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close this bookVolunteer Participation in Working with the Urban Poor (UNDP - UNV, 64 p.)
close this folderII. Insights derived from community-based programmes
View the document(introduction...)
Open this folder and view contentsUrban informal sector
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

Implications for VSAs

The community-based approach used in all the programmes described above is highly labour-intensive in skilled and committed individuals, whether they work as community animators or technically qualified professionals in a training capacity. Flexibility in time and project design are also key, as well as the need to ensure that an actual process of participation, not consultation, is involved.

According to one study on community participation in urban projects in developing countries, the key component is professionally trained staff to assist communities in developing their own projects. Resources to start the projects are often of secondary importance, according to this study, especially since many projects, initiated or supported by NGOs, recognise the need to encourage self-reliant development without dependency. Consequently, project funds were most frequently spent not on physical infrastructural materials, but on the adequate payment of professionally-trained staff to assist the community in developing their projects.3

3 Caroline Moser: Community Participation in Urban Projects in the Third World.

In summary, the human resources in community-based work, especially in low-income urban communities, are extremely important. For VSAs, the implications which follow are significant. The high cost involved in providing professional or other trained personnel for community-based projects means that there is enormous scope for the use of volunteer development workers, including international and national VDWs and community volunteers. Avenues for using VDWs in community-based urban programmes and strategies for involvement will be explored in more detail in the following chapters.