RAMP-UP-West Community engagement sessions gave ordinary people a voice and municipal officials some idea of what their planning priorities should be
When university student Mohammad Ashraf tunes in to the TV program Shahr-o-Shahrwand, it is no ordinary show he is watching. The weekly program is about Herat municipality and it discusses some of the services available to the community. He watches to see if authorities will fund some of the projects and services Distric 9 residents want and need. The program is a follow-up to a new series of community ‘needs identification’ meetings, conducted by Herat municipality with assistance from USAID’s RAMP UP West project. These meetings are a first for the area. Mr. Ashraf says, “It was the first time the municipality asked residents about the projects needed in their neighborhoods.” A total of 71 community meetings were held across Herat, Farah and Chaghcharan and Qala-e-Naw. Nearly 6,000 men and women participated.
During the sessions, the community helped develop a Service Delivery Improvement Plan, or a wish list of projects and services. Ultimately, the sessions helped ordinary people design their municipality’s budget by determining which projects and services to prioritize and fund. Through this process, ordinary people are heard and they are empowered to monitor the promises made by local officials. A member of the Chaghcharan Budget Commission said the “community meetings provided the chance for citizens to directly communicate their needs to municipal officials and make sure their needs would be reflected in the development plan of the municipality.”
Local Government and Community - Closing the Gap