Social Mobilization
 
Almost all the community support institutes in Sri Lanka believe that community mobilization is a facilitative instrument that enables positive changes which could help meet the challenges of societies in transition through changed attitudes, values, and behaviors of individuals or groups. Accordingly, individuals or groups are able for better weighing up their needs, to prioritize, to increase potentials of resources and also to produce results. WDF premeditates that the said changes can bring forth required structural changes within communities, with reliable conversion that supports lasting change.

When the self sustenance is concerned many institutions need to struggle in plentiful ways to establish self-driven mechanisms yet, if community mobilization process is not evolved at the inception it would be not possible to change the attitudes of participants in the latter, for a self driven operation.

Mobilization has broader perspectives since different communities prefer different approaches in their mobilization needs. WDF has always made specific effort to diagnose desires of the particular community and the changing leadership pattern is always a challenge Knowing where a community is starting from and progressing toward is helpful for program staff to work appropriately with the community. Also the different layers of mobilization be followed to bring people to the centre. WDF in its long term involvement has assessed the progress of mobilization attended and the quality of results gained that contribute to the overall growth.

Mobilization becomes the most constructive tool in promoting less advantaged segments of respective communities. Basically, to raise awareness on persisting challenges and to prepare the community to go against them becomes the key component to be addressed in the mobilization process. A trained team of Asst. Coordinators have been positioned for this task, at present. Each Asst. Coordinator is paid monthly allowance. WDF has authorized 15% of it’s profit to manage these payments.

One of the purposes of mobilizing is to strengthen smooth operation of savings and credit including micro insurance in order to realize economic growth of the poverty stricken women. At present the total membership of WDF has exceeded 70,000 and 1243 member societies are functioning. Members of these societies are used to meet in every two weeks. Also, all the members those who represent 13,500 SHGs (Self Help Group) are extremely important for effective operation of the WDF. These SHGs are practicing weekly meetings and after each meeting they perform, free labour work, savings, sharing goods bought on wholesales prices etc., Progress of each SHG is reviewed at village society meetings which are assembled in every two weeks.

Group guarantee becomes a basic requirement to be qualified for a loan. Administratively, 1,243 trained Assistant Coordinators are employed to facilitate group or society meetings, to resolve inter-personal misunderstandings, while assuring smooth operation of loan activities etc., and in addition there are 36 senior staffs appointed to oversee the accuracy of the said operation. The overall responsibility is being held by a Snr. Manageress assisted by an Asst. Manageress. There are 12 fundamental ethics in use in the process of Mobilization

  • Living with the respective community
  • Attitude of learning from the community
  • Follow collective practices of planning
  • Work with the community
  • To start from the level of knowledge of the community members
  • Also start each activity from what is owned by the community
  • Learn by doing and through experience
  • Improving self effort instead of dependency syndrome
  • Instead of introducing an incident, to introduce method
  • Rather than working in isolation, to work in collaboration
  • Instead of static process to enable understanding of change and dynamism
  • Empowering collective strength.
 
The Mobilization unit of WDF is responsible for implementation of mobilization along with the above principles. Evidently, the impact of mobilization based action series has contributed in whatever way to minimize poverty from 32.4% in 1990/91 to 6.9 % in 2001. Similarly the life expectancy too, has increased up to 82 years .