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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

General characteristics of low-income urban communities

The strength of community unity, organisation and ability to voice their concerns differs widely, and this must be kept in mind when designing interventions. In Africa, for example, it seems that first-generation migrants to urban areas generally do not sever ties to their respective rural communities. Consequently, they may not develop community relation ships in the urban setting as readily as longer-term urban dwellers. New group formations in urban areas in Latin America and Asia, however, seem to have a longer history of cohesiveness and organisation. Nevertheless, even where there are no clearly established organisations with chosen representatives and leaders, there are usually informal structures through which the views and concerns of the community are expressed. Women tend to play a particularly important role in community organisation and leadership.

Generally, communities with lower income and/or recent migrants tend to be more active than communities which are better-off or more established. Many of the participants in these associations are self-employed in the informal sector, or have a certain degree of time flexibility. Women tend to be the most active community members, especially in Latin America. In addition, the degree and tradition of community organisation varies widely between regions.