreeing the roles and
will receive.
responsibilities of committee members and
Oxfam in delivering the project. Roles A sample MoU can be obtained from the
and responsibilities should be recorded Public Health Team in Oxford.
and on-going monitoring can assess
performance with the agreement. Note that an MoU is a legal document in
Developing a constitution for the some countries, so the wording should be
committee at an early stage can improve agreed with an Oxfam-approved lawyer
transparency and confidence amongst the before it is signed with the community.
wider community, and should include the Copies should be translated into the local
following aspects (source WUA Toolkit): language and read to any illiterate
committee members for agreement.
1. Clearly defined role of WUA as an
institution (defined by an objective) Incentives
and individual members that comprise It is good practice for each Oxfam project
it (who qualifies for membership). within a defined area (country, state) to
2. Clearly defined office bearers and the use a consistent annual budget for
roles (job descriptions). incentives per community committee
member all the better if this level is
3. Frequency of meeting and decision- agreed with other NGOs. Agreeing a
making (number of people required to budget per volunteer allows for large and
pass decisions) and method of small committees to be treated equally.
decision-making (majority voting or This ensures a consistent approach and
unanimous). encourages the tricky incentives issue to
4. Clearly defined term of office be discussed and agreed at the time of
(frequency of elections). project planning and budgeting.

5. Clearly defined election procedure The budget line can then be allocated to
where members can decide without different actual incentives (t-shirts, food,
duress. party days etc.) according to project plans
and community priorities.
6. Methods of accountability financial
procedures, auditing, book keeping, Representing the community or
sharing information with water users. representing Oxfam? A recent review in
South Sudan revealed that volunteers who
Misunderstandings and discrepancies with had been given t-shirts with Oxfam logos
roles and responsibilities can usually be as an incentive (four years previously) still
tackled before they become major thought that they were Oxfam staff!
problems if there are clear communication This highlights the importance of careful
channels and regular project meetings with selection and design of incentive
committees and project volunteers. materials: logos and graphics should be
One approach to ensuring consistency and focussed primarily on community and
an agreed understanding of roles and project aims; Oxfam and donor publicity is
responsibilities is through the signing of a of secondary importance.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or Following inter-NGO discussion on
Letter of Agreement (LoA) between incentives the Zimbabwe WASH Cluster
Oxfam and the community. This can state agreed that the primary focus of incentives

August 2009
Working with Community Committees

should be on encouraging volunteerism means of rewarding those who take


and community responsibility for responsibilities to improve health in their
community health. The Cluster communities. The adults are taught to
recommended the following as options for read and write for economic and religious
incentives for WASH volunteers purposes but also learn about health issues.
(defined as community members working Through adult education gatherings, adults
on WASH activities for a few hours per learn how diseases are spread and means
week (approximately 1 to 4 hours per of prevention, and draw action plans as
week): part of their homework assignments.
These groups and settings help previously-
Provide t-shirts, hats, raincoats,
illiterate groups overcome their sense of
umbrellas or other promotional
powerlessness by learning about problems
equipment
and issues, and acquiring knowledge on
Provide bicycles or other method of how they can tackle them.
transport (e.g. collection by NGO) to
carry out specific tasks (e.g. trainings). Committee Capacity Building

Provide lunch / refreshments at A thorough programme of training for


specific events. committees and volunteers is essential if
they are to have the necessary capacity to
Provide NFIs (e.g. soap, buckets) to support Oxfam public health activities.
showcase good hygiene practice. Training needs should be developed in
Consider paying school fees or collaboration with the community to
providing school kits for their ensure materials are appropriate and to
children. encourage participation.

