Transforming Communities and Staff One Latrine at a Time in Rural Angola
Since 2016, Episcopal Relief & Development and the Igreja Evangélica Anglicana em Angola have been implementing Maza yi Moyo, a four-year community-led and managed project to improve access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices in Songo Municipality, Uige Province. Officially, the project seeks to strengthen community-led response and sustainable management of water and sanitation systems in rural areas. Unofficially, the project also seeks to transform our own project team’s approach to development, from a practice of quick-fix service delivery to a new focus on local community capacity building and leadership development for sustainable change.
The nature of the project’s community-led approach encouraged the team to create a culture of collaborating, learning and adapting (CLA) right from the start of the project, using resources from the Learning Lab website. The project started by focusing on internal collaboration to build trust and respect within the team and gradually incorporated a continuous learning and improvement process and strategies for external collaboration. By the second year, the team added tools for scenario planning, as well as pause and reflect.
One noticeable result of adopting the CLA approach is the team’s flexibility in their implementation approach. They dedicate time to think over the implications of how they have done something and experiment with adapting their approach based on each community’s individual path and progress. Furthermore, the team has itself undergone a total transformation. They now demonstrate their new role as facilitators, attributing to community members the dignity and collective capacity for lasting change.