Collectives for Locality Development

An Initiative of TRIF-Brainstem

Transforming Rural India Foundation ( and Brainstem Consulting bring together deep expertise, experience and knowledge on locality development. In our understanding locality-based approach, a convergent community-local government compact is fundamental driver to regenerative resilient transformative change across different socio-economic dimensions, governance issues, addressing climate induced stress such like; powering this approach the central piece is strong vibrant community collectives for example Self Help Groups (SHGs) or micro mutual-help solidarity groups of women; constitutionally mandated local self-governance bodies (Panchayats), traditional communitarian systems like caste/jati panchayat, other relevant collectives like Forest Protection Committee (FPC). The locality approach is central of community-centric solutions engagement : keeping people and communities as the focus, building relationships; focusing on and developing strengths; realising aspirations and ensure truly community-led approach.

The vision for the locality approach is that a locality is the natural node for convergence and synergistic actions where various interventions on quality life, social care, self-governance, prosperity, ecosystem restoration and multi-stakeholder coordination can happen, this represents a fundamental shift away from government facilities/services, private sector development into community led compact. A locality is a place, a natural socio-economic-cultural and politico-administrative geography and locality development looks on that place as a community. The process is meant to build the community – their institutional and organisations systems and processes towards common purpose, implementation mandate and delivery, its a co-generative process that includes all sectors of the community, local government, local market and is based on finding common ground and defining and pursuing a common meaningful and productive vision. It is focused on action and results that make difference to lives that foremost includes augmenting the development envelop of norms, practices, infrastructure, services to expand opportunities for communities to accelerate inter-generational mobility. Central to the community engagement is an agenda of social action and systems advocacy engage communities in understanding and building power, and using it to advocate and negotiate for the interests of the community. In our understanding locality development is the springboard, a secure base for multiple actions, prepares a community that's ready for any aspiration.

Locality development is about comprehensive, inclusive community-infrastructure that responds to meet challenges, seize opportunities, leverages social, natural, financial and human capital/resources in a responsible way and creates positive social change.

Community collectives are the nucleus of community-infrastructure, beyond social capital and solidarity the reference is to have an organised way for envisioning about locality and people, making plans, having systems, processes and structure to translate plans into inclusive result-oriented action. Theoretical and empirical studies have affirmed collective action is critical for gains on interconnected development domains - challenging norms and behaviours, expanding opportunities (livelihood diversification and community infrastructure) and public goods provision. The near universal mobilisation of rural women into collectives in India presents a never before opportunity to unlock the groundswell of “collectives” into powerful force of “locality development”.

Collectives for Locality Development, is a unique praxis based resource unit focused on sector shaping work, building knowledge, developing practitioner toolkit, processes; building a repository of best practices. The intent is bring the all the resources required by anyone interested in the approach to translate this approach in their own context, understanding this is a new approach the unit intends to seamlessly provide an integrated support know-how:show-how:do-how The unit will have a Panel of Resource Persons immersed and equipped for adaption of the core approach in a new context and support local organisations to co-build implementation.

The need for CLD emerges from our considered reflection and confidence that Locality Development is the systemic pathway of regenerative development addressing multi-dimensionality of poverty in all its forms. Community-PRI-LA compacts leads to deepened democratic processes and place-based economic opportunities. Implementation with women collectives and embedded within national livelihood programmes, building on presence in community and partnership with government lends the proposed gender-intentional action with resilience that is both empowering, capacitating, responsible and making neighbourhood community systems to play a constructive role. The ongoing pandemic has showed this more clearly that only such an approach can support better healthcare, access entitlements, economic development, and a roadmap for recovery and preparedness.

CLD’s field building efforts and actions will co-evolve with experience, it will proactively seek out opportunity to mount programmes that provide space for demonstration and learning; and work with experts, technology developers to develop ready-to-use/deploy practitioners’ handbooks / manuals.