Highlights of 2020: The Pandemic is a Portal

Raj Kumar of DEVEX summarized the year 2020, saying that while the COVID-19 pandemic had set back development progress by perhaps a decade, it had accelerated the transformation of development by a decade.

The Movement for Community-led Development (MCLD) witnessed this first hand. As outside “experts” were pulled out of villages and towns around the world, community leaders stepped forward to protect their neighbors. Many of them turned to MCLD for access to information, best practices and collective voice with their governments. 

Here are ten key achievements of MCLD in what was otherwise a “very bad terrible horrible” year. Also click to see our 2020 National Chapter Report!

  1. WHO Executive Board: Providentially, before we’d ever heard of COVID-19, we arranged to participate in the annual Executive Board meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO), meeting with CLD champions and publishing our own analysis of the importance of CLD in achieving Universal Health Care.
  2. COVID-19 Resources: Immediately after the March lock-down, MCLD reworked its website to provide resources, and in April began holding monthly Zoom calls with more participants than we’d ever had before – including expert guest speakers from the World Health Organization.
  3. New Chapters: In 2020, local civil society groups launched MCLD-Liberia and the Nigeria Community-led Development Organization (CLDO). In addition, we welcomed participation from Venezuela, Guinea, Sierra Leone and the DRC.
  4. Policy Influence: Our national chapters provided requested inputs into National Development Strategies in Benin and Uganda, as well as influencing national COVID-19 response policies in Benin, Uganda and Zambia.
  5. Collaborative Research: We completed the first phase of our collaborative study on lessons learned from 173 CLD programs across 65 countries – developing two new tools  – the CLD Assessment Tool and the Quality Appraisal Tool for CLD Evaluations. 
  6. Accountability: Following our participation in 2019 with the World Bank Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA), we welcomed new accountability-focused members during 2020 and held two global calls on how local communities can hold multilateral development banks to account.
  7. UN Advocacy: Despite the pandemic – and in a year that marked the launch of a Decade of Action for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals – our Movement organized events at the Commission on Social Development, the Commission on the Status of Women, the High-level Political Forum and the UN General Assembly.
  8. More Outreach: We launched our new #ShiftThePower monthly newsletter to share what we are learning with more than 5,000 practitioners and policy makers each month.
  9. More Members: Our global membership expanded to 72 INGOs and 1500+ local CSOs through our 15 National Chapters .
  10. Humanitarian-Development Nexus: The COVID-19 pandemic  has shown us how the lines between humanitarian response and development should be dissolved. Thanks to the volunteer support of Dr. Cyrel San Gabriel, this working group participated in the UN global  humanitarian policy forum, and continues to actively engage with international and local practitioners in humanitarian and development work.