Provide literacy classes (or other The format of training sessions must also
community defined need). be carefully planned with the community.
For example centralised workshops
Provide an allowance when on
(bringing together communities from
training away from their home areas
different sites to one location) can
for more than a day.
discourage the participation of women,
Adult Education as an incentive for who find it more difficult to leave their
pastoral community volunteers, Wajir home or village. Centralised workshops
Drought Preparedness Project, Kenya can instead attract people who are more
interested in travel allowances than in
Pastoral communities in Wajir have very
actual learning!
low levels of literacy, the number of adult
education teachers has dwindled in recent To tackle this problem the Kenya
years, and most adult education now programme follows a stepped approach to
happens in towns and small centres so is committee training, spending 1 or 2 hours
not accessible for pastoral communities. in each village and tackling one topic at a
During an Oxfam assessment of pastoral time. Staff then return the following week
needs, community members cited lack of or month to see what has been acted upon
adult education as a priority need and the and why, and decide with the community
opportunity was seized to use the group as whether to proceed to the next step or have
agents of change for hygiene promotion. a refresher on the previous session.
In this approach adult education groups Any committee capacity building plan
were formed in 20 villages for the purpose should consider both technical skills and
of learning and action both for committee management capabilities.
livelihoods and hygiene promotion. It is a

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Working with Community Committees

Committee capacity building is an on- To have a mandate to represent the


going process and should not simply rely village the committee should be
on formal training sessions. Mentoring of democratically elected by village
committee members is important, and members (men and women).
project visits to other committees can
The committee should have clear
encourage sharing of lessons learnt.
statute to define their responsibility,
In some situations it may be useful (or what decisions it can make
required) to support committees to register independently and what decisions
as official bodies, for example, under need referral to the village.
national water legislation. This can also
The committee should only act where
help sustainability and transparency.
it has a clear mandate to do so.
Accountability
Committee should have a fixed term
It is important to ensure that we do not of office after which time they must
regard committees as cheap labour to step down or seek re-election.
undertake Oxfam activities, as a quick way
All financial records and transactions
of achieving our project aims. The
should be open to scrutiny by other
relationship needs to be 2-way with
village members.
Oxfam equally accountable to the
committee listening to their needs as The committee must not forget that it
well as proposing our solutions. serves the wider community and is
obliged to always keep the village
Mistrust, delay and low participation can
aware of project developments and
be avoided by putting in place
ensure a good flow of information.
mechanisms for improved interaction and
feedback on how each party is performing. Avoid Over-Burdening
We can go a long way to improving Projects frequently see the same group of
accountability by ensuring a timely beneficiaries (usually the most educated or
response to community concerns and influential) participating in most of
delivery of commitments to beneficiaries Oxfams work, both paid and un-paid.
within an agreed timescale. Too often This inevitably places a large burden on a
poor performance on simple matters small number of people, and risks
such as turning up to community meetings focussing resources and services to a
on time, or delivering latrine slabs limited dominant group.
immediately after the hole is dug can It is recommended to distribute the
badly sour community relations.
volunteer workload more widely amongst
Accountability can also be promoted by the community to lessen this overall
making any handover of materials or cash burden. This also promotes transparency
to a committee in a public forum perhaps as the beneficiaries are able to clearly see
during a project launch event to ensure the specific work and benefits of different
the whole community have a common volunteer committees, and reduces the loss
understanding of the programme and are to the project when highly-trained
aware of specific resource donations. individuals from the community leave the
area.
Accountability between the committee and
the wider community is also important. One solution for avoiding over-burdening
Oxfams Toolkit for WUAs in Kenya is to promote the rotation of members after
suggests: a certain period, under a strong committee
structure. However this needs careful

