Launch of the Department of Constituency Empowerment

The Department of Constituency Empowerment (DCE) has been activated and functions in the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Cooperatives. The Department is governed by the 3 Tenets: Community Activism, Resilient Livelihoods and Participatory Local Governance, and is expected to work within the framework of a self-help delivery system at the community level. We are promoting community-based project implementation and community self-reliance, where communities and those elected to serve enjoy a mutually beneficial working relationship governed by the needs of each community in every constituency.

The Department has three main functions associated with its Empowerment Tenets:

1. Community Activism: Activating community groups to lead constituency development activities through appropriate partnerships

2. Resilient Livelihoods: Promoting and protecting village based livelihoods

3. Participatory Local Governance: Facilitating improved dialogue and partnership between elected officials and constituents

DCE is now in the preparatory phase for its project operational year commencing January 2014. Pre-operational activities include a public awareness campaign entitled “Be Empowered”.

Essentially, DCE has been mandated to engage communities and community groups in meaningful constituency lead development which serves as direct responses to constituency needs; the hallmark of Community Activism. Further, protecting and preserving livelihoods especially land-based, tourism-related, environmentally friendly and rural livelihoods is a major development target for the federation and consequently this Department. Community based employment is key to the promotion of Resilient Livelihoods. Therefore, the Department is promoting village businesses which are directly linked to the promotion of resilient livelihoods.

It is important that we work on improving the dialogue between constituents and representatives so that the issues that really affect people can be dealt with in a direct manner. Ultimately, representatives are the ones who act on our behalf when making and implementing policies. They must be allowed to understand the actual needs of the constituencies. Therefore, we are working tirelessly to implement a standard national mechanism which strategically places the needs and decisions of constituencies directly in policy and constitutional action. The best working mechanism for such direct communication and Participatory Local Governance is national constituency management teams.

For the rest of 2013 The Department of Constituency Empowerment will be engaged in an intense Empowerment Campaign which includes media appearances, community group outreach, pre-operational survey, and establishing empowerment zones for implementation of project activities. The success of the DCE depends in large part on the success of our outreach for collaboration, in particular, with the communities.

We look forward to working closely with constituencies to ensure that we can all BE EMPOWERED.

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