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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

Participation: how and for whose benefit?

In reviewing the case studies described in the previous chapter, it becomes clear that there is no one effective strategy which can be formulated, nor is it possible to develop a universally applicable "pack age" for addressing the wide variety of concerns among low-income groups in the urban sector. Every local situation has its own particular characteristics, and interventions must be tailored accordingly. There are, however, certain conditions for success, an essential component of which is the identification of needs and the setting of priorities by the community itself. Well-versed in their own problems and needs and well- endowed with existing forms of organisation the impetus for development initiatives is more genuine, appropriate and sustainable if it comes from within communities, rather than from an outsider attempting to act on their behalf.

Community participation is seen as an end in itself as well as a means: in other words, not just as a way of extending the government's limited resources and increasing project efficiency by sharing responsibility, but as an empowerment goal - a way to increase the community's control over resources and over the direction in which it develops. It is a continuous process which extends beyond the life of any particular project or programme.

As far as VSAs are concerned, it follows that support ought to be given to groups, rather than individuals, with a view to evoking a continuous process of participation. This support could be for production, through credit, raw material provision, training, or marketing groups; for services, through neighbourhood or sectoral or specialised organisations or for other activities as required. Activities for which the impetus has come from the community itself qualify for support, especially in areas of health, education, water/sanitation, infrastructure, etc. Issues of prioritization and choice arise most with housing construction, production and employment concerns: here, most initiatives are taken by individuals or families for their own benefit or profit.

When focusing on community participation as an avenue in "targeting" low-income urban communities for development initiatives, it is particularly important that VSAs recognise and include the concerns of youth and women, and take into account how far these groups have organised themselves. Attempts to ensure participation must allow for an understanding of functions and decision-making roles at the household level.