6. Motivating and capitalizing upon local ownership

To achieve self-sustainability it is imperative that the people benefited by an initiative pursue their own development as independently as possible.

When people appropriate programs and initiatives targeted at their own needs, it is more likely that problems are addressed with bottom-up solutions. Being more apposite (relevant) to the particular needs and interests of their local context, these solutions can create the conditions for further ownership to be developed.

This is also important because the limited number and lack of stability of funding sources (both public and private) make development initiatives rely not only on external support but also on the support of the communities they work with.

Motivating people’s ownership and empowerment, by encouraging their participation, helps to make better use of the local political and financial resources available and reduce the need for external support — by facilitating that the internal stakeholders share their diverse products, services, and other resources, the need to acquire external funds to cover them is minimized.

As such, strategies specifically aimed at ensuring the community’s participation and negotiation in the design, implementation and evaluation of the programs increase initiatives’ level of self-sustainability (their ownership of the process). This gives an initiative a greater possibility of survival should financial support be withdrawn or the presence of the development initiative diminish.

However, increasing people’s participation is difficult especially in contexts where communities are habituated to be passive beneficiaries of public programs and incentives, and/or where their people are divided by socio-economical or, for example, racial barriers.

To stimulate it, see:

Voluntary contributions 

Alternative Barter systems

Structures and techniques for local participation, organization and negotiation 

Prioritizing relevant education and technical training 

Keeping local stewardship

Showing people concrete means to contribute and impact

♣ Methods for the selection of objectives and priorities

Incentives for cooperation

♣ Clarity in the definition of roles and responsibilities

Moreover, development initiatives that already count with a certain degree of local ownership show that this can be capitalized upon if the value of the services and resources provided by the beneficiaries can be tracked and systematized — creating for example, inventories of community voluntary contributions.

This helps to address donor concerns about the lack of local ownership that often threatens the long-term sustainability of their investments. It also aids the settling of matching fund mechanisms that take into account the value of such contributions, without compromising beneficiaries’ capacity to negotiate their views and responsibilities (Keeping local stewardship)

Related strategies in:

Mapping and planning inherent sources of sustainability, capabilities and corrosive disadvantages


Voluntary contributions

♣ Directory of participants/resources

Parity/matching funds

Creating and capitalizing on local resources

Keeping local stewardship

Other related strategies:

♣ Motivating and capitalizing on local ownership