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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

Acculturation and language training process

Most interventions will consist of a variety of community, national and international VDWs. Living and working in communities, usually for two to three years, makes it mandatory that VDWs are fully aware of the socio-economic and cultural setting of the community. Community and national volunteers bring with them the advantage that they are already well-versed in the context of their own country. For international VDWs, however, language training and acculturation may be necessary, and VSAs should plan accordingly. A mixed-team approach to projects also mitigates the problems of language barriers.

It is important to keep in mind, however, two operational principles relevant to acculturation:

(i) community organisations and NGOs frequently have a limited capacity to accept, internalise and act upon externally introduced ideas, programmes and strategies; and

(ii) this capacity may be further constrained by the lack of formal education of most or many community members, as well as any residue of negative experience with "outsiders" who may be in positions of power.

Consequently, VDWs should adjust their pace according to the capacity of the community group or NGO with whom they are cooperating. In addition, communities themselves have a considerable store of practice wisdom to offer, which may complement the work of VDWs. This point was eloquently illustrated by one of the long-serving expatriate workers of the Undugu Society of Kenya:

"In an NGO, the only way to address the root cause of poverty is by giving people confidence in their capacities in solving their problems. People should realise that development starts in their minds, not from the money they get. If people want to change, they can, since they have the capacity, the intelligence and the opportunities."