Community development : a discussion of the concept and whether or not it has the potential to contribute to effective and sustainable development in the third world
There are five key issues underlying this topic area which I intend to focus on in this project to contribute to a better understanding of whether or not a community development approach is likely to contribute to more effective and sustainable development. They are: • What is development and how has it been interpreted by development agencies during the last fifty years?; • Why have other approaches to development failed to achieve effective and sustainable results?; • What is a community development approach and how does it differ to community development of the 1950's and 1960's and other new approaches which are currently fashionable (such as participatory approaches, green development and empowerment)?; • Is a community development approach likely to make development aid in the area of resource management more effective and sustainable?; and • If so, what methods are available to a resource manager who wants to use such an approach and what are their strengths and weaknesses? This report is structured in accordance with the five key problems mentioned above. In the first section the concept of development and the history of policy approaches to development assistance to the third world are explored. This illustrates how thinking has evolved during the last fifty years and outlines why community-based participatory approaches having become increasingly popular in the 1990's. Following this discussion is a review of the factors that academics, development practitioners and third world peoples have pinpointed as causes of failed development initiatives. This includes reflection on my own experience of a development process in Cambodia. The third section of this report explores the concept of community development. It considers how it has been interpreted differently throughout the history of development. The relationship between community development and other approaches espousing community involvement are also explored. Community development is by nature an interdisciplinary subject as it has economic, ecological, cultural, social and political dimensions. Accordingly, the discussion in this section reflects the views of a range of disciplines. The word limit necessitates a generic discussion rather than a detailed assessment of perceptions of distinct disciplines. In the fourth part of this report, I assess whether or not I think a community development approach is likely to contribute to better development projects and environmental outcomes. Following on from this is a section containing two research agendas. One is for academics and development agencies and outlines the factors which I consider need further research if some of the issues in development are to be better understood. As I recognise it will not be possible to resolve some of these in the short term and that development projects will continue to be implemented, I have also provided a research agenda and strategy to assist resource managers to achieve better development initiatives in the short term. The final part of this section considers methods which might assist a resource manager to access, process and integrate information as part of the research process, in order to better understand and resolve resource management issues in developing countries. This section is followed by concluding comments.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsdevelopment; community development; sustainable development; participation; resource management; Cambodia
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