Lack of sufﬁcient access to goods, facilities and services is a concern expressed in many poor urban and rural communities. EIIP’s LRB approaches seek to improve physical access at the local level by optimizing and combining the use of local resources in the development, operation and maintenance of community works through local-level planning, increasing participation, targeting vulnerable groups, and promoting the use of local materials and technologies in project implementation.
In EIIP interventions in sectoral investment and national infra- structure programmes, priority is given to developing good quality assets and the objective of job creation is secondary. Such programmes are often ﬁnanced and implemented by technical ministries, such as ministries of roads, water development, rural development, agriculture and forestry, urban development and irrigation. The works are of- ten contracted out to small- and medium-sized contractors for implementation. In this context, EIIP promotes, demonstrates and builds the capacity to use employment-intensive approaches most often through technical assistance.
Similarly, EIIP supports local area-based development programmes, which often have infrastructure components, support decentralization and are implemented and funded through local government authorities (municipalities, districts, ministries of regional or local development, etc.). These tend to be multi-sectoral programmes where, in addition to asset development, service delivery and job creation, there is a broader objective of local economic and community development.
Combining local participation with the use of locally available skilled and unskilled labour, local materials and local knowledge and appropriate technologies has proven to be an effective and economically viable approach to infrastructure works and job creation in many local settings.
The participatory approach allows for the identiﬁcation, prioritization and implementation of the speciﬁc needs of all the different groups within the communities, including women, youth, people with disabilities, indigenous and tribal peoples, and internally displaced persons (IDPs). The approach values locally available knowledge, technologies and organizational structures, thereby creating ownership and empowerment. The process of community development strengthens social dialogue and inclusion.
For the planning of local infrastructure programmes, EIIP has developed a local-level planning process for improving rural access called Integrated Rural Accessibility Planning (IRAP). The IRAP approach consists of bot- tom-up, participatory, local-level planning tools and techniques, with the objective of improving physical access to and within rural communities.
IRAP procedures are relatively easy to use and produce immediate outputs that can be used in any planning process. It involves a capacity-building process at local government level. The outcomes of the process reﬂect agreed investment priorities in local infrastructures (e.g. transport, water, market, education, health and agriculture). EIIP has successfully demonstrated approaches for the direct involvement of the community in their own community improvement works through community contracting. The aim is to empower communities by: assisting them to access improved services and infrastructure; promoting capacity building; and providing experience in negotiating, organizing and contracting.
The extent of the community’s responsibilities may vary depending on the situation and the contracting model used but the contractor is often either the whole community, a speciﬁc group within the community (youth, women, vulnerable families, indigenous groups), or a small community enterprise. Important issues in community contracting are direct selection without competition, the accuracy of cost estimates, advance payments, proﬁt margins, capacity building and technical support.
Community contracting is not always a feasible option and depends on the types of work, procurement options and local circumstances. In many cases, where community contracting is not the best option, the works are better implemented by local private contractors.