With our members’ leadership and commitment, community-led development (CLD) continued to gain traction this year and we have seen how differently CLD can be done through diverse local visions. Looking to 2023, we are eager to continue this push to center local voices! Join us in celebrating some of the Movement for Community-led Development’s highlights of 2022.
1. This year saw countless “wins” for MCLD National Associations around the globe.
Associations worked under the Umbrella Strategy, and in the first year of this five-year strategy, we celebrated increasing self-reliance and the promotion of the Farmer’s Network Concept in Liberia, growing momentum in Malawi, a CLD Summit in Mexico, one year of MCLD-Kenya’s MoU with Makueni County, and the official launch of MCLD-Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic. National Associations have deepened their own focuses, including food systems transformation in Benin, youth and gender in Ethiopia, developing partnerships in Nigeria and Zambia, co-creation in DR Congo, and capacity enhancements in Uganda.
2. MCLD has grown as a space for learning and mutual capacity strengthening within our network through four major initiatives
- Domestic Resource Mobilization: Led from Kenya by Change the Game Academy leaders Sharon Olang and Roda Mutiso, this course met six times between August and December in response to a need articulated across MCLD Associations. Our enthusiastic classmates tested their new knowledge between classes, with measurable results. We will continue to support local fundraising efforts in 2023.
- Network Weaving: A course custom-tailored for civil society leaders and community members led by expert network weaver June Holley, who generously donated her time. Again, we applied what we learned between classes, with exciting results. One participant says the course “changed my life!”
- (Un)Learning Labs: A new mutual capacity strengthening series, the (Un)Learning Labs are designed as a space for MCLD members to learn from and with each other. The first lab on Strategic Planning was facilitated by Sothin Zibah and Sophie Kange and saw enthusiastic co-creation and collaborative development of strategic planning tools with a CLD focus. Read Jacob Dietz’s takeaways from MCLD’s new series about Strategic planning and development.
- For the third year, MCLD hosted monthly leadership gatherings, attended by current and aspiring CLD leaders. Our fun and friendly monthly gatherings this year covered a host of topics including turning priorities into strategic action, authentic engagement, co-creation with community partners, and decolonizing knowledge. In 2021, this group led the co-creation of MCLD’s five-year National Association Umbrella Strategy which we launched in 2022. Throughout the year, we rolled it out, including organizing the courses mentioned above.
3. The LIFE project launched in August
LIFE is a collaborative project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) dedicated to creating a better understanding of locally-led development in non-permissive and fragile environments.
4. MCLD has played a multi-faceted role in shaping international policies and growing our relationship with USAID.
- MCLD gathered feedback on USAID’s draft Local Capacity Strengthening Policy in December 2021, and USAID closed the feedback loop in a meeting in October 2022. We learned that they adopted several MCLD member suggestions including changing the policy’s name from capacity development to capacity strengthening.
- We are opening new spaces for dialogue between USAID and CBOs, pushing for language access, and ensuring voices from local civil society shape policies.
- MCLD also co-led a session at the American Evaluation Association conference in New Orleans with USAID about tools for locally-led development.
- In May, MCLD-Kenya Chapter hosted USAID’s delegation led by Ms. Michele Sumilas, Assistant to the Administrator of the Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning (PPL). Several community-based organizations also joined the session, exploring areas for MCLD-Kenya and USAID to collaborate.
- In October, Ann Hendrix-Jenkins was invited to be a keynote speaker for USAID’s Horn of Africa Learning Network event on localizing development.
5. We have published thought pieces and articles on practicing community-led development
- We had two papers accepted for publication by the Knowledge Management for Development Journal. These papers introduce a new framework co-created within the movement called The Community-led Worldview of Systems Change. Then, we offer ten practical recommendations for fostering authentic community-led development.
- John Coonrod and Gunjan Veda published an opinion piece in Devex on USAID’s move toward localization.
- In June the Chicago Council for Global Affairs published a policy brief, “The Case for Inclusive Agricultural Development” including a chapter by John Coonrod on the linkages to gender equity and good local governance in achieving sustainable food systems.
- Ann published a well-received article entitled: Values–not funding–should be driving the ‘localization’ discourse in international development.
6. Increasing demand for and growing accessibility of the Participatory CLD Assessment Tool
The Participatory CLD Assessment Tool is now available in English, French, Spanish, Chichewa and Swahili, with a Bangla version coming soon. MCLD also crafted a blog post about the strength in our two CLD tools, which was published in the USAID Learning Lab in May.
7. MCLD has continued to share our values and principles and advocate for CLD in global fora through participation at countless international events
These included the European Evaluation Society conference, the American Evaluation Association conference, through partners at the Australian Evaluation Society), an UNGA side event on Localization, the Skoll World Forum, the NGO Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Parallel Event, an InterAction panel, the UN HLPF participation and General Assembly events, a World Bank Annual Meeting Panel, a session on decolonizing development at the WILD Forum, the Global Health Landscape Symposium, the USAID Evidence Summit on Impactful Interreligious Action, and sessions on decolonizing monitoring and evaluation for Interaction members (US based INGO forum) and Bond members (UK based INGO forum).
8. We have been actively working to decolonize monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL)
This ongoing work kickstarted through sessions at Interaction, Bond group in the UK, and even thought leadership pieces.
9. We have been advocating for more inclusive and power-neutral ways of coming together.
MCLD has successfully influenced the design of events, panels, and conferences, from ensuring language access to reimagining panels and introducing more collaborative formats with tools like Mural and PollEv. In keeping with our own commitment to remain true to our values, we have introduced language access in our events and calls!
10. We have begun working towards a stronger, more inclusive global structure, and look forward to continuing to co-create this transformation in 2023.
Register here for a Listening Café to bring your voice to this collaborative transition.