CONDITIONS BEFORE DE START OF THE INITIATIVE
In land owners (1970) tolerated the inadequate settlement in highly risky hillsides of people displaced by violence (8.069 children; 20.8% of Commune 10 population), as an opportunity to value their land and sell plots individually o collectively. The Commune 10 was then created, populated by 38.794 inhabitants facing major problems related to illegality, land title deeds, limited access or lack of social services, roads and public spaces, unemployment, insecurity and delinquency.
DEFINITION OF PRIORITIES:
Priorities were established during the agreement processes carried out with the different agents involved (community leaders, youngsters, women in charge of their families, Community Action Committees, local government, GNO) and through participative planning workshops developed with the community during the stage of the consultation.
• Citizen training: To strengthen participative planning processes, applying leading models for management of public financial resources to create control, prioritization, and investment according to a tripartite scheme.
• Building of infrastructure for public services, public space and roads: To achieve urban legality and normality and thus make use of financial resources from public and private sectors, through tripartite schemes of investment and execution.
• Environmental recovery: Focused on the rescue of water sources that make the zone an area of environmental richness (through environmental community organizations and schools.)
FORMULATION OF OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES
Jointly formulated by the Municipal Administration, the NGO, the private sector and with an active community’s participation.
• To make institutional a public policy
Through leadership, planning processes and public investment.
• Community’s agreement schemes to negotiate projects with the private sector and national and international organizations.
To establish dialogues between the municipal administration, the private sector and the legitimate and organized community.
• Institutional strengthen
To provide participation, governance and transparency alternatives for the improvement of living conditions.
• School for leadership in democracy
To train community leaders for a participative planning that allows optimal and transparent investment and can be applied to other vulnerable sectors in Neiva.
• Strengthening the role in the society of women who are the heads of their families.
To support the governmental program ““Hogares Comunitarios de Bienestar” (Community nurseries) strengthening the educative system with a high level of tenderness in violent zones and the role of women in planning and community decision making processes.
MOBILISATION OF RESOURCES
Recognizing the reality and the joint construction of a shared future is the focal point where converge the interests, goals and dreams, in a scheme that comprises everyone’s contributions according to their own knowledge, abilities and resources.
PGU – ALC (UNDP/UN-HABITAT) - Fedevivienda: Anchoring institution. Human resources for technical studies elaboration.
Neiva Municipality: With financial resources for public works; human resources for technical and environmental studies, and contributions to design the Territorial Ruling Plan and the Partial Plan for Neighborhood Improvement.
NGOs: (Social Foundation and HOCOL Foundation) contributed with their human resources for training and organizing the community in participative processes, executing projects for vulnerable populations and with financial resources.
Community: With a participation of more than 40 grassroots organizations: community mothers, entrepreneurs, youngsters, community groups, Local Administrative Committee, Zonal Civic Committee.
International Organization for Migrations: With financial resources for educational and cultural projects for the displaced population
Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF): Governmental institution that provides money and training for the Community nurseries program. Currently acquires goods from the Cooperative system (an enterprise which has improved the nutritional quality of children and created several jobs) established and managed by the community mother organization.
Comprehension by the different participants of the significance of a Social State of Law, the political constitution and the juridical and administrative possibilities allowed an specific stage to initially sign the agreement for Urban Consultation in the Commune 10, and later on to implement the Urban Management Program- Participative Governance for the Integral Improvement of Living Conditions. To act under these principles demanded to overcome some initial obstacles given the lack of experience in this dynamic of inclusive practices, mainly by governmental organizations.
The training strategy and the adoption of the program by the benefited and/or interested population, both in technical topics for advisors and public officers for the successful implementation of the program and in processes of citizen participation for private, social and community participants, allowed the different stages of the program to be defined and included in the Local Development Plan.
To define the conditions (assessment) for the development of the Plan for the Integral Improvement of the Neighborhood (PMIB) allowed the involvement of technical, political and private personnel, as well as of those directly affected.
Construction of a shared vision among the participants of the targeted area (Diagnosis) to achieve the wholeness of the project.
To develop complementary agreement and opinion democratic processes (Technical Formulation) with a political scope and extended to the educative and environmental sectors, according to the special needs and summoning the involved community, guaranteed legitimacy and transparency for the program.
To spread the process of agreement on municipal budget with communities to the remaining nine (9) communes in Neiva has contributed to strengthen the processes of democratic governance.
-Strenghtening of the community’s organization and participation (40 grass roots organizations) and its relationship with the public administration.
- The community organization is well recognized for its ability to speak and establish direct, legitimate and legal negotiations with the public administration and several other organizations (Training for 200 community leaders, 93 community mothers, 300 youngsters, 120 teachers, 4.500 students, 1.025 displaced people)
- The community’s ability to formulate and legitimate, through urban consultation, the Action Plan (agreement meetings and participative budgets ). This allows to secure Human Rights and to improve community’s living conditions through better opportunities in health, education, sports, culture, recreation, and access to public services such as water supply, sanitation, sewer and public roads.
- Public policy and strengthening of the community’s leadership and management. Continuity of the consultation process and investment in the long term fostering the commitment mayors in the long term.
