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Work with communities & civil society

Many studies have concluded that, in general, civil society in Angola, and specifically in urban Luanda, has a low capacity for collective action. Social relations in the urban areas do not have great potential for spontaneous collective action. In addition to that, the lack of a culture engagement between state institutions and the communities has over time has undermined local initiatives by not responding seriously to petitions or even establish democratic spaces for community participation and involvement in decision making processes that affect their future.

Any thrust towards participatory democracy and community led development effort should focus on ensuring that government programs have a positive and sustainable impact on intended beneficiaries by facilitating the formation of the institutional mechanisms for constructive dialogue and participatory planning. However both dialogue and planning should consider and enable discussions focused on achieving a vision and interest of urban poor rather than simply focusing on problems and solutions without the fulfilment of reciprocal responsibilities.

Local area associations, NGO consortia, water committees, youth groups, parent committees (crèches) and others that provide spaces for inclusive representation and planning from the bottom-up. These feed into planning processes at Comuna and Municipal levels and demand the rapid resolution of problems such as breaks in the supply of water to standpipes and electricity failures.


LUPP has facilitated a process of forming area development organisations (Organizacao para o Desenvolvimento das Areas - ODAs) to develop inclusive local development planning as a means to develop a shared vision and enhance active citizenship. The ODAs focus on the very local level planning that produces a myriad of atomised plans of territorial areas of different sizes and not necessarily equivalent to the state political and administrative delimitations. The ODAs in turn come together at the communal level to negotiate common problems and possible solutions that affect more than one area as well as to define the strategies to engage the local government and service providers. LUPP has actively laid the groundwork to enable an effective engagement between local government and civil society.

The overall objective of the formation of ODAs is to promote community led development through active citizenship and a responsive local governance. The ODA is both a methodology or process as well as an end in the creation of a grassroots organisation that provides individuals, including the less privileged in communities, with opportunities to participate in society, in work and learning, as well as build stronger communities by:

• Linking the implementation of development initiatives at local level with the local government planning cycle.
• Institutionlaising processes through which the urban poor will begin to present their vision of urban development in a way that needs to be responded to.
• Linking the community structures to the broader question of good governance in order to assume a greater role in demanding transparency and accountability of public resources.

So far, 58 ODAs have been formed in the 5 out of 6 communes of Kilamba Kiaxi, which ensures that 80% of the municipality have local development plans. The local development plans reflect an integrated analysis of problems, a summary description of priority projects and land allocation for the future. They also present a strategy to realise the plan which constitutes the statement of the vision of the ODAs which is protected by an elected body of 5-10 members.

5 federations of ODAs have been formed at communal level. The communal federation of ODAs institutionalise community development visioning and formal representation of residents voices and interests. The communal federations of ODAs organise thematic forums to share information, plan and consult local stakeholders on specific themes. There have been 4 thematic forums which have produced action plans for water and electricity provision in 2 communes, road and access improvement in another commune. The federation of ODAs at communal level are governed with bylaws that enable them to select members to sit in participatory management institutions and engagement spaces at municipal level.


At each of the water points built by LUPP in Sambizanga and Cazenga, a Water Committee has been established. This is elected by the users of each water point with a mandate of one year. The Water Committees are composed of two people, and they ensure the operation of the water point and the opening and closing at the agreed hours. They register the quantity of water provided by the water point, and they collect and register the payment of the users. They organise monthly meetings with the users of each water point.

Five Associations or Federations of Water Committees (ACAs) or were established, elected by the Water Committees and the residents of each area, also with a mandate of one year. Creation of the Federations was a way of helping the Water Committees to work together and as a way of linking the Water Committees with local administration and EPAL-EP. The Federations collect from the Water Committees the funds collected from the users and make the payments to the local administrations and to EPAL-EP, help them with their financial management, and help in their ongoing training in organising the maintenance and repair of water points.


In Hoje ya Henda (HyH) Commune, the Alliance of Hoji ya Henda has formed, which is a broad civil society alliance which now comprises 70% of all CBOs and NGOs in this commune. They have gone through a participatory process with their members to debate and develop their own strategic plan, to achieve greater effectiveness (as a network organization), greater diversification of funding sources, and greater sustainability. The HyH Alliance has used its capacity and legitimacy to work on various community projects, housed and managed an data/information system on basic services in HyH, advocate on community issues (such as improved service provision – e.g. better policing to improve local security) and influence local policies and practices on behalf of their members and civil society more generally, using participatory spaces like the HyH Communal Forum and communication tools like the community bulletin Ecos de Henda and community radio programmes. The HyH Alliance also encourages greater participation of women’s and youth groups and has been instrumental in setting up and strengthening related sub-networks (such as the Association of Youth Groups and the Forum of Religious Women).

