title. Millennium Community Development Organization and the Sustainability of Mayange Millennium Villages Project

date. Summer 2013

location. Mayange, Rwanda

Role: Project Consultant, Researcher

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Problem: The Millennium Community Development Organization (MCDO) was formed as a grassroots organization, as a sister organization of the Millennium Villages Project (MVP), with the intention of creating more participatory planning, community mobilization and capacity building for community development.Since 2010, the MVP has worked closely with MCDO to make targeted investments in the productive sectors (e.g. agriculture and business), social sectors (e.g. education) and other supportive sectors (i.e. buildings infrastructure). By 2015, the MVP seeks to successfully transition Millennium Villages management of MVP activities to community and local institutions for ownership as to ensure that all community achievements, capacities built, and institutions supported by MVP are maintained in 2015 and beyond the end of the Project. MCDO needed a mid-point evaluation to identify areas in need of capacity building for MCDO and its partners, and propose capacity development actions for the future with the hope that these institutions will be strengthened to carry over and effectively manage MVP activities and interventions post-2015.

Process:

In order to gain a sense of the progress in decision-making processes, capacity building and strength of partnerships on the ground, I conducted a series of key informant interviews with community members, community education workers, organizational staff of both MCDO and MVP, and sector government leaders. I also engaged in participant observation of activities and meetings of key institutions observed (MCDO, Sector, MVP, SACCO).

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Background research on MVP sustainability was conducted through review of published and unpublished key documents provided by the MDG Center in Nairobi and the Earth Institute of Columbia University. Primary documents on MCDO and SACCO were reviewed through the MCDO constitution, previous financial and capacity assessments conducted on year before and in the beginning of the year in January, and brochures and newsletters. The targeted informants and key institutions to undergo capacity assessments were identified by the Business Development Coordinator and Team Leader of MV in Mayange.

Outcome: The report that included a SWOT analysis for each sector (Education, Agriculture, Business Development, Partnerships) and recommended actions to fill capacity needs was presented to the MCDO and MV leadership in Rwanda. Following 6 months later, many of the recommendations have been put in place including new recruitments for staff and board positions, as well as a financial audit.