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close this bookPromoting Organized Self-help through Co-operative Modes of Participation (HABITAT, 1984, 61 p.)
close this folderPart three the organization of training programmes
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View the documentCase study the Lusaka urban project, Zambia*


Finding appropriate techniques for teaching people about co-operative modes of participation in human settlements is different because most existing teaching materials are not particularly relevant to the reality of low-income settlements in developing countries. Most current methods of instruction are based on the concept of trainer and trainee, with clear roles given to both, which means that the trainee is usually expected to play the role of a passive disciple. Co-operative modes of participation, however, require a type of training that, instead of enhancing individual knowledge, mobilizes collective action and the practical solidarity of the group. It is questionable whether existing formalized training programmes on cooperative housing possess the degree of sensitivity for community participation which is necessary when dealing with a lengthy and complex process of cooperative development.

The choice of a suitable organizational pattern for the promotion of co-operative modes of participation is determined by the objectives, scope and duration of the improvement programme. It is useful to distinguish between forms of organization that have the character of informal groups (self-help, economic and social purposes, or building groups for joint construction of houses) and formal organizations, such as housing co-operative societies, co-operative building construction societies, labour contracting co-operative societies, production co operative societies (e.g., craftsmen societies or societies for the production of building materials), savings and credit co-operative societies, and companies geared to promoting participation on a cooperative basis by means of adjusted bylaws etc.

The formal organizations have to operate in accordance with the existing legislation, which implies, for instance, that a minimum membership is mobilized. Because they are legally recognized entities, they normally enjoy certain advantages which may be denied to the informal groups - for example, limited liabilities and the authority to borrow money from the Government, banks, foreign agencies etc. Their immediate objectives are to secure land titles or acquire land; strengthen the legal status of squatter residents vis-a-vis the authorities, and promote access to technical assistance or government - aided schemes. In such formal groups as co-operatives, credit unions and building societies, a wide range of training on the part of participants is required before the group is legally recongized.

Informal groups have no general rules to follow in the organization and management of their daytoday activities. Rules are agreed upon by the members and vary from group to group.