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Strengthening Comprehensive Village Development Societies

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19th-May-2017       
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Dr. M. Abul Kashem Mozumder and Dr.Md. Shairul Mashreque :
In 1989 LGRD approved CVDP project for two years to continue experimentation with total village development with an apparently new philosophy. It was included in the ADP (1988-89). The first phase of the project continued upto June 1991. The second phase of the project commenced under the fourth five year plan.  BARD and RDA (Bogra) have been implementing CVDP. RDA started implementing the project from the second year of the fourth five year plan. Its area of operation in cludes Rajshahi and Khulna divisions. BARD has been experimenting with the new philosophy in 40 villages of Dhaka and Chittagong divisions (Ahmed 1993'To ameliorate socio-economic conditions of the villagers and to improve the quality of life of all groups of people in that villages through a common institutional framework' (Ahmed 1993 and Karim and Sharifullah 199
The specific obiectives as embodied in the fourth five year plan were (Ahmed 1993, Karim and Shraifullah 1998 and Obidullah 1996):
1. To develop a broad -based co-operative society called Comprehensive Village Development Society  (CVDS) involving villagers of all classes and professions irrespective of age and sex for poverty alleviation, multidimensional development and welfare of the rural community.
2. To develop common village facilities and make available at the rural level a varity of socio-economic services including literacy, education, family and population control, minimum health care and nutrition, income generation and so forth.
3. To increase production in both agricultural and off holding activities, productive employment and household income utilizing all available resources maximally.
4. To encourage capital formation in co-operative institutions and mobilize human resources for development activities.
5. To ensure equitable distribution of benefits to all villagers.
6. To use the village institution as the receiving point for all kinds of services and supplies from the line agencies.
7. To improve production and home management skill, education and social status of women through appropriate education and training.
During its third phase (1996-1999) the CVDP was under implementation in 40 villages of Comilla kotwali thana, Burichang thanas of Comilla district, Sylhet Sadar thana and Sonargaom thana of Narayanganj district
Successful implementation of any project depends inter alia on the elements like sound plans of action, allocation of responsibilities, job description, co-ordination, efficient financial operation, optimal resource use and integrity of purpose. The project management serves to manage implementational aspects of the project taking these elements into cognizance. So, there must be a management structure that is at the helm of affairs at the operational level albeit with dynamic action. This is shown in Fig I. At the apex of the project management lies the Project Advisory Committee (PAC) headed by Director General, the chief Executive of BARD. The personnel working under him included project Director as the member secretary of the committee and district level officers as its members. The main responsibility of the PAC was to help out the project implementation team with logistics whenever necessary. The DG of BARD, being a supremo, taking policy lead and giving a sense of direction, was to maintain lia son with high ups in centralized public administration.
At the level of project implementation DG was assisted by the project implementation committee (PIC) with the Directors project as the chairman, Deputy project Director (CVDP) as the member secretary, officers of CVDP, heads of the four Academic Divisions of BARD  and the Director of Field services of the local central co-operative Association as the members of the PIC.
There used to be a sub project Advisory committee (SPAC) headed by director, project with the personnel in charge of the sub-project as the member secretary.
The Assistant project Directors were supposed to implement the project at the field levels under the guidance of the project Director and Deputy project Director. For implementational purposes, linkage with the relevant nation building departments was thought be essential and was maintained.
In each village, there will be a village-based cooperative called the Comprehensive Village Development Co-operative Society (CVDCS)'. It will cover all the villagers under the broad categorisation of adult male, adult female and children.
i) The CVDCS plan and implement all of their activities to become an economically viable and self-reliant institution by means of resource mobilisation, regular weekly savings and by undertaking various productive and commercial / business activities within the existing cooperative discipline.
ii) The CVDCS will establish their linkage with thana central cooperative associations. The other linkage of CVDCS will be with local government bodies at different tiers and thana level nation building departments, the purpose of which will be to develop common village facilities and services (physical, social and economic) and obtaining support services available at the union, thana and districts.
iii) The CVDCS prepare a household resource book for each household in the village. It contains an inventory of household resources to serve as a guide to identify the gap between the available household resources and those required for the improvement of social and economic condition of the household on the basis of its felt needs.
