Why self-help projects?
All the countries from which participants came have insufficient
resources to provide infrastructure and services for their population. Self-help
means people making immediate use of the limited resources that are available
with skills that are easy to acquire; this enables more people to gain access to
affordable shelter and infrastructure. Direct self-help means people using their
own labour, to dig trenches or lay water pipes for example, while assisted
self-help means some basic infrastructure, institutional support and even
training is provided by the State, as in site service or core house schemes.
Experience shows that much self-help input is indirect in practice people may
contribute capital rather than labour, by hiring and supervising other
labourers. This is particularly the case in site and service schemes where
income criteria must be met and therefore most people have jobs. Direct
self-help prevails in poor communities where, as in Zambia for example, the
community could compete against contractors for excavation work, thus earning
income in the process.
Self-help may be only at the level of labour, or at the level of
planning and decisionmaking, or both. Numerous examples were presented in the
Workshop of people's participation in planning and decision making. Various
types of training are applicable to self-help projects: training of residents
and leaders, political mobilization of communities and public servants, skills
training for productive employment, and the training of administrative, finance,
technical and community development workers to staff assisted self-help
projects. All of these were discussed in several dimensions by Workshop