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The Community Development Department of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) is currently working on new community engagement plans.

Senior Community Development Officer of the Ministry of Communities, Donna Bess-Bascom said the plans will provide a framework for how the agency will engage with residents and communities to develop a greater understanding of their needs, and to increase the level and quality of their involvement in the decision-making that affect their daily lives.Bess-Bascom in a recent interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), explained that the development of the community engagement plans is in keeping with the policy of the Authority (CH&PA), of working with the residents to build strong cohesive communities.

She explained that CH&PA is working to develop and pilot the first plan in the Perseverance Housing Scheme, located on the East Bank of Demerara.

“It is our intention to use Perseverance Housing Scheme, where the 1000 homes project was initiated as a model community to see what happens if we get as close to perfect as possible with all the necessary processes in a community. So we are starting first by having that plan done, and then based on that community engagement plan, we would be working with the community to help implement an initial community demonstration project,” she explained.

The Community Engagement Plan for Perseverance Housing Scheme is being developed with support from the community group, Bess-Bascom said.

“At the first level, we begin to put the pieces together based on the plans and the vision of the Authority, but part of that process is having the vision clarified at the level of the community, what is their vision for their community, what are their priority that they have has a community and those will then be included also in the community engagement plan,” she explained.

Within the framework of the Perseverance Housing Scheme, Community Engagement Plan, CH&PA will seek to inform, consult, and involve the residents in decision making where appropriate, and to embed a culture of engagement and empowerment, Bess-Bascom said.

The plan includes stakeholders’ mapping, and tables on the particular activities that the Authority can undertake in the community, and who can be the possible persons leading the process.

The Community Development Department is one of the seven departments within the CH&PA. The Department’s primary focus supporting community groups to become organise and ensuring that community are engaged in the development process throughout the Authority’s works. This entails supporting the community leaders in terms of training, coaching and mentoring towards ensuring that the leadership capacities within communities are built.

The Department also provides technical support to communities in terms of helping them implement a first project, (demonstration project.) This project is intended to help to teach the communities the skills that needed for project implementation and management.

The Community Development Department also works to ensure that with the Local Democratic Organs (LDOs); the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs), the municipalities, and the Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) are engaged in the Authority’s works.

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