Strengthening CSOs in HyH Commune
 Has linked up 70% of all CBOs/ NGOs to form a broad civil society network
 Has strengthened engagement among CSOs and CSO sub-networks -- e.g. youth groups and women groups (e.g. Forum of Religious Women) -- at local level through regular meetings
APDCH advocacy and capacity development
 APDCH is recognized as a legitimate and representative CSO in HyH Commune and beyond
 APDCH has used its legitimacy and standing for local policy influencing – e.g. APDCH intervened with the Vice President of the “Ordem dos Medicos” (Dr José Nando Teofile) in an attempt to reduce ‘informal taxes’ (gasosas) at health centers
 Developed its own statute and in the process of being formally registered as a legal entity
 Developed its own strategic plan (for the period 2006-2008) in a participatory fashion (with the involvement of its members) to achieve greater effectiveness (as a network organization), diversification of funding sources, and sustainability (financially and otherwise) -- which had caught the interest of some donors
Improved information and knowledge about HyH Commune and civil society advocacy through improved information dissemination
 Has facilitated the production and dissemination of a community bulletin (Ecos de Henda)
 Ecos de Henda has been used by APDCH (civil society) to advocate on community issues and policies and to address community problems
Work with the local community (community projects)
 Identified vulnerable children (not registered, no access to education, etc) in HyH Commune and are organizing the registration of these children, with support from MINARS and INAC (National Institute for the Support of the Child) as well as UNICEF
 Worked with UNICEF on informal schooling of children without economic access to the formal school system and assisted in the provision of school material to such children
 Carried out a survey of the health and educational situation in HyH Commune in 2004 and updated that survey in 2005, with support from UNICEF and SCUK
 Mobilized 120 (out of 1,380) local religious leaders to talk to their congregations about HIV/SIDA
Work with the local authorities and service providers
 Has collaborated with the Communal Residents Committee to assess their institutional capacities at lower levels (resident committees at the levels of Sectors, Neighbourhoods, and Streets) and articulate plans for (on-the-job) capacity building of these lower-level residence committee structures
 Serving as effective civil society interlocutor for the local authorities (HyH) and service providers (EPAL and EDEL)
Promoting civil society networking and inputs on a wider scale (beyond HyH) toward a broader civil society movement against poverty
 Facilitating the extension of their work of mobilizing and capacitating CSOs from HyH Commune to the other communes of Cazenga Municipality (Tala Hadi and Cazenga Popular)
 Linking up with civil society networks in other municipalities (viz. LOSCNK – Liga das Organizações da Sociedade Civil de Ngola Kiluanji, Sambizanga; and ODA Federations in Kilamba Kiaxi Municipality) in the broader movement against poverty
 Promoting the adoption/ replication of their CBO/NGO Association model in other provinces (viz. Huambo, Bié)
 Facilitating organized civil society engagement in national debates (Decentralization, PRSP, National Urban Forum)

Outcomes and impacts of APDCH’s work:
 Civil society more organized and speaking with a louder, clearer voice
 Culture of dialogue within civil society (as well as between civil society and the local authorities and service providers)
 Accountability of local authorities and service providers to civil society, for the first time
 Improved service delivery – e.g. i) water supply was restored by EPAL in 3 days after ACAs complained about lack of water at the standposts; and ii) at the request of APDCH, EPAL and EDEL presented plans for water and electricity service provision in HyH Commune
 Improved community security – e.g. i) the police agreed to increase policing at taxi stands, which led to a reduction in robberies at such places; and ii) an NGO recovered 10 stolen computers with the help of the police
 Improved community safety – e.g. i) case of a high-voltage cable presenting a safety risk to some local residents (Sector 11 of HyH Commune): after the problem was brought to the attention of and published in Ecos de Henda, the problem was addressed by the local authorities/ service provider
 Idea of establishing a middle school (instituto médio) in HyH Commune – this idea had been talked about but never been actively pursued; an article in Ecos de Henda about the issue has stimulated active debate and increased the likelihood of such a school being built
 Mobilized the local population around a community strategy of precautionary/ preventive measures against Cholera, with the involvement of the local Residents Committee – viz. they organized a community meeting on 06 May 2006 to talk about the impact of measures taken

Work with service providers - EPAL

Development Workshop´s partnership with EPAL, the Luanda Provincial Water Company, is a key example of LUPP´s experience of working with service providers. Development Workshop´s partnership with EPAL has built up progressively since 1992 with the aim of building EPAL’s management and technical capacity to build community standposts and community-based management systems which could be scaled up and replicated throughout Luanda.

The Community Management Model for Water Supply has been developed by LUPP as a way of overcoming the difficulties faced by Water Companies and Local Administrations in maintaining and managing a water-supply system in densely populated peri-urban areas. The users of the service are involved in the management and maintenance of the service, through elected community-based organisations. The consumers of the service are the people who have the most incentive to ensure that the service is well managed and maintained. The model provides them with means to ensure that the service continues, by giving them responsibilities at the local level and providing linkages with other actors, namely the Local Administrations and the Water Company (Empresa Provincial de Aguas de Luanda, EPAL-EP). The model also promotes the development of local level collective action for the resolution of community problems.

Community Management is a way of providing sustainable services that builds cooperation between various actors, both official service providers and community organisations representing the users of the service. Both types of organisation share a common goal, namely the improvement of a basic service that has important implications for health and poverty. The Community Management Model starts with the identification of common interests and capabilities of the various partners. Appropriate technologies are developed in line with these interests and capabilities. All the partners, and especially those at the community level, are consulted at key stages of the developmental process. Building the capabilities of the various partners is the key to the success. The model leaves communities enough space to adapt the management system to their own needs and external actors should facilitate the changes and not be in charge of the processes.

The “partnership pentagon” conceptual model was developed as part of the community management model for water. In Luanda, water supply involves the participation of four key actors: the users, the community groups, the water company EPAL-EP and the Local Administrations. These four actors were brought together, facilitated by LUPP, to work together with the common aim of improving water supply. Within this “partnership pentagon”, a system of financial management was developed. Users pay the Water Committees for the water that consume, and have the right to hold the Water Committees accountable through monthly meetings and annual elections. The Water Committees, supported by the Federations of Water Committees, ensure the management and maintenances of the fountains, are accountable to the users. The water company pumps the water from the river and treats it and distributes it through the main pipe network. The Local Administrations are involved to resolve disputes and to provide official support o the community organisations. Each of the parties in the “partnership pentagon” is accountable to the others. All actors at the community operational level are periodically elected. Rules were developed to define responsibilities and accountability.

The Partnership Pentagon Model demonstrates the main actors of the Community Management Model for Water Supply, their role and the type of relationship that exists between them.

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