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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

Factors determining support possibilities

When attempting to work with low-income urban communities, determine support possibilities and target potential entry-points for interventions, certain factors should be considered:

* Promoting community-based activities and participation should build upon cohesive factors such as:

- conditions for greater group solidarity: common struggle against harassment by authorities, landlords and moneylenders

- capacity to organise politically and influence government

- pressure to improve educational and skill levels

- escape from traditional social barriers and constraints

* Community-based activities are also facilitated by:

- concentrated location
- kinship ties and common origins (ea. refugees)
- high motivation for self-improvement, especially among migrants

* At the same time, there are a number of negative characteristics that would argue in favour of outside support to programmes:

- explosive population growth and competition for scarce resources and services

- breakdown of family ties and traditional forms of mutual help

- high incidence of crime, drug addiction, alcoholism, violence and access to socially harmful forms of expenditure

- difficulty of producing food for subsistence consumption (dependence on wage income)

- special vulnerability of women and children (child labour, victims of violence, prostitution)

- health consequences of high pollution levels, exacerbated by working at home and absence of adequate shelter

- psychological pressures bred by density, lack of privacy, recreational space, unmet expectations, commuting difficulties and the expense of transport.

* There are several positive factors which may be singled out for employment-promoting schemes, such as:

- a coincidence of workplace and living sites

-activities that use local raw materials, limited skills, simple technologies, small credit amounts, no formal education

- considerable mobility between jobs

- relatively few obstacles to working women and sharing work within the family

- strong incentives for cash rather than subsistence production

- better access to information (employment, market, wages)

* For the provision of basic services (health, education, housing, transport, nutritional supplements), factors include:

- density of population for delivery of basic service packages
- self-help housing suited to needs
- investments required for environmental improvements
- gender sensitivity in selection, design and delivery