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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

Success criteria for volunteer involvement

The case studies in the second chapter highlight four main criteria for successful volunteer involvement in urban interventions: flexibility; continuity; sustainability and self-reliance.

The focus on needs assessment by the people themselves necessarily calls for flexibility in setting project objectives. In other words, even if certain broad goals are set, they need to be defined and spelt out with references to what the communities themselves articulate as their objectives. This raises the question as to who (NGOs, governmental bodies, international agencies) would have the responsibility of eliciting communities' views. There does not seem to be a consensus on who is the best party for this; each situation would determine the dynamics of interventions.

Development processes take time to root. Once priorities are set, therefore, initiatives are necessarily long-term. The exact timeframe, however, would depend on local community capacity to manage without external support. There should be an emphasis on participation and local capacity-building organisational and technical) which would lead to empowerment of the community and act as a check against engendering dependence. This needs to be consciously promoted as far as possible, through the use of local resources (in terms of both skills and money), enlisting the participation of the community at every stage, and providing training and resources, where necessary, to either reinforce the community's own efforts or to initiate new activities. The importance of this approach is borne out by the experience of many projects, heavily dependent on external inputs, which could not be sustained once external support is withdrawn.

Therefore, ensuring sustainability and self-reliance are of paramount importance, and these objectives must guide the entire process of external intervention. A practical step in this process might involve the extension of financial support to local community members so that they may devote full time attention to organising and mobilising work, which is best done by local people themselves.