August 2009
Working with Community Committees

planning to ensure the original committee Community committees can play an


are not disenfranchised, and that time is important role in participatory monitoring
not wasted continually selecting and and evaluation of programme activities,
training new committee members. A alongside direct Oxfam monitoring
possible solution is to have a set number processes.
of the members stepping down after a
In Kenya committees are able to gauge
specific period.
their own level of development by using a
In Kalma IDP camp, South Darfur, the Committee Scorecard (see over). This
Public Health team noticed a drop off in was developed as a mechanism for
committee participation after 3 years of measuring change something that was
intervention. After discussing the issues very difficult for Oxfam to do directly
with the community it became clear that without community input.
the WATSAN committee volunteers were
Committees can also support the
being over-burdened with the delivery of
monitoring of our health activities: in
all public health activities. It was agreed
South Sudan, committees are involved in
to split the WATSAN volunteers into three
the identification of model households
groups each covering a specific topic
(which have clean compounds, proper use
(water, latrines, solid waste). This reduced
of dish rack, rubbish pit, bathing shelter
the overall burden on individuals, who
and pit latrine with hand washing facility).
were also happier because they could see
The model households are awarded a flag
clear impacts of their work. The wider
to display, and the system has delivered
community also liked the system, as they
impressive results over the past two years.
knew exactly which volunteers in their
local area were involved with different It is important to remember that we should
services, so they knew whom to approach not over-use committees and volunteers
if they had a problem. when we do M&E. A wide spectrum of
the community need to be consulted about
Involve HR
the progress of our work if we are to
Due to the security, legal and programme understand all the issues. For example if
implications of working with large we only hold focus groups with the
numbers of volunteers and casuals, volunteers we know (maybe because they
programme staff should discuss the are easiest to organise!) these groups will
formation of any new committees or give a biased opinion of activities and the
volunteer groups with HR staff. Request participants will have an unrepresentative
HR for specific help in: awareness of hygiene practices.
Understanding of relevant labour laws. Contingency Planning
Developing documented systems for Community committees can play the lead
engaging volunteers and committees. role in ensuring public health programmes
are continued during periods of insecurity
Checking current casual labour and
or remote management. This needs clear
volunteer groups and identifying
forward planning to establish
programme and legal risks.
communication and other logistical
HR should treat issues with committees channels and well as specific
and volunteers with the same rigour, implementation plans ( Oxfam Briefing
accountability and consistency as is Paper on Remote Management / Limited
accorded to internal Oxfam staff salaries Access).
and conditions.
Forward Plan Exit Strategy
Community-based Monitoring

August 2009
Working with Community Committees

The length of time for which we will be Often the most viable option for Oxfam to
actively engaged with a community exit from directly supporting a community
committee needs careful planning at the committee is for linking the organisation
start of any intervention, and must be into wider local governance structures.
discussed and agreed with the community
It is always difficult to avoid the problems
at this stage.
of dependency upon Oxfam support and
This is relevant in all situations whether ensure 100% committee sustainability,
short-term humanitarian responses, however a clear and consistent exit or
development work, or long-term chronic hand-over strategy can help address these
emergencies where we might work with issues.
committees over many years.

Committee Scorecard
This is an example matrix or scorecard developed in Kenya for Water Management
Committees that covers many of the common principles of working with committees and
volunteers. It should be adapted according to the process and function of the committee.
Water Management Committee Scorecard Village: Date:
Criteria Scoring scale 0 Scoring scale 1 Scoring scale 2 Scoring scale 3 Score
1 Community is No legal form of WUA registered with Registered with Legally recognised
registered under the registration Ministry of Culture & MoC&SS and in WSP with Water
2002 Water Act to Social Services process of becoming a Service Board
manage water facilities Water Service Provider
2 Committee meets on a No scheduled meetings, Meets on semi regular Meet regularly, some Meets on a regular
regular basis to discuss may occasionally meet basis although more documentation kept and monthly basis, clear
issues pertaining to the when forced to respond likely to be reactively in sharing with wider agenda and minuted
management of their to a problem response to a problem. community but needs meetings which can be
facilities Issues not well improving viewed by members
documented or shared
with community
3 Committee has a clear No document exists Constitution or bylaws Constitution or bylaws Clear and practical
framework which exist but not practically exist and are used but constitution that
defines its role and used require some actively defines role of
informs decision review/strengthening WUA/ ways of working
making
4 Committee members are Members not clear on Some confusion in Members can explain Written descriptions
clear on their role and roles, poorly motivated roles, partial their roles with more describe the role of each
motivated to fulfil task and not active participation from clarity, involvement person and/ or
members with decisions from most members discussions with WUA
dominated by a few exhibited by attendance members confirm they
individuals & participation at know their role and are
meeting but could be motivated for the job
improved
5 WUA is accountable for No bank account and no Bank account exists but Active bank account Community maintains
income and expenditure records of income and not active. Some with periodic bank account with
expenditures are kept. records kept but transactions. Records approved signatories
No mechanisms to incomplete or kept and generally in and detailed record of
check for fraud discrepancies observed order but analysis is all transactions. Bank
difficult and/or deposits / withdrawals
information not can be reconciled with
available to public cash book, recording all
income & payments,
which is publicly
available for scrutiny.
Accounts can be
inspected/queried by
users or have been
audited
6 Equitable tariff structure No tariff structure in Water tariff exists but Water user charges Water charges collected
is in place, payment place and water is collection is ad hoc (less collected but not against receipts and
made against cash sale generally not paid for than 30% of users accounted for properly. entered into cash books.
receipts, entries made in regularly contribute). No cash sale receipts 75% or more pay for
cash book and Needs of poor not fully issued and no cash book water with agreed
monitored against considered or larger maintained concessions for most

