Community management involves handing over the O&M of the facility to members of the community. Before doing this, it’s necessary to think of how the management will be structured, where the money for operations will come from, what protocols to put in place, and how operations will be monitored. Often, these decisions are made based on the specific context of the community.
For Sammaan, the need to create a more formal and systematic version of community management arose from the fact that the project was being implemented across a large number of facilities in two cities. Our research into existing community management models revealed that their structure was often defined by context specific factors (ex. existence of strong self-help or other women’s groups), with few written protocols or resources available to define standards for operations. While this was effective for their projects, we needed to define a more structured model to help streamline implementation and monitoring across all sites, and connect facilities with external supports.
Even if you are thinking of setting up community management for one facility, our experience is that making community management more systematic has a number of benefits. Some of these are outlined below:
- Enhanced long-term sustainability of operations
- Smoother process of creating linkages between facilities and with government support systems
- Easier tracking of whether minimum standards are being met, and if sufficient handholding is being provided
- Deeper understanding by community managers and staff of the importance of the work and the need to take it seriously.