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Empowerment & Local Action (ELA)

Building the capacity of poor local communities in rural areas


Countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
Donors: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MinBuza), The Netherlands; Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Germany
Partners: Agency Support Development Process Nau, AWHHE, BIOM, Central Asian Alliance for Water & Public Fund Mehr-Shavkat, Georgian Environmental and Biological Monitoring Association, Foundation Caucasus Environment, Ecos NGO, ECOTOX, Habitat for Humanity, Katachel e.V., Mehriban, Paros, Public Association Mountain Club Jabagly-Manas, RDCA, Regional Public Ecological Organization “Vozrojdenye” (“Revival”) of Tatarbunary, Rural Women’s NGO “Alga”, SEMA, Social Union Agerkech, Society Development Centre of Akhaltsikhe, The Greens Movement of Georgia/FoE, “ULGU”, UNISON, WISDOM, WPO “SAFO”
Issues: Energy & Climate, Water & Sanitation
Duration: 01/2008 - 12/2010

Here on this part of the website, you will find general information on the WECF MFS program "Empowerment and Local Action". MFS stands for Mede Financiering Stelsel, a development aid program by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Buitenlandse Zaken.

WECF developed for partners and trainers a special meeting room on the internet, where you can be updated on all information concerning the ELA-program

Empowerment and Local Action

In 2008, WECF launched the Empowerment and Local Action (ELA) Program with 29 partners from most EECCA countries and Afghanistan. The ELA program is designed to build the capacity of poor local communities in rural areas, citizens’ organisations, private sector, science and authorities to work in partnerships to contribute to a sustainable rural development, which leads to reduction of poverty in rural areas and increase gender equity.

The four key thematic areas of the ELA program are drinking water supply, sanitation (e.g. urine diverting dry toilets), sustainable agriculture, and energy saving and renewable energies, which are being integrated to form the basic thematic components of a sustainable rural development. Demonstration centers make the knowledge and practical experience available to the interested public. Through trainings, knowledge exchange, and in cooperation with Universities and partner organizations, WECF builds the capacity of rural communities as well as of local NGOs, private sector and authorities to understand, apply, and propagate technologies in the four thematic areas, enhancing the capacity available in the WECF network at the same time. Together, we research, test, improve, and demonstrate affordable solutions best suited to address local needs and solve or mitigate local problems. Communities and NGOs are empowered to act on their local levels towards a sustainable future for themselves. Members of the WECF network make the voices of the local communities heard, and lobby politicians on the regional, national, and international level to include the integrated approaches in their policies.

The ELA program integrates several projects: 29 partners implement their own demonstration projects on a yearly basis, funded by the MFS program of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while projects with several partners funded by the German Ministry for the Environment transfer knowledge in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and demonstrate and evaluate Dry Urine Diverting Toilets in Kyrgyzstan.

Goals of the ELA Program

Our goals are to work on capacity building in poor local communities in rural areas along with citizens’ organisations, the private sector, scientific institutes and local and national authorities and to work in partnerships with each other, thereby contributing to a sustainable implementation of Millenium Development Goals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7.

The following countries will participate in the program:

Around 30 partner organisations from the WECF network take part in ELA. ELA hast started on the first of January, 2008, and will be completed December 31, 2010. The program envisions three main strategies:

Citizen's capacity – building upon existing structures and introducing new methods for increasing the capacity of citizens and civil society organisations to develop their communities and strengthen their existence and sustainability.

Democracy building – developing democratic understanding and processes within the communities in the project regions. Training citizens in democratic principles and methods of interaction with authorities, individuals and communities.

Poverty elimination – making life better for rural communities. The strategy focuses on changing, together with the local partners, the prevailing health conditions by providing access to safe drinking water and healthy sanitation.

The main intervention strategy, “poverty elimination”, aims to strengthen and empower local communities in poor rural areas, helps to create sustainable women’s and community based organisations, and finally supports cooperation with the private sector, scientific organisations and government authorities.

Poverty elimination will be achieved through:

  • Provision of access to safe drinking water and sanitation
  • Reduction of health costs
  • Improvement of agricultural production and processes
  • Energy efficiency and low cost renewable energy resources
  • Recycling of waste
  • Income generating activities
  • Capacity building
  • Public participation in policy making
  • Participation of women on all levels

The program is designed for WECF network members. These are local organisations, who will develop and increase their capacity in the above areas through the ELA-program.

The "Citizen’s Capacity Strengthening Strategy" is therefore aimed at sharing lessons learned within the network to develop innovative, cost efficient and sustainable solutions which fit the local cultural and political environment. The WECF network members are integrated at all levels of the MFS programme.

ELA achievements 2008: Summary of the ELA annual report


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