An assessment of the extent of empowerment through community participation : a Kwazulu-Natal rural development comparison

Gumbi, Themba Aaron Philemon (2001-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess the extent of the relevance and success of the empowerment model in facilitating and promoting rural development in South Africa. The assumption was that through active participation communities are able to gain control over their lives and are empowered to promote development successfully. In undertaking this study, the researcher initially reviewed literature on rural development, and thereafter presented and discussed various development methodologies used for realising community development, participation and empowerment. Three case studies selected for an indepth study were distinguishable as follows: the first case that could be regarded as "finished and unsuccessful", the second one that could be classified as "finished and successful", and the third one that could be labelled as "new and ongoing" with respect to rural development projects in the respective communities. A comparative analysis of the three case studies was undertaken with the purpose of establishing the "success" and "failure" in the projects designed to enhance community development and participation. The study shows quite clearly that development projects do not operate in a vacuum but are components of national, social and economic development policies, strategies and programmes for which governments often bear some degree of final responsibility. The success of development projects depends to a large extent on a number of issues, of which community participation and empowerment are the most important. Unless the community actively identifies itself with the project or at the least is involved from day one, in the decisionmaking process of the proposed project, it will be very difficult, if not impossible to achieve the project's developmental objectives. On the basis of the empirical findings, it was revealed that the prerequisites for a successful community development project depend on: a) the encouragement of active involvement, community participation and empowerment of communities for the purpose of enabling them to meet their needs, problems and aspirations; b) the completion in full of the cycle of the development methodology; c) the identification and handling of obstacles in the development cycle as the project unfolds to successful completion; d) the promotion of a facilitative role with regard to capacity building and skills transfer by development personnel; and e) the development of capacity for communities to take control over events influencing their lives (e.g. knowledge, skills, information, networks and support structures to mention a few). In conclusion, it is stressed that the development of people as individuals and as collective groups was central to community development. In doing so, a shift which placed heavy emphasis on resource management and service delivery to capacity building and skills transfer has to take place in order to promote development and social change, making communities progressively minded, desirous of improving their living conditions and capable of doing so through adopting a co-operative way of life for promoting group interests of the community as a whole. From the lessons learned in this study it was shown that the process of rural development can be promoted in a successful manner through the empowerment model which stresses community involvement and participation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie navorsingsprojek was om vas te stel wat die omvang van toepaslikheid en sukses van die bemagtigingsmodel is, in die fasilitering en bevordering van plattelandse ontwikkeling in Suid-Afrika. Die veronderstelling was dat deur aktiewe deelname gemeenskappe in staat sal wees om beheer oor hulle lewe te verkry, en bemagtig sal wees om ontwikkeling suksesvol te promoveer. Met die aanvang van die navorsing, het die navorser eerstens relevante literatuur oor die plattelandse ontwikkeling nagegaan en daarna is verskeie ontwikkelingsmetodes (nasionaal en internasionaal), wat gebruik word vir die realisering van gemeenskapsontwikkeling, betrokkenheid en bemagtiging, aangebied en bespreek. Die drie gevallestudies wat gekies is vir die indiepte ondersoek, word as volg onderskei: die eerste geval kan beskou word as "voltooid en onsuksesvol", die tweede een kan geklassifiseer word as "voltooid en suksesvol", en die derde een kan beskou word as "nuut en in proses" met verwysing na plattelandse ontwikkelingsprojekte in onderskeie gemeenskappe. 'n Vergelykende analise van bogenoemde gevallestudies is onderneem met die doelom die sukses en mislukking van projekte wat ontwerp is om die gemeenskapsontwikkeling en deelname vas te stel. Dit is gevind dat ontwikkelingsprojekte nie in 'n lugleegte geskied nie, maar komponente is van nasionale, sosiale en ekonomiese ontwikkelingsbeleid, strategiee en programme waarvoor die regering meestal 'n mate van finale verantwoordelikheid dra. Die sukses van ontwikkelingsprojekte hang tot 'n groot mate af van 'n aantal kwessies, waarvan gemeenskapsbetrokkenheid en bemagtiging waarskynlik die belangrikste is, tensy die gemeenskap aktief identifiseer met die projek, of ten minste betrokke is van die begin af in die besluitnemingsproses van die betrokke projek, sal dit baie moeilik indien nie onmoontlik, wees om die projek se ontwikkelingstellings te bereik. Die literatuuroorsig het getoon dat die gebruik van ingevoerde westerse norme, standaarde, ontwerpe, regulasies, ens. In die fasilitering van gemeenskapsontwikkeling, in die besonder in plattelandse gebiede, dikwels tot gevolg het dat die projek vervreemding by die plaaslike omgewing veroorsaak. Vir die sukses van die fasiliteringsproses, was vasgestel dat klem op die aanmoediging van, betrokkenheid en deelname by die gebruikers van 'n gevestigde fasiliteit, bekwaamheid oordra en die onderskraging van die projekte inisieer. Op grond van die empiriese bevindings is vasgestel dat vereistes vir 'n suksesvolle gemeenskapsontwikkelingsprojek afhang van: a) die aanmoediging van aktiewe betrokkenheid, gemeenskapsdeelname en bemagtiging van gemeenskappe ten einde hulle in staat te stelom hul behoeftes, probleme en aspirasies te volvoer; b) die voltooiing van die siklus van die ontwikelingsmetodologie; c) die identifisering en hantering van slaggate in die ontwikkelingsiklus soos die projek ontvou tot die suksesvolle voltooiing daarvan; d) die promovering van 'n raadgewende rol ten opsigte van die kapsiteit uitbouing en bemagtigingsoorplasing by die ontwikkelingspersoneel; en e) die ontwikkeling van kapasiteit vir gemeenskappe om beheer uit te oefen oor gebeure wat hul lewens beinvloed (bv. kennis, bemagtiging, inligtingnetwerke en ondersteuningstrukture, om maar 'n paar te noem). Ten slotte is beklemtoon dat sentraal tot gemeenskapsontwikkeling, die ontwikkeling van mense as individue en as kollektiewe groepe is. Daardeur vind 'n groot klemverskuiwing plaas vanaf hulpbronbestuur en dienslewering tot kapasiteituitbouing en bemagtigingsoorplasing. Dit moet plaasvind ten einde ontwikkeling en sosiale verandering te promoveer en gemeenskappe in 'n vooruitstrewende gesindheid te plaas, begeerte na verbeterde lewensomstandighede, en die vaardigheid om dit te doen deur aanvaarding van 'n gemeenskaplike lewenswyse, vir bevordering van die groepsbelange van die gemeenskap as 'n geheel. Wat uit hierdie studie geleer is, bevestig dat deur die bemagtigingsmodel wat gemeenskapsbetrokkenheid en deelname beklemtoon, landelike ontwikkeling wel ontwikkeling suksesvol kan promoveer.

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