Social mobilization

Social mobilization is a well-structured process, where all key stakeholders act towards the achievement of a common goal (the example could be participatory water governance).

Social mobilization is based on a combination of choice and voluntary participation. People come to help, if they see that this is to their benefit and when they believe that this is important for other people as well.

The key interrelated elements of mobilization are the propaganda, cooperation, resource mobilization, and information exchange.

The propaganda of ideas is the process of changing the public opinion or policy in order to achieve any goals. This implies formation of political and social beliefs. This is done through formation of coalitions, propaganda at the level of ordinary citizens and work with mass media. The propaganda of ideas means formation of such an environment, where political will and legal circumstances contribute to changes required.

To this end, propagandists may act bottom up.

Social mobilization will bear fruits only if necessary political and legal frameworks are in place. Those who make key decisions should have deep insights and should be willing to act. Otherwise, at the first stage, it is necessary to solicit their support by the way of propaganda. This support from the top level of governance is essential for social mobilization.

Social mobilization is the continuous process. This is the process, through which all stakeholders are involved in water resources management and decision-making. In the process of social mobilization all stakeholders are to reach understanding that they establish organizations, in which they are involved themselves and that are directed to achievement of their own benefits, will work for them and will report to them, in line with the rules and procedures set by stakeholders themselves.

Social mobilization is driven by overall understanding of stakeholder needs and problems in the field of water management, where they are conducting a comprehensive dialog for co-ordination of collective actions with the purpose to improve water resources governance. This process is to mobilize demand (understanding of a need) among all stakeholders for the establishment of organizations, in which they are involved themselves.

Such organizations include Water User Associations (WUA) or WUA Federations and Canal Water User Unions (CWUU) that are involved in water governance at their respective level.

Participatory organizations established in the course of such process report to their members, should be partially or fully self-governed (i.e. water users themselves set rules of conduct and follow them) and, as far as possible, be sustainable (i.e. when members get profit and are able to cover all or bulk of management costs and fully control organizationĺs finances and resources).

Social mobilization is based on recognition of the importance of human factor and aims to achieve the optimal involvement, employment and development of human. Moreover, contribution of everyone is proportional to the profit gained: no profit, no contribution. And the profit gained by everyone increases the common good. This process is based on a dialogue and joint decision making, where interests of everyone are considered and everyone has a possibility to have his/her own interests and protect them.

Social mobilization is not a one-time activity, in which initiators of social mobilization meet with the public once or twice to disclose to them the institutional framework of IWRM, procedures for establishing community-based organizations, etc. In essence, social mobilization is the continuous comprehensive process of a bilateral dialog, where opinions and new ideas of all stakeholders are taken into consideration.

Author: Mirzaev N.N., SIC ICWC