Community Visioning as an Effective Approach to Localization
The Zimbabwe Mission has been a true champion of community engagement to encourage greater local community accountability and leadership over development goals as part of USAID/Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance’s Resilience Food Security Activities (RFSAs). USAID/Zimbabwe has been strengthening RFSA implementing partners’ (IPs) ability to align program implementation with community goals and aspirations through a community visioning approach – a process that seeks to give communities an opportunity to discuss their capacity, existing resources, and aspirations, through co-creation with IPs to improve long-term sustainability of development objectives.
The Southern Africa Community Visioning Learning Summit in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, brought together six RFSAs from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Madagascar, and Mozambique to highlight opportunities and challenges in community visioning, while recognizing that many partners still seek buy-in from communities for externally conceived, planned, and budgeted interventions. BHA staff and IPs learned through workshop and field visit activities the value of community ownership in planning their own future, community co-creation of their own community development and implementation plans to better reach development results, and holding venues to share, discuss, and learn with the aim of improving community visioning approaches. Key factors that helped shape the event included the Zimbabwe Mission’s pioneering work to prioritize community visioning innovations, established relationships with and buy-in from multiple stakeholders, and alignment with USAID’s Localization Strategy and other Agency community engagement frameworks.
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