Title

Promoting self-reliant community organizations at village level : perception of the members and the field level facilitators

Publication Date

1-1-2001

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Marla Solomon

Abstract

Over the past decades, offering development for the people by outside actors has created a dependency of communities on the outsiders. 'Self-reliance' has drawn attention as a new paradigm of development and promotion of self-reliant community organizations as means to achieve that. Development Association for Self-reliance, Communication and Health (DASCOH), a Swiss NGO, is supporting local NGOs in Bangladesh in promotion of self-reliant village based community organizations. In each village, a Village Development Committee (VDC) has formed in participation with the rich, poor, male and female members. The main purpose of this paper is to explore the perceptions of various categories of VDC members and staff of local Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) regarding self-reliance and promotion of self-reliant community organizations in relation to the model facilitating by DASCOH. Qualitative collection of data was used through conducting Participatory Reflection and Action (PRA) sessions with different categories of VDC members and the PNGO staffs. The study concludes that self-reliance in development and promotion of self-reliant community organizations is a concept composed of a number of interdependent elements related to philosophy of human living, psychology of the community members, influence of societal and macro development institutions, application of compatible methodology and approach and roles of facilitators in promotion of the process. The study indicates that the different classes and genders have opposing views of self-reliance due to a lack of agreed upon standard of collective living. The ways of self-reliance are constructed by a confluence of two opposites in relation to cooperation and conflicts between the class and gender, participation as means and end, professionalism and attitudes of NGO staff as facilitator. The paper recommends the relation between changing human psychology and societal structure as well as application of participatory methodology and deconstruction of dependency psychology has to be viewed as interactive rather than temporal. Other recommendations include viewing organizational development and management, as well as leadership, as part of social disciplines, and additionally changing the problem-centered development planning into a prospect centered approach. A number of further research questions are suggested for better understanding and effective application of recommendations made in this paper.

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