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Social Science and Medicine. 1985; 21(1):41-53.This paper explores the emergence of an international fad aiding and monitoring community participation efforts and projects its future outcome based on lessons from previous experiences in other than the health sector. The analysis suggests that the promotion of community participation was based in all cases on 2 false assumptions. 1) The value system of the peasantry and of the poor urban dwellers had been misunderstood by academicians and experts, particularly by US social scientists, who believed that the traditional values of the poor were the main obstacle for social development and for health improvement. However, the precolumbian forms of organization that traditional societies had been able to maintain throughout the centuries were not only compatible with development but had many of the characteristics of modernity: the tequio guelagetza minga and even the cargo system stress collective work, cooperation, communal land ownership and egalitarianism. 2) Another misjudgement was the claim that the peasantry was disorganized and incapable of effective collective action. In Latin America historical facts do not support this contention. A few examples from more recent history show the responsiveness and organizational capabilities of rural populations. The Peasant Leagues in Northeastern Brazil under the leadership of Juliao is perhaps 1 of the best known example. The question is thus raised as to why international and foreign assistance continues to pressure and finance programs for community organization and/or participation. It is suggested that the experience in Latin America (except perhaps Cuba and Nicaragua) indicates that community participation has produced additional exploitation of the poor by extracting free labor, that it has contributed to the cultural deprivation of the poor, and has contributed to political violence by the ousting and suppression of leaders and the destruction of grassroots organizations. Information presented on community participation in health programs in Latin America illustrates that they have followed closely the ideology and steps of community participation in other sectors. A country by country examination indicates that health participation programs in Latin America in spite of promotional efforts by international agencies, have not succeeded. The real international motivation for participation programs was the need to legitimeize political systems compatible with US political values. Through symbolic participation, international agencies had in mind the legitimation of low quality care for the poor, also known as primary health care and the generation of much needed support from the masses for the liberal democracies and authoritatrian regimes of the region. Primary health care delivery can be successful without community participation, in contradiction to what international agencies and governments maintain.
In: International Union for the Scientific Study of Population. Economic and demographic change: issues for the 1980's. Proceedings of the Conference, Helsinki, 1978. Vol. 2. Liege, Belgium, IUSSP, 1979. 261-74.Rural outmigration will continue to grow during the 1980's. Although rural development is exhorted by planners, the more sophisticated politics of the cities will continue to dominate allocation decisions. In the 1960's about 100 million people moved to the city; in the 1980's 193 million are expected to urbanize. Development strategies should try to soften the impact. In 1975 there were 10 cities with 5 million or more population; the UN projects 43 such cities by 2000. Cities will experience pressure from rural migration with sharply rising land values, spreading slums, and increased urban unemployment. Food supplies in urban areas will be a problem of increasing concern. Trained city planners are needed for public services, shelter construction, slum management, and allocation of development funds. Moderating rapid population growth through fertility control will influence the strength of migration in future decades. To slow the migration the most important steps to take are as follows: improve the terms of trade of agriculture and develop special programs for expanding rural employment. The World Bank's new strategy is to provide economic stimulation to the poor in ways designed to increase overall national growth, rather than developing lead sectors with the only goal that of growth. Education, housing, health services, and nutrition are the modern investments. (Summary in FRE)
International Social Development Review, No. 2, 1970. p. 28-33.Community development is concerned with stimulating people in decisions to change. Participation and involvement of village members enhances the development process by including them in the change. The question is how to organize administrative and executive machinery without losing local participation. Much depends on individual staff members skill at coordination at all levels of village life. Community development should fulfill certain goals expressed in national development policies. Planning for the fullest use of existing resources, acting as a communication medium, promoting volunteer organizations, modernization, encouraging civic responsibility, using labor surplus, creating conditions for social mobilization, aligning national and local aspirations, and paving way for local government should be the goals of a plan for community development.