Community contracting is a process whereby institutions or the NGOs purchase or undertake projects on behalf of the community. Community contracting takes a participative approach in the conducting of projects in the community.
That is, the community is involved in the idea generation, planning process, implementation stage and the maintenance stage of the project. Community contracting aims at improving the quality of services provided and empowering the community members.
Contracting of the community with the NGOs so far has been successful. NGOs focus is on a given location unlike the government, which has to focus on the country as a whole. Therefore, the NGOs efforts move towards developing the infrastructure of a given area.
This is beneficial as it makes the performance evaluation of the contractors much easier. It also ensures the creation of accountability among the different stakeholders. That is, the chief is aware of the amount of money disbursed to the NGOs for the project.
He can assess how far the project is further along and determine the amount of funds used. This creates transparency within the NGO and reduces the corruption level of the management. The community is in charge of managing the finances (De Silva, 12).
NGOs do a lot of survey in the area. The society members provide the labor during the survey and from this survey; they get an opportunity to raise the issues that they would like the NGO to address. The survey gives the community member a say in the development of the community and they feel part of the NGO hence do not provide any resistance to change.
The NGOs trains the society on leadership skills and management skills. It is cheaper when the locals provide the labor and the society trusts the contractors more when their members are part of the organization.
Community ownership of the projects also creates sustainability of the projects. Involvement of the community members in the decision making process results to extensive solution development. The different members of the public have knowledge in various fields. When all that information is put together a concrete and effective solution will be developed (De Silva, 4).
Even though the community contracting has so many successes, it has failed in certain aspects. It is unreasonable to allocate tasks to groups that do not have prior experience on a particular field. This results to poor judgment on what needs to be done and poor implementation of the project.
As a result, there is an increase in wastage resource. Secondly, community contracting is community based and cannot be used to implement change on a nationwide basis as a result this pulls back development in that particular community.
In reality community, contracting is not sustainable because of the many conflicts that arise between the NGOs and the community. The NGOs and the donors want to do what they think is good for the community but the committee differs with them. This results to conflict and disagreements.
Thirdly, the NGOs rather than using the locals in providing labor they outsource. This creates a disharmony with the locals. This is especially true in countries where the services of NGOs are required most. In these countries, unemployment is quite rampant and people jostle for positions. When an opportunity presents itself for unemployment, especially one offered by a nongovernmental organization, many people want to be hired.
Donors who use community contracting does very little monitoring. The impact is that there is perceived lack of accountability on the part of the employees who win these contracts. The benefit to the community may be big, but the failures outweigh the benefits.
Communities perceive the contractors as interested in money only and without their interest at heart. Mismanagement is quite rampant and embezzling funds may be the biggest reason for failure of community contracting (De Silva, 23).
Community contracting has had a positive impact on the community. The contracts have empowered the community as a whole. The members who attend the workshops organized by the NGO learn many skills and they become more assertive and hardworking. The contracts have enabled the community members to think broad and become innovative.
They can look at a situation and determine the needs of the society and from then onwards they come up with community-based projects to be undertaken.
The contracts have also lead to the creation of a better working environment for environs through the development of infrastructure therefore enabling the community members to engage in income generating ventures, which will support them and enable them to maintain their standard of living.
Participation of the community member in the subprojects created a sense of ownership among the members thus creating sustainability of the project even in later years. This is quite a positive move in the right direction. It creates some form of ownership and acceptance. This is especially true when the whole process is open and accountable and recognizes merit.
De Silva, Samantha. Community-Based Contracting: A Review of Stakeholder Experience. Web. https://www.wsp.org/ January 2000.