Recommendation B: Participatory decision making for Resource AllocationEdit
Movement members/participants will be empowered to take part in the decision making process regarding resource allocation. We will deliberately design a process that ensures the participation of ‘those who have been left out’.
Participatory decision making will happen at all levels (connected with the relevant structures for resource allocation). We will have mechanisms ensuring that local knowledge (experience and perspective) within the Movement influences our global planning and resource allocation strategies. Principles which are important for this are: ensuring representation, diversity, as well as transparency and accountability.
- We acknowledge that mere access to participate in decision making does not ensure equity and a deliberate attempt should be made to ensure all voices in the room are even.It is an assumption that people (volunteers) want and can be involved. This may not be totally applicable in developing/emerging contexts.
- People are active participants and know what works best in the context of the regions we want to serve.
- Higher levels of inclusion and participation in the decision making process will lead to higher levels of engagement and ownership of resources allocated.
- Involving more diverse voices in resource allocation decision making will build trust and collaboration between main players, thus leading to more sustainable outcomes.
Per our scoping document “our historical structures and processes are currently reinforcing the concentration of power and money in the movement. We are far from an equitable model for resource allocation, and just increasing access to money or grants will not be sufficient.”
The logic behind this recommendation clearly outlines the need to include the voices of the regions and communities we hope to serve in decision making regarding resource allocation. We believe that when this is done, will we be able to plan towards their plights or concerns and address the value of including those who have been left out as stipulated in the strategic direction.
We also acknowledge that allowing such people to participate is not enough to ensure that their views are considered, hence ensuring that these voices are equal on all levels is important.
We still need to explore aspects around ‘who is holding risks associated with resource allocation’. What’s the accountability of the decision maker with regards to resource allocation? If we are putting that on the ground level, we need to also think about the risks that the decision makers may be taking on.
- Resources will be optimized and contextualized and used for their intended purposes.
- Additional decision making structures will have to be designed, more staff concentrated locally will be needed to execute this.
- Community members will feel some sense of involvement when it comes to resource allocation.
- (in case of grants, and potentially other resource allocation mechanisms,) The grantor and grantee will both agree on what works best for a project or an activity since both parties would have been involved in the process.
This will affect all communities, grantees.
Potential situations of false participation may arise, where ‘gatekeepers’ who have access to more time and resources are doing the decision making without engaging relevant members at the margins.
The process of participatory decision making may present a few negative manifestations: this may manifest through domination by a few vocal people, social pressure, groupthink, goal displacement, lack of accountability.
The possibility that people needed may not have the required skill sets, knowledge, time and resources to participate. Also what is considered participation in one culture, may be non-participation in another.
Lastly in communities or situations where there is bickering, some committee members may show some misgivings and give wrong information about a particular request which may inadvertently affect the decision of the grant manager.
Additional expertise should be attracted to design appropriate decision making structures to include the sufficient level of diversity and representation.
A paid role of community developers could be created, whose task would be to reach out to relevant communities at the margins and work with them to create locally informed models for participation and building their capacity for this.
In the preliminary stages, participants will not entirely be reflective of the voices in the room, hence all participants included in the decision making process for resource allocation will have an equitable right to vote (not based on just number but by value).
Appropriate mechanisms of participatory decision making (facilitation, feeding the context, representation, gradients of agreement, consensus seeking, levels of participation, etc.) will be implemented to include minority and novel voices.
Investment in the participants of the RA process is required, to provide additional needed skills, resources, context and knowledge.
In some situations, community members from similar communities who have no interest or stake in a particular request could also be involved for an objective input.
This recommendation will increase levels of participation of community members, potentially more conversation and decision making structures/spaces will have to be created and managed. More staff and expertise will need to be attracted for this, which will involve costs. In order to achieve this, there must be a conscientious effort to invest in this process.
It is connected to recommendations dealing with structural redistribution and developing long-term relationships, because the newly created bodies will have to implement a participatory decision making model for RA. This recommendation is also closely connected to “Avoiding the pitfalls of privileges / Designing for diversity”.
Yes, it’s our key recommendation addressing the scoping question Q2, Who makes decisions about resource allocation within the movement? How should those decisions be made (in terms of structures, criteria, priorities, accountability)?
It also provides a clear focus on inclusion of “communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege” in this process, and in this way it addresses Q4, The Strategic Direction prioritizes “communities who have been left out …” Who are they? Who should we reach out to and on what principle?
- Roles and responsibilities