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Oxfam development casebooks

Empowering Communities

A Casebook from West Sudan (new)

Peter Strachan with Chris Peters

Empowering Communities is an account of the Kebkabiya project in the west of Sudan The project began as an attempt to improve food security in the wake of a major famine, but over the years many other initiatives have been introduced Oxfam initially managed all the project activities; but responsibility for the project has been largely handed over to a community-based organisation The account of the increasing involvement of the community, and the creation of democratic structures for managing the project, provides valuable insights into the way in which a participative approach to development can result in empowerment for communities One particularly interesting aspect of the work in Kebkabiya is the way in which the problem of women's impoverishment and disempowerment within a strongly patriarchal society was addressed

There were many setbacks and problems to be faced The general insecurity resulting from a long-running civil war was an ever-present threat to project activities The economy of the country was unstable, and rapid inflation threatened the viability of savings and credit schemes. The concept of democratic representation was not part of the traditional culture Peter Strachan considers these problems, and how they were tackled, and reports the views of the people involved, to give the reader a real sense of development in action.

• Peter Strachan worked for Oxfam in Sudan for three years, and was particularly concerned with the development of the Kebkabiya project. Chris Peters is a writer and researcher on development issues, and is the author of the Oxfam Country Profile Sudan: A Nation m the Balance (1996).

April 1997, 0855983582, paperback 96pp illustrated, £7.95, $12.95

 

Disabled Children in a Society at War

Casebook from Bosnia (new)

Rachel Hasite

This casebook analyses the lessons for working with disabled children learned from a radical and ambitious programme initiated by Oxfam UK and Ireland at the height of the civil war in Bosnia.

As elsewhere in Eastern Europe, disabled children in former Yugoslavia were traditionally cared for in centralised institutions which were run by State-paid professionals. When State services began to break down under the pressure of war, Oxfam assumed responsibility for one such centre in Tuzla. The emphasis of the centre gradually evolved from the provision of clinical services to the integration of the children into the local community. This alternative approach slowly won the support of the local authorities and the project is now regarded as a model.

This book, written for planners and project officers in non-government development organizations, examines three major themes:

• Development in conflict - how is it possible to work on long-term social development projects in an unstable society?

• Disability in conflict - when war politicises disability, how does this affect different groups of disabled people?

• The social model of disability in a post-communist society - what happens when the western European approach to disability, which depends on individuals and groups being free to campaign for their rights, is introduced into a State which is still making the transition from the collectivist values of communism?

• Rachel Hastie was until recently Oxfam's Deputy Country Representative for Bosnia, managing a programme of relief distributions and projects for women and disabled people

April 1997, 085598 373 6, paperback 96pp illustrated, £7.95, $12.95