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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 CBOs

In light of the current interest of international financial institutions and VSAs in working with CBOs, and the growth of local NGOs who are supporting CBOs with their organisational initiatives, it should be possible to identify viable CBOs as spokesbodies for low-income urban communities. For VSAs, it would make sense to work through these existing associations and their leaders and representatives. When identifying CBOs with whom to work, their unique characteristics should be an important consideration in providing support. One must also be well aware of the wide variations in history which CBOs represent. Such factors which influence the particular characteristics of each CBO include:

- the evolution, history and cohesive forces which define the particular type of organisation be it neighbourhood or specific interest-group oriented, or driven by demands of housing, enterprise, service, or politics

- cultural factors (regional, country and ethnic variations) and regional economic circumstances

- other organisations within the same area which might have similar or contradictory objectives

- the organisation's relationship to institutions of power: government, political parties, unions, church, military and police, business, etc.

- its capacity for growth, transformation and willingness to accept, search for, and use outside support

- its leadership and decision-making structures (gender and age-structure analysis is essential)

- its capacity to harness resources, manage activities, reach the relevant target group(s), innovate, launch new/expanded activities, and influence policy

- its relative potential to be an effective partner in relationship to other organisations and the type of volunteer team which would most complement its particular focus and capacity