Training for village governance

Educating rural community leaders
Training rural social leaders
The continuous education and training of rural people and the organizing of the rural poor is crucial for effective development. For a strong, effective local government the rural people and their local leaders must know not only about technology and skills for improvement but, more importantly, about village structure, economics, politics and social relations. This enhances local control in development and ensures outside intervention is limited to a facilitator role.

Local governments can be effective instruments of local development. They can be empowered by the formation of rural peoples, associations or organisations. Local associations involved in social and economic development projects can train leaders and provide them with the experience that enables them to perform creatively in local government roles. The type of organisation that is needed to influence local governments for development action depends on various factors such as: National policy; A favourable climate for voluntary action; Leadership that is informed and committed to grassroots; Organisations and local governments.

The Comprehensive Rural Operations Service Society in India, report that they successfully built people's organisations in the villages. The issue-oriented education helped them to evaluate their existing position in the society critically, along with the structural reasons for the same. Their intention has been to raise people's consciousness of their rights to basic services available through government policies and to assist in the effort to secure basic community infrastructure. One of the main strategies is to organize low-income farmers into 'sanghams' (associations) around common activities or social issues. They encourage sangham members to undertake economic activities as a group as well as on an individual basis.

Systematic training of village leaders working with them, involving them in planning and executing plans for the development of their communities has been the approach used by the Kenya Replication Scheme, East Africa. Thus people have a vehicle for participation and involvement in development.

Action for Welfare and Awakening in the Rural Environment, Andhra Pradesh, India, has promoted village associations which have developed a village-based economic system using a revolving loan fund available for any economic venture that is approved by the village association. Organisations like this can have a supportive influence on the functioning of local governments. Hsui Ling Huang from China (Taipei) commented that, as a result of the efforts of the Young Farmers' Career Development Programme, the local government and the farmers, association focus on the people and make loans available at lower interest than a bank. More than 360 farmers, associations have been organized.

The government-sponsored Saemaul Undong (ROK), a movement in which people co-operate in order to construct better and richer villages and, as a consequence, a richer, stronger nation. The movement is designed to encourage the village and energize socio-economic activities based on the spirit of self-help, co-operation and diligence. This organisation helps in integrating spiritual reform, social and economic development and brings government leaders and people into the process of planning and development at different levels.

Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions