Rural Support Programmes (RSPs) define Social Mobilization as an approach and tool that enables people to organize for collective action, by pooling resources and building solidarity required to alleviate their poverty and work towards equitable and sustainable development. It is a process that empowers women and men to organize their own democratically self-governing community organizations which enable them to initiate and control their own personal and communal development, as opposed to mere participation in an initiative designed by the government or an external organization.
Social mobilization & Institutional Development is the primary objective of AJKRSP, to foster community institutions to make available a platform for strong and effective two way linkage between service providers and the people and making these institutions financially viable. AJKRSP believes that effective Social Mobilization harness the potential and efforts of government, non-government sector and communities to work towards sustainable social, economic and political development.AJKRSP aims to organize communities in all of AJK, in the shortest possible time, so that State socio economic development is facilitated. For the community institutions to be viable, their capacity has to be built. To make that expansion practical, it needs to be at low cost. Inclusion of the poor and other vulnerable has to be ensured.
In line with AJKRSPs Vision, a SM&ID objective is that the multi-tiered organized community institutions – at village, UC (LSO), tehsil level are recognized by and work closely with their counterpart tiers of local administration.
The social mobilization& Institutional Development process begins with a household poverty assessment so as to ensure that the poor are included. A poverty Score Card is used to carry out such a survey, which is much quicker and less expensive than the full household socio economic survey. AJKRSP has set criteria for minimum percentages of the poor and women that must be included in community institutions.
For fast paced, lower cost social mobilization, AJKRSP follow the newly emerging multi-tier SM&ID approach of RSPs. In any area, as given criteria is met, the Community Organizations (COs) form the next tier level of Village Organization (VO) and then form the next level of Local Support Organization (LSO, at the UC level) and so on.
Once formed, the LSOs take the responsibility for organizing the remaining communities in their area. Instead of AJKRSP staff, the LSO engage its volunteers and paid (honorarium) Activists (called Community Resource Persons CRPs) for social mobilization in that area.
These cadres of activist can live and move around there at much lower cost. Plus, as credible locals, they can much more easily convince and motivate others in the community. Proper selection, training and SOPs (standard operating procedures) for these CRPs are very important.