August 2009
Working with Community Committees

demand users/livestock owners vulnerable households


not accountable
7 WUA is fairly elected WUA not fairly elected Flaws in election system Ballot and WUA Secret ballot or system
and truly representative or accountable to users (e.g. queuing or show of members generally that users consider to be
of the interests of the hands) may compromise considered open and fair by
community fairness. Term of office representative but some members. Fixed term
not clearly defined/re- flaws in election/re- with re-elections held
elections held election process accordingly
8 Equitable representation No women represented Women present within At least 30% of WUA Equitable gender
on WUA committee but not are women with one or balance both in
actively involved in more as an office representation on WUA
decision making bearer. Women are and decision making
actively involved in positions
attending meetings and
influence decisions
9 The committee is aware Village relies heavily on Committee aware of its Community is aware of Community is self
of its responsibility to external support to run responsibility towards its responsibilities and is reliant, has developed
become self reliant and its facilities and is doing self reliance moving in the right strong links with Water
is able to articulate its nothing to address direction but requires sector institutions and is
relationship with dependency. Poor links skills to manage its able to communicate
government at district with district level facilities and source and influence district
level stakeholders external support where level decision making
required through regular
channels of
communication
10 Water users express General discontent with, A minority of users Majority of users are 8 out of 10 users in a
satisfaction with the or distrust of, express some concern generally satisfied with random sample express
performance of their committee. Majority are about performance of committee however confidence in the
committee not satisfied with their committee (e.g. sighting they feel there is room accountability and
performance & dont accountability or for improvement belief that WUA is
believe committee dishonest practices) serving their interest
represents their interests
Comments:

Action Plan: What issues need to be addressed in the next 12 months:

4. Further Information Community-level (prepared by the


Zimbabwe Programme).
Appiah, J.O. (1999) Sustainable Water
and Sanitation Committees, Paper Sphere Guidelines (2004) Chapter 1:
presented at 25th WEDC Conference. Common Standard 1: Participation (p. 28-
http://wedc.lboro.ac.uk/conferences/pdfs/2 29) & Chapter 2: Hygiene Promotion
5/069.pdf Standard 1: Guidance Notes 5 Managing
Facilities & 6 Overburdening (p. 62).
IRC (2003) Community Water,
Community Management. Water and Sanitation Program (2001)
Why some village water and sanitation
Oxfam (2008) Draft MoU for Community
committees are better than others: A study
Committees (prepared by the Sudan
of Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh (India).
Programme).
http://www.wsp.org/UserFiles/file/327200
Oxfam (2009) Toolkit for Training Water 744509_saybetter.pdf
Management Committees in Kenya
Guidelines for Practitioners of
(prepared by the Kenya Programme).
Community-Based Worker Systems
Oxfam (2009) Recommendations on (2007). http://www.khanya-aicdd.org
Working with WASH Facilitators at
5. Contributors
The following Oxfam staff provided valuable insight and examples from their field
experience for this briefing paper:

August 2009
Working with Community Committees

Margaret Asewe, Mary Atieno Atayo, Andy Bastable, Nicholas Brooks, St. John Day, Martin
Samson Etolu, Brian McSorley, Zedak Maithya, Evalyne Nyasani, Marion OReilly, Boiketho
Matshalaga, Joyce Poggo, Kitumaini Sezibera, James Smith, Vivien Walden.

August 2009