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close this bookVolunteer Participation in Working with the Urban Poor (UNDP - UNV, 64 p.)
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

A sense of ''community''

Working from a community-based perspective, however, requires the existence of community-based organisations which reflect the views and actual concerns of the majority of community members. While a "community" in the strict sense of the term may not exist in all low-income urban areas, the common problems and concerns which people face in a sometimes hostile environment can create a sphere of common interests, and a certain sense of solidarity. In the best scenario, these common needs could prompt community action to promote interests appropriate to all its members.

The sense of community is most clearly expressed when a group of migrants confront the authorities for the right to settle on a piece of land. Other examples of joint efforts or self-help activities include improving environmental or living conditions by upgrading housing or building drainage; arranging for garbage disposal; organising security measures; or attempting to establish access to utilities such as water supply and electricity. In other words, the inherent dynamism found in most communities is capable of taking them beyond the survival level to launching further developmental activities.