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close this bookVolunteer Participation in Working with the Urban Poor (UNDP - UNV, 64 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentNote on terminology and abbreviations
View the documentSummary
close this folderI. Urbanisation: recognition and response
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentUrbanisation and poverty
View the documentResponse to urbanisation
View the documentRecognition of ''Self-help'' initiatives
close this folderII. Insights derived from community-based programmes
View the document(introduction...)
close this folderUrban informal sector
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMicro-enterprise promotion
View the documentWorking conditions in the informal sector
View the documentThe ILO experience
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
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
close this folderIV. Programming concerns for VSAs and UNV
View the documentGuidelines for involvement
View the documentSuccess criteria for volunteer involvement
View the documentTaking the initiative
View the documentFlexibility
View the documentMeeting personnel and associated needs
View the documentChannels of operation
View the documentUnited Nations Agencies and their partners
View the documentFunding and other programme concerns
close this folderV. Principles and characteristics of volunteer use
View the documentFunctions and volunteers
View the documentQualities of VDWs
View the documentTeams
View the documentSkill requirements and experiences
View the documentSelection and placement process
View the documentAcculturation and language training process
View the documentEpilogue: follow-up, 1995
View the documentAnnotated reference list
close this folderAnnex: Excerpts from background papers
View the documentUrban development policy issues and the role of united nations volunteers
View the documentWorking with the urban poor: lessons from the experience of metropolitan Lagos, Nigeria
View the documentBrief account of my experience as a DDS field worker and a UNV in Sri Lanka and Jamaica
View the documentSpecial consultation on volunteer participation in working with the urban poor

Low-income housing

Housing is a major concern of low-income urban groups, for which there are several examples of successful community initiatives to meet the need. An excellent example is the FUNDASAL Housing Programme of San Salvador, which received funds from the World Bank. In the late 1970s, the FUNDASAL Programme was building 1400 units a year. FUNDASAL integrated housing construction with community organisation and cooperatives through a two-pronged approach: i) progressive development: construction of each unit in stages dictated by the resources of the beneficiaries: and ii) mutual help: all participating families collaborated by working in groups of twenty to build the initial units. To achieve this, the project relied on a large number of social workers (one for every 150 families) and an organisational structure where every 25 families elected representatives to a central community board. In this way, housing was used as a vehicle for social change, which was considered vital to the broader institutional commitment to the social development of the groups involved and Salvadorean society as a whole.

Another successful example, and the most impressive in terms of its comprehensiveness and scale, has been the Villa El Salvador Resettlement project in Lima, where community self-government was integrated within a very large site-and-service scheme. In this case, it was the government which encouraged community participation in the form of neighbourhood groups through the help of SINAMOS, a state agency.

A major obstacle in obtaining efficient and accessible urban land markets for low-income groups is the inequitable distribution of land, often owned by politically influential families. An innovative solution to this problem is a much-referenced land-sharing case in Bangkok. In this situation, inhabitants of illegal settlements, fearful of eviction, were able to successfully negotiate a compromise whereby they gave up part of the land they had occupied in exchange for security and the right to stay. This example has inspired several similar agreements.

In general, most self-help and participatory approaches to low-income urban housing problems have involved the free provision of land, as in Bangkok and Lima, described above. It is useful to note that while some projects may refer to community participation, they evoke a cost-sharing scheme without capacity-building steps. The Dandora Site and Service Schemes in Nairobi and Lusaka, funded by the World Bank, are two examples where the emphasis of the project was on cost sharing (of the financial and technical project components) and finishing the project, rather than capacity-building. This differentiation should be kept in mind when developing strategies which emphasise participation and building upon local initiatives.