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We are supporting family housing reconstruction using conditional cash transfers. Families can also contribute labour and materials. Unfortunately there are some members of the community who are too vulnerable to manage this process. What can we do?

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This is a question that I've been asked in the field so I wanted to share it with everyone on KnowledgePoint

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Hi Lizzie, This is often the case that our prioritised beneficiaries are not physically fit in participating construction or managing construction. Forming community groups to manage such cases including formation of mobile construction group who could attend such cases might be an option also. Use of and adaptation of PASSA to map and mobilise resources is also possible through community engagement.

Sanjay Mukherjee gravatar imageSanjay Mukherjee ( 2017-10-24 21:27:57 +0000 )edit

Hi Lizzie, I run a Design and Innovation centre and have a network of people that can project manage the site and re-construct through working with and train the local unskilled community. So we could send a core team of people that guide the community to re-construct the form of design, Bubblehome we have developed. Those that are too vulnerable in the community to participate can watch the process. Some of the tasks involved in the construction are labour intensive, few require any skills and other tasks include much lighter tasks so that most people can participate in some way if they want too. I have a core group of skilled helpers with a range of construction and therapy skills. I have access to a volunteer organisation keen to provide an additional volunteers to increase our capacity and an acclaimed architect, based locally, with substantial experience in similar projects who ...(more)

Peter J Hughes gravatar imagePeter J Hughes ( 2017-10-28 10:14:44 +0000 )edit

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There are various ways that you can include vulnerable families in cash transfer programs.

A capacity assessment must first be conducted to ensure that financial and construction management responsibilities will empower families rather than become a burden. Even where families have technical abilities, other demands on their attention must be taken into account such as care for dependents, health concerns and debt.

Contribution of materials will only be possible if the family has salvaged materials, has access to raw materials or additional cash to buy more materials. Be aware that vulnerable families may have none of these so their home will be completed with less resources than others. It may be that they are satisfied with the minimum, or they may feel that the process discriminates against them. This varies from community to community.

Contribution of labor is only possible if family members are physically fit and have some basic building skills. Those who cannot contribute labor may call upon other families to help, but do not assume that communities will naturally support vulnerable members in this way. This issue should form part of the capacity assessment.

To empower families to manage the financial aspects of the project they may only need training on the process of procurement and payment. Choose the simplest, most familiar processes, for example partnering with the local post office or savings organization that people already use. The fastest method may not be the most successful. Only use unfamiliar technologies such as mobile phones or bank cards if you have evidence that the community will quickly become comfortable with these methods.

However, if there are power imbalances in the community the problem may be that they cannot negotiate a good rate for materials or labour, they are sold materials of poor quality or labourers do not accept their authority. In these circumstances training may help, but it may also be necessary to call upon support from other families, community leaders or some of your technical team members, depending on whether the issue is fair trading or technical quality.

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Asked:
2017-10-24 10:46:59 +0000
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Last updated:
Feb 22