Doing Development Differently: 7 lessons for Community-Led Development from the Pandemic

By Gunjan Veda (The Movement for Community-Led Development) and Nelly Mecklenburg (Institute for State Effectiveness), July 2021

In November 2020, civil society organizations from India, Liberia, Malawi, Mexico, Uganda, and Zambia among others spent ninety minutes speaking with the World Health Organization and COVAX representatives about equitably accessing vaccines against the COVID-19 virus and ensuring their uptake in their communities. This kind of dialogue with grassroots organizations without consistently stable internet connections let alone budgets to travel internationally would have been unimaginable a year earlier.

Adapting to COVID 19 and making CLD Programming more responsive, resilient and community-led

By Gunjan Veda (The Movement for Community-Led Development) and Nelly Mecklenburg (Institute for State Effectiveness)

This paper builds on a global effort by the Movement for Community-Led Development (The Movement) to collectively consider the challenges to Community-led Development (CLD) programming during COVID-19 and reflect on the adaptations needed to continue this work. Though many of us – NGOs and CLD practitioners – have dealt with restrictions around access, convening, procurement, service delivery and shifting priorities in the face of a multitude of crises, whether natural, human and virus-made, the pandemic-induced lockdowns caught us unprepared. They severely curtailed and, in some cases, completely halted our regular programming. Social mobilization and interpersonal interactions which are key to CLD processes are no longer possible. Collating the learning from our past experiences (Ebola, SARS, tsunami, armed conflict) provides a valuable starting point for adapting our programming. At the same time, the unprecedented magnitude of the current crisis and its impact on our work presents us with a remarkable opportunity to shift more power to our communities and intentionally build crisis response into future CLD programming.