The citizenry’s poor communication with decision-makers, or local authorities always results in the approval of local plans that never meets the needs and priorities of local communities. Local authorities usually lay down plans without society being involved in same, thereby relegating community priorities to the background. Further, lots of projects fall apart following their establishment. For instance, local authorities establish health units without providing same with the much-needed medical cadres that render health services to society. Worse still, schoolchildren, mainly girls, drop out of schools, because school buildings are too far from population centers due to the fact local authorities used to placate influentials by involving them in pinpointing the locations where schools are built. The same goes for other services, such as road networks. The bottom line is that people’s inputs in decision-making at the local level are still in limbo.
The solution to this problem is that local decision-makers must boost community participation , heed people’s views, and hammer out crystal-clear mechanisms for engaging local communities and entertaining people’s views while drawing up local development plans. This can be done by targeting sub-district development committees, which are elected by citizens under a program called “empowerment drive” which was undertaken by the Social Fund for Development. Eight rural districts in four Yemeni governorates, two districts each, shall be targeted.
A What’s app group to be called (Local Community Team) shall be established to bring together local authorities, Sub-District Development Committees& representatives of CSOs and youth initiatives. The What’s app pad shall contain information on local authority plans and sectoral projects. The group shall be run by youth volunteers who would compare notes and exchange views through a set of guidelines determining discussion mechanism, and the ethics of exchanging views and utilizing remarks. An experiment on the use of such mechanism was conducted in the poverty-ridden,Hais district in Hodeida governorate. Such technology will be a great success, especially as citizens in most target districts don’t usually use computers due to recurrent power outages. So being, mobile phones are all the rage as they are widely used by the residents of those districts. Further, What’s up is the only accessible service, because community members have no access to other high-tech gadgets.