iv) The society is required to prepare and maintain a Comprehensive Village Resource Book which contains the data base of the household resources as well common village resources and facilities. This data base will be used as the basis for the formulation of a Comprehensive Village Development Plan by the society.
v) Each group or individual member of the society will prepare an Economic Plan which will be consolidated at the society level by CVDCS. Similarly, the Managing Committee of the society will also prepare an investment and social development plan for the society. The two plans after discussion and approval in the general meeting of the society will be consolidated for implementation by society as annual development plan. The elected representative of local bodies, thana level officers and their village level functionaries are involved at different level of plan preparation and implementation with a view to developing participatory planning and development at local level.
vi) The social and economic development plan prepared by the CVDCS are implemented with their own resources, loan from bank and other relevant agencies. Input support and other services are mobilised from central society/association , local government institutions at different tiers and nation building departments at union and thana level.
Of late Integrated Community develoment has been introduced to empower comprehensive development co-operative. There must be a precise co-ordination between the concept of  Integrated Community develoment and that of CVD  co-operative. Community develoment encompasses a range of approaches and activities that aim to ameliorate  the conditions of people living in the communuty at large. . Development as such at thecommunity level  pays  attention to  community issues and organizing the community of people for bringing about their own welfare. "Community development is a structured intervention that gives communities greater control over the conditions that affect their lives.  This does not solve all the problems faced by a local community, but it does build up confidence to tackle such problems as effectively as any local action can.  Community development works at the level of local groups and organisations rather than with individuals or families.  The range of local groups and organisations representing communities at local level constitutes the community sector."Community development is a skilled process and part of its approach is the belief that communities cannot be helped unless they themselves agree to this process.  Community development has to look both ways: not only at how the community is working at the grass roots, but also at how responsive key institutions are to the needs of local communities".
In fact Community Development. Is:
Community Development is crucially concerned with the issues of powerlessness and disadvantage: as such it should involve all members of society, and offers a practice that is part of a process of social change.
Community Development is about the active involvement of people in the issues which affect their lives. it is a process based on the sharing of power, skills, knowledge and experience.
Community Development takes place both in neighbourhoods and within communities of interest, as people identify what is relevant to them.
The Community Development process is collective, but the experience of the process enhances the integrity, skills, knowledge and experience, as well as equality of power, for each individual who is involved.
Community Development seeks to enable individuals and communities to grow and change according to their own needs and priorities, and at their own pace, provided this does not oppress other groups and communities, or damage the environment.
Where Community Development takes place, there are certain principles central to it. The first priority of the Community Development process is the empowering and enabling of those who are traditionally deprived of power and control over their common affairs. It claims as important the ability of people to act together to influence the social, economic, political and environmental issues which affect them. Community Development aims to encourage sharing, and to create structures which give genuine participation and involvement.
Community Development is about developing the power, skills, knowledge and experience of people as individuals and in groups, thus enabling them to undertake initiatives of their own to combat social, economic, political and environmental problems, and enabling them to fully participate in a truly democratic process.
Community Development must take the a lead in confronting the attitudes of individuals and the practices of institutions and society as a whole which discriminates unfairly against black people, women, people with disabilities and different abilities, religious groups, elderly people, lesbians and gay men, and other groups who are disadvantaged by society. It also must take a lead in countering the destruction of the natural environment on which we all depend. Community Development is well placed to involve people equally on these issues which affect all of us.
Community Development should seek to develop structures which enable the active involvement of people from disadvantaged groups, and in particular people from Black and Minority Ethnic groups.
It does seem that Community Development seeks to empoer the poor now incorporated in comprehensive rural development. The project is capable of replication to ensure  conspicuous partocipation of the poor in production and income generating activities.

(Dr. M. Abul Kashem Mozumder, member PSC and Dr.Md. Shairul Mashreque, Public Administration Chittagong University)

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