Strengthening Village Communities through Seed Funding


Community members constructing a water course in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Photo: UNDP Pakistan.

“The only source of our income is from cultivation and because of the damaged irrigation channel it was hard to live even and fulfill our basic needs. Now that these channels are rehabilitated we would be able again to earn something for our kids and live a dignified life,” said Bakht Mula Jan resident of Village Batal union council Palam, Dir Upper, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

One of the lessons of recent conflicts and crises in terms of their impact on communities is that state edifice alone cannot put up with the challenges of post crisis rehabilitation and revival of normalcy.

Highlights

  • Two dozen Civil Society Organization partners were supported through capacity building initiatives & provided opportunities for submitting projects under four rounds of seed funding.
  • Total contract amount of Seed Funding 1, 2, 3 and 4 initiatives amounted to USD $ 131,253, 190,316, 973,089 & 164,812 respectively.

One of innovations employed by Sustainable Development through Peace Building, Governance and Economic Recovery in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa project was precisely designed to address such situational crises through mobilizing and incentivizing community activism. This was achieved through the notion of “Seed Funding” which was implemented in four sequences and was designed to fund small scale but locally relevant and prioritized initiatives of larger community interest. Seed funding mechanism was designed to build upon the best practices of social mobilization which were ably applied to the post-crisis scenario of Malakand Division under the project. These interventions were essentially designed in the context of peace and social cohesion promotion themes and to go beyond the manifest causes of conflict which were sought to be addressed through community-led localized interventions through seed funding.

The initiative was implemented after detailed assessments regarding local peace-building organizations, development of peace-building criteria and a menu of peace-building initiatives which could all be operatioanalized through local CSOs. The idea was to undertake small and wide-spread interventions which could promote the cause of peace-building and harmony in the area. The mechanism was designed to give voice to feelings and demands of local communities through forging partnerships between selected CSOs and UNDP for innovative interventions with a long term peace dividend.  For this purpose, a rigorous and transparent mechanism for selecting prospective CSO partners was adopted whose capacity was further improved and upgraded for undertaking preferred interventions as per demands of local communities. Amongst other things, these capacity enhancement initiatives specifically targeted project development, monitoring and evaluation, budgeting and communications with a view to equip CSO partners for smooth implementation.

Under the initiative, around two dozen CSO partners were supported through capacity building initiatives and were provided opportunities for submitting projects under four rounds of seed funding.  Total contract amount of Seed Funding 1, 2, 3 and 4 amounted to USD $ 131,253, 190,316, 973,089 and 164,812 respectively. Although the overall quantum of seed funding was somewhat less in terms of proportionate share of other components of the project, this strategic investment has gone a long way towards restoring the confidence of local communities in value of peace and harmonization. Additionally, it has also massively built the capacity of local CSOs for undertaking any innovative initiatives for peace and stability even in the years to come. For this reason, Seed Funding mechanism for promoting community activism and winning local CSO partners for UNDP can be cited as one of the important success story of the project.