ALCOM Information Service aims to improve networking and information sharing within development...
ALCOM Information Service aims to improve networking and information sharing within development projects
working in the region. From this issue, ALCOM News will be featuring selected regional development projects. If you want
your project to be featured as an information source please send details to the ALCOM Information Officer.
UNV DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENT
SERVICE POVERTY ALLEVIATION
WITH GRASSROOTS PARTICIPATION
The Domestic Development Service (DDS) is a grassroots development branch of the United Nations Volunteers
(UNV) Programme. It works together with community-based groups and NGOs to promote and support self-
help initiatives of communities. DDS operates today in 15 countries in Africa, with similar programmes in Asia
and Pacific Regions.
How the programme operates
DDS is a participatory development programme: it is based on the assumption that development efforts yield the
best results when they stem from local initiatives and rely on the resources and skills available in communities.
The principal actors are the communities themselves; their work is facilitated by UNV/DDS Field Workers who
are experienced community development workers with special expertise in a variety of fields related to rural
development. These volunteers live and work within the communities which have requested their assistance.
Following the needs expressed by the people, they help communities identify, initiate and carry out self-help
projects, give advice and suggestions on organization of work and improvements in general living conditions.
They also provide training in technical skills and help communities and groups in identifying other training
opportunities and sources of financing.
Rationale of programme
DDC is an African exchange programme, a form of technical cooperation between developing countries. The
Field Workers are international volunteers recruited from all over Africa. In May 1995 there were 166
UNV/DDs Field Workers from 23 African countries serving in 15 countries; Benin, Burkina Faso, Botswana
Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, Guinea, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Togo, Uganda, Tanzania,
Zambia and Zimbabwe.
While working in another country, the Field Workers are exposed to different ways of thinking and doing. This
sharing of ideas and experiences, technologies and skills, is a valuable asset when the volunteer returns home to
resume work in national development efforts.
In countries where the Programme is operating, communities which feel they could benefit from the services of
DDS can approach a local NGO or other organization which will forward their request to the DDS Country
Officer or UNV Programme Officer at the UNDP representation. The local organization will act as the Field
Workers host organization, supporting him/her and the community in their work. The DDS Country Officer is
in charge of planning and coordinating the work of DDS in the country and liaising with the national
authorities, NGOs and other reference groups for programme development.
DDS in Zimbabwe
The DDS Programme in Zimbabwe started in 1989. The official national cooperating partner is the Ministry of
National Affairs, Employment Creation and Cooperatives. Other local collaborating partners include the
Zimbabwe Self-Help Development Foundation, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, Zimbabwe
Womens Bureau and three locally-based NGOS, all of whom host DDS Field Workers in the country.
In line with the governments newly launched Poverty Alleviation Action Plan, the Zimbabwe DDS Programme
today is working towards poverty alleviation. In this context, it seeks to improve communities capacities for
self-reliance in terms of food production, employment creation, income generation and social well-being. An
example of DDS work in Zimbabwe is the integrated aquaculture-agriculture project in Mutoko District, run by