- Continuity of public investment in the long term, strengthening community’s leadership and management.
- Improvement of the level of response ability by the public administration and other social stakeholders to solve the problems of different sectors of the population.
- Identification of the municipality’s Technical Committee. Inclusion of the Commune 10 in the Sector Investment Plans and in the Territorial Regulating Plan, as a priority sector for the Partial Plan for Neighborhood Improvement.
-Citizen organizations become an essential part in problem solution processes and are currently taking part in participative, democratic and transparent planning.
-Identification by the Neiva Municipality of the Urban Management Program as an example to be applied in the communes 8 and 9.
- Strengthening women role and responsibility (1.200 displaced women, heads of their families and minors, benefited) that allowed the to enter planning and decision making processes within the Urban Consultation and Local Planning Committees.
Financial: Guaranteed by the local government interest in allotting financial resources from the municipal budget; by the active participation of non-governmental organizations and the private sector assigning qualified human and technical resources for the completion of the program; and by the community’s commitment to participate and contribute with its managing efforts and the human resources for the projects development.
Social and economical: The community recognizes its identity and is aware of its organizational abilities. It accepts differences and includes every human group. Also, the adoption of neighborhood improvement as a public policy by Neiva’s Mayor Office through a resolution about the Territorial Regulating Plan (Resolution 016/December/2000).
Cultural: The project recognizes, accepts and respects differences, which improves personal relationships between the inhabitants.
Environmental: The inhabitant’s awareness was strengthened in what relates to preservation of water resources, use of natural resources and embellishment of their environment. Road and sewers construction also contributed to improve the environmental and health conditions.
Incorporating the Program as a public policy under the Territorial Regulating Plan (Law 388, 1997) represents a planning instrument that allows a better management and guarantees the investment continuity.
The community’s participation, both in the process of local problems identification and in the agreed and transparent design and formulation of the solutions, represents a contribution to the participative processes in the governmental programs and development plans.
Validation of a model of social building (ONG HOCOL Foundation) pave the way for the growth of the communities with self-managed and sustainable programs, involving the organized community, the private sector and the government.
The design and application of Tools for Participative Planning in public investment and planning allow for the integration of communities, private organizations and the public administration.
Strengthening and legitimating of current social organizations; development of new abilities and skills to take part in long term planning processes; as well as the acknowledgment of the importance of training to achieve a efficient participation for the benefit of the whole community.
For the local government, the learning of a new way to address the theme of neighborhood improvement, bringing together in the decision-making process people in contact with the citizens (public, private, social, community). Of similar importance was the role of training to secure a sense or ownership with the program both for the officers and the citizens.
The ability of the community to organize itself and to negotiate, which leads to a substantial reduction in its dependence on politics as intermediaries before the public administration. This ability allows a better management capacity and legitimates a democratic system in a Social State of Law.
Acknowledgment of a family centered society and of women’s natural skills to be mothers, share with children from the neighborhood nutritional and educative components that replicate to other mothers. This inclusive approach, alternating food preparation, has strengthened the community mother’s role as a way of living that generates income and allows the improvement of living standards, job opportunities and decision making skills for the community’s benefit.
One of the most significant aspects of the process of public consultation is its impact on Neiva’s community, due to the role of leadership and dynamism shown by the community groups in the sector. This impact extended to other areas of the city such as the Communes 8 and 9, each one with more than 30.000 inhabitants and similar social, economic, and communitarian problems.
The work carried out served to them as the basis for a similar process which although unconcluded, help them to be included in the Territorial Regulating Plan as potential beneficiaries of the Partial Plans for Neighborhood Improvement. This has given way to more specific studies.
Another significant achievement was the possibility to show this experience in other stages such as the Seminar on Urban Consultations held in Mexico in 2002 and in Quito, Ecuador, sponsored by United Nations Program for Urban Management. Those presentations helped to share the results of the consultation processes.
The experience was selected by the United Nation’s program to be published as a work paper to facilitate the learning of a successful experience in several countries of the region.
The project was also nationally distinguished during its presentation at the Universidad de Los Andes during the Seminar on Neighborhood Improvement, held in November 2003 and attended by several public entities developing similar processes in different regions of the country.
POLITICAL AND LEGISLACION
This experience is based on the conception of Social State of Law established in Colombia in 1991, especially in those chapters that refer to Human Rights, Fundamental Rights and mechanisms of civic participation.
At the legislative level, specially in those topics related to the design of tools for civic participation in decision making processes, social control, surveillance and monitoring, public rendition of accounts; and in all those laws regarding social groups as children, youngsters, women, displaced people, and vulnerable groups, among others.
From this experience arises the office for community affairs, subsequently established by the Mayor’s Office Social Development Division with the same status of any another dependence. This new category eliminates common expressions due to its former marginal status (Resolution of 1999). Additionally, a new Public Policy (Resolution 004/2003) is defined, with the goal of including the organized community in governmental processes in order to promote a better consideration of the community’s needs, interests and concerns. This approach also promotes the citizen’s responsibility with the city and future generations. These stages where the community can discuss with local authorities and previously mentioned actors, allow for the consolidation of any project that seeks the general benefit, such as the development of the Urban Management Plan.