At the heart of the project's success lies community mobilisation. John and the dedicated OASD team collaborated tirelessly, engaging local and district leaders, stakeholders, and community members with the right message. “There has been an increase in the community’s awareness of their role in community development”, says John. The people of Iyer were mobilised to provide local resources, including finance, tools, and labour. “The project has also promoted unity in the community”.
A significant achievement was the participation of women and girls. John took care to ensure they contributed to the decision-making process and planning, as well as implementation. “I helped them to know that they can do anything the men do, from setting out project site and masonry, to clearance of the site, and the reinstatement of the environment”, shares John. “I had to give them opportunities to show what they are capable of”. 20 women and girls worked on the installation of the project. “Thus,” explains John, “women have come to learn and participate in the community at large, and they are seen as valuable. When it started, people in the community would say that women cannot do this job. But during implementation phase, they were seeing the benefits!”
The Iyer communities still face many challenges, including the most pressing – no access to safe water during dry seasons. OASD has introduced a social development plan to community members. They will continue to work with them in the coming months, opening an office at Iyer Tekulo to implement more life-changing projects.
John and OASD have already jointly written a proposal for water supply, irrigation, and a solar powered water pump, and they are now looking for a sponsor to help provide clean water year-round for the whole Iyer community, as well as installing additional culverts for other access roads.