PARTICIPATION AND SUSTAINABILITY IN COMMUNITY-BASED PROCUREMENT BETWEEN LAW, PRACTICE AND STORYTELLING

"THE SECRETS OF NIGHT" EXAMPLE FROM WEST AFRICA

  • Carol Cravero

Abstract

This article explores different participatory tools as set out by national public procurement laws or in specific procurement contractual arrangements, with a specific emphasis on the model of community-based procurement. If citizens' role is often confined to specific sectors or certain procurement phases, the model of community-based procurement seems to embrace a more holistic approach by engaging communities at various stages of the public procurement cycle. With its local nature and its sustainable dimension, community-based procurement has the potential to encourage local ownership while contributing to both the quality and the sustainability of procurement results. However, the decision to use a community-based approach must be subject to technical feasibility studies, stakeholder capacity assessment and risk assessment analysis to determine this model’s appropriateness to a given procurement context, and the risks that this approach could entail. Community-based procurement may be used to implement various types of projects, including for small-scale water infrastructure in rural areas and in fragile contexts. In Africa, women have a huge role to play in the water sector, as they predominantly take care of collecting, managing and storing water, having to walk even 4-5 hours a day before reaching a water point. Thus, water point proximity appears to have a significant impact both on rural women's everyday life and, potentially, on public authorities’ decisions on where to locate the water infrastructure. Therefore, local communities, particularly women, should be involved along the entire procurement cycle, from the early planning phase onwards. "The secrets of night" narrative from West Africa illustrates that, despite that no one-size-fits-all approach exists, there is a best practice consisting of understanding, weighting, and reconciling the different interests at stake, using the most appropriate lenses (including the gender one) and the most effective tools (including storytelling).

Author Biography

Carol Cravero
Joint Italian-French PhD, Attorney-at-Law admitted to the Italian Bar Public Procurement Consultant, International Fund for Agricultural Development (“IFAD“) & External Collaborator, International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (“ITC-ILO“) & Certified Assessor, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems (“OECD-MAPS“)
Published
2023-12-31
Section
Articles & notes