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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 inter-sectoral nature of the many concerns of low-income urban communities implies that VDWs working in a single area of specialisation may only, at best, make a small contribution to meeting their needs. For interventions to be comprehensive and responsive, there must be a coordination of activities at local, municipal and national levels. The experience points to the synergistic process of linking activities in housing, health, education and income-generation at different levels. In situations where a VSA has decided to work through both government and non-government/community group delivery channels, a team approach may help to facilitate closer coordination and an improved understanding among the different levels and institutions involved.

A three-tiered structure of personnel support may function well in a variety of situations: local organisers from within a CBO or local NGO; VDWs; and more specialised or higher-level personnel from local governments, or from project teams supported by international aid agencies. In cases where immediate government links are not required, the three tiers could be the CBO, the NGO and the VSA.

VDWs should be fielded, therefore, not as individuals, but as members of a team, which could take on various forms:

- a team comprising a balance of external animators and professional-technical specialists, responding to an analysis of the situation, needs and potentials of the low-income urban communities; or

- a team comprising international VDWs operating in partnership with national VDWs from the cooperating NGOs or community groups, or in partnership with officers of cooperating government agencies.

Community volunteers, as individuals who are well-versed with the local landscape and well-endowed with the respect of local communities, would also be an integral part of these projects.