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close this bookVolunteer Participation in Working with the Urban Poor (UNDP - UNV, 64 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentNote on terminology and abbreviations
View the documentSummary
close this folderI. Urbanisation: recognition and response
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentUrbanisation and poverty
View the documentResponse to urbanisation
View the documentRecognition of ''Self-help'' initiatives
close this folderII. Insights derived from community-based programmes
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderUrban informal sector
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMicro-enterprise promotion
View the documentWorking conditions in the informal sector
View the documentThe ILO experience
View the documentLow-income housing
View the documentInfrastructure and basic services
View the documentHealth and HIV/AIDS prevention
View the documentNon-formal education and functional literacy
View the documentWomen, gender and development
View the documentChildren of the street
View the documentImplications for VSAs
close this folderIII. Towards a community-based strategy for VSAs
View the documentParticipation: how and for whose benefit?
View the documentA sense of ''community''
View the documentGeneral characteristics of low-income urban communities
View the documentFactors determining support possibilities
View the documentGeneral characteristics of CBOs
View the documentSupport channels and intermediaries
close this folderIV. Programming concerns for VSAs and UNV
View the documentGuidelines for involvement
View the documentSuccess criteria for volunteer involvement
View the documentTaking the initiative
View the documentFlexibility
View the documentMeeting personnel and associated needs
View the documentChannels of operation
View the documentUnited Nations Agencies and their partners
View the documentFunding and other programme concerns
close this folderV. Principles and characteristics of volunteer use
View the documentFunctions and volunteers
View the documentQualities of VDWs
View the documentTeams
View the documentSkill requirements and experiences
View the documentSelection and placement process
View the documentAcculturation and language training process
View the documentEpilogue: follow-up, 1995
View the documentAnnotated reference list
close this folderAnnex: Excerpts from background papers
View the documentUrban development policy issues and the role of united nations volunteers
View the documentWorking with the urban poor: lessons from the experience of metropolitan Lagos, Nigeria
View the documentBrief account of my experience as a DDS field worker and a UNV in Sri Lanka and Jamaica
View the documentSpecial consultation on volunteer participation in working with the urban poor


The twentieth century growth of the urban population in developing countries is unparalleled in human history. If current trends continue, it is expected that two-thirds of the world's total urban population will live in developing countries by the year 2000. Resource scarcity, social service and infrastructure needs and demands will magnify the already enormous socio-economic and political pressures in urban areas.

Cities in developing countries are increasingly unable to provide their growing populations with productive employment in the "formal" sector, adequate social services or housing. As a consequence, a mammoth "informal sector" has blossomed, which is beginning to dominate developing country economies. Even though there may be material improvement in some rural migrant lives, the general trend is a transfer of poverty from rural to urban areas.

It has been the churches and a few local NGOs -- rather than governments, international aid agencies, or international NGOs - which have worked in low-income urban communities for decades, particularly in Latin America and in some Asian cities. Initially this assistance focused on welfare work, but it has expanded to include micro-development schemes. Governments and municipalities, recognising their limitations in meeting the needs of urban low-income groups, have increasingly acknowledged the importance of the private sector and the communities' own initiatives in meeting basic needs. International organisations and VSAs are also recognising the importance of building upon local initiatives.