If livelihoods of poor people are to improve, there is a particular problem in the poor linkages between the micro level (community) and meso level (local government and district service providers). Khanya (2001) identified three key governance requirements at micro/meso levels:
- Poor people must be active and involved in managing their own development (claiming their rights and exercising their responsibilities);
- The need for a responsive, active and accessible network of local service providers (community-based, private sector or government);
The first of these requirements implies community involvement in planning and management of local development. This has formed the basis of a DFID-funded actionresearch project covering Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ghana and South Africa, “Action Research on Community-Based Planning”. This paper is based on the work on this action-research project in South Africa, providing the background to the topic and findings after 3.5 years. The main objective of this project was to share experiences and learnings between these countries and to strengthen community based-planning as part of the decentralisation process. Lessons were also gathered through a study tour of India and Bolivia, where forms of community based planning systems have been applied.
- At local government level (lower meso) services need to be facilitated, provided or promoted effectively and responsively, coordinated and held accountable.
- Community level
- Lower level where services are managed, usually local government level