Joselito Merida, the recently elected president of the Community Development Council (COCODE) in Santa Rita, in the municipality of San José El Rodeo, San Marcos, is confident that the skills he has gained through CLD leadership training courses will help him lead development projects for his community.
Joselito’s entry point to community leadership was first joining the COCODE´s sports commission in 2019. Initial trainings strengthened his self-esteem and awakened his interest in joining the general COCODE coordination body to lead community development efforts. “I want to be part of the development of my community; we have the capacity to lead, all we need is an opportunity to put our leadership into practice” he said.
CLD´s strategy to strengthen COCODEs includes training modules that promote participation, inclusion, organization, and empowerment of men and women. Modules include topics such as: COCODE basic functions, organizational structure at community level, and the importance of the participation of women, youth, elderly, and people with disabilities in the COCODE.
Change in COCODE leadership in late 2019 provided Joselito with the opportunity he had longed for to serve his community. As the new COCODE president, Joselito is actively participating in additional training sessions. As of the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, CLD has trained 528 members of COCODE coordination bodies and other local leaders on topics related to community management such as project planning and management.
“The training is for the development of our community. I would like to see a community hall in my community, that´s one of my dreams”, said Joselito.
CLD seeks to empower citizens through inclusive participation and by strengthening the Community Development Council´s (COCODEs) capacity to lead the development of Community Development Plans (CDPs) and engage local groups to implement projects that are responsive to CDPs.
“We have the potential to bring positive change. We are the future of our communities; if we don’t lead a process of change, who will? This is what CLD has taught me”, said Joselito.