Signs of success
Our research measured the success of this pilot in five key areas: transparency, citizen empowerment, inclusion, government responsiveness and power dynamics. Across all five areas, we found that the church empowered communities to do effective advocacy, making their efforts more successful and helping them to get the vital services they needed.
The church is a good example of a transparent organisation.
It serves as a model for what people can expect from transparent procedures and processes. Once communities understand the importance of transparency, through advocacy training, they are more likely to ask government for information on budgets, for example.
The church promotes a vision that change is possible.
Once the community are inspired and unite around this vision, theirs is a powerful collective voice. Their advocacy is stronger and has greater legitimacy.
The church promotes inclusion and speaking up for the most vulnerable groups in society, including the elderly, those with disabilities and people living with HIV.
Communities involved in advocacy are now taking practical steps to involve and empower marginalised members.
The church helps improve relationships between communities and decision-makers.
It also equips communities to advocate more strategically. This encourages quicker, more positive responses from decision-makers and greater mutual respect between the two groups.
As relationships with decision-makers improve, there is a clear shift in power dynamics.
Before, communities felt they were on the receiving end of whatever programmes the government chose to roll out, and however the government chose to spend its development budget. Now, by working together as a united group, they are in a more equal partnership with government and have a greater say on the issues that matter to them.
Tearfund now plans to work with PAG and other church partners around the world to scale up the CCM advocacy approach, continuing to bridge the gap between communities and their governments. We will encourage different communities to pool their advocacy efforts for greater clout and recognition from their governments, to see vital services provided and communities transformed on a bigger scale.
Full and summary versions of the Bridging the gap research report can be found here.