Community Driven Development (CDD) is a grassroots approach to providing opportunity, moderating conflict, and improving the lives of people in poverty. Rather than top-down decision-making, managed by government agencies and international aid organizations, CDD gives control over planning decisions and investment resources to community groups and local governments. Direct community involvement ensures sustainability, creates ownership, and preserves communal dignity. It also involves young people in positive activities, and by bringing diverse community members together for common cause, fosters understanding and tolerance.
The Global Peace Festival Foundation and its youth affiliate, the Global Peace Youth Corps (GPYC), has drawn from experience building community-based models of development in Kenya, Nepal, the Philippines, Malaysia, Paraguay, Brazil and elsewhere to address problems of poverty and social instability in Mongolia. To research conditions in both rural and urban areas, GFFF Mongolia and GPYC organized citizen forums in all 21 provinces and 9 districts in Mongolia to learn about the most successful development approaches.
Following their field work, GPFF Mongolia conducted a networking workshop in Ulaanbaatar to share the most innovative and successful community-based approaches, with the goal of producing a handbook for use by local governments and aid organizations throughout Mongolia.
Organized with the support of the Citizen’s Hall under the Office of the President and Service for Peace, the workshop advanced a number of key objectives:
- Initiate a national network of social reform and establish criteria for organizational certification;
- Study and learn from the Korean Saemaul Undong, or “village movement” model of development
- Share theory, methods, and practices;
- Present findings and advance proposals for rural development in alignment with the National Program;
- Develop CDD -Mongolia branding and effective promotional campaigns;
- Develop implementation plans in coordination with government and private sector partners.
The GPFF/GPYC team reported their findings to Sosormaa Chuluunbaatar, Advisor to the President of Mongolia on Human Rights and Civil Participation, at the Citizens Hall in the State Palace. Following the briefing, Ms. Sosormaa and GPFF/GPYC leadership were interviewed by three television stations on the growing efforts to address Mongolia’s social challenges through community-based approaches.
Through GPFF’s nationwide development initiative, and with the support of innovative government policies and donors, Mongolia can follow other newly developed nations and emerge as a modern, pluralistic and prosperous democracy.