Community Development > Urban Communities
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This chapter explains how community activists in Complexo da Maré, Brazil, worked to enhance the sense of identity of local residents by recording and celebrating their stories, lives and the social relations that exist, in addition to physically mapping the area for the first time. This participative mapping exercise, undertaken with the support of sympathetic academic and civil society actors, provided an evidence base to make effective demands on service providers. The chapter also refers to the range of strategies adopted by Redes da Maré, from creative approaches to the training of local volunteers, and from the provision of direct services to advocacy and legal tactics.
The chapter considers community development practice in Northern Ireland/the North of Ireland – where even the appellation is contested. The political context and landscape are described to offer a context for the community development and conflict transformation approaches adopted over some five decades. The author examines the politics of peacebuilding as well as outlining community development practice at various phases of the conflict and emergence from overt violence. She also focuses specifically on learning drawn from work undertaken by, and with, victims/survivors of the violence and political ex-prisoners.
The chapter also offers an insight into how development work was undertaken with those communities that were in danger of being ‘left behind’ in terms of community organising. The sensitive and difficult work of addressing inter-community divisions is also described, with an examination of the application of Putnam’s theory of social capital (bonding, bridging and linking) to frame the important task of building relationships among divided communities. The chapter concludes with some pointers for funding organisations that are interested in resourcing community development approaches to peacebuilding.
In this chapter we draw together some of the themes from earlier chapters and outline what we think are the foundations for practice in peacebuilding through community development. We consider some of the theoretical foundations; we try to address some of the questions which practitioners on the ground might have about how you know what needs to be done, how to do it, how long it might take and how you know whether it is working. We also draw particularly on the editors’ experience of working in Northern Ireland as well as an appreciation of the importance of grounded community-based peacebuilding approaches supported by the members of the Foundations for Peace Network – a Network that was co-founded by Avila Kilmurray in 2004.
This chapter examines how local intelligentsia drove community development in the conflict-affected regions, reaching out across the conflict divides and beyond to find allies in their mission. One particularly bright illustration of this is the formation of the Caucasus Forum of NGOs, which between 1998 and 2005 brought together active civil society from across the north and south of the region in a shared mission and mutual exchange. The format was an adaptation for the new and emerging ‘civil society’ of a traditional Caucasian method of dispute resolution, wherein neighbours are invited to play the role of mediator and facilitator.
The chapter provides examples of how through various initiatives the network operated as mediator, dialogue facilitator, civil society capacity builder, early warning and conflict prevention mechanism and an engine for community development. It reflects that the distinctions between national elite and local community development are false distinctions in this context – or where there are ‘local leaders’ who are not part of the ‘elite’, their work is almost completely dependent on them.
In this chapter, the authors explore and build on this theory to discuss their attempts to operationalise it into community development practice in Rakhine State, Myanmar – a region that has seen significant intercommunal and armed conflict in recent years, resulting in two-thirds of the Rohingya population being driven into Bangladesh in an act of ethnic cleansing. This chapter explores ways in which the principles and typologies of ‘everyday peace’ are being translated into community development practice by Vicki-Ann and Anthony Ware and evaluated by Leanne Kelly, in a programme working to strengthen peace formation between villages of Rohingya Muslim remaining in Myanmar and their Rakhine Buddhist neighbours. The authors draw from both their academic perspective and their grounded experience of the practice put in place during this programme of work. The case study demonstrates the conclusion that community development approaches can offer a strong foundation on which to scaffold an everyday peace framework that, in turn, supports the building of inclusive relationships and more peaceful coexistence.
Community development approaches to peacebuilding usually focus on strengthening social cohesion, finding common ground, bringing groups together and negotiation. However, this is not always immediately safe or possible after serious intercommunal violence. The idea of ‘everyday peace’ has recently emerged in the literature, to describe the ways in which ordinary individuals and groups navigate everyday life in deeply divided societies, to avoid or minimise both awkward situations and conflict triggers. At one end of the spectrum, everyday peace may create a safe space in which things appear normal, despite the conflict, allowing people to get on with life. At this level, everyday peace could be seen as the first peace, with inter-group contact after violence, or the last peace in the sense of being the last remaining bridging social capital before total rupture. In this chapter, the authors explore the concepts of the everyday and of everyday peace in detail, highlighting its relevance to community development practice, particularly that which adopts appreciative inquiry and awareness-raising approaches (Elliott, 1999; Bushe, 2011).
This chapter introduces the book, explaining its rationale and purpose. It introduces the reader to an understanding of both peacebuilding and community development. In relation to the former there is a discussion about how the concept of peacebuilding has developed (drawing on Galtung, Lederach and more recent UN definitions). Community development is considered in terms of principles of community development in the context of divided societies (self-identification of community; collective action – participation/engagement; empowerment and the interface with both state and non-state power-holders). The core values and principles of both community development and peacebuilding are used to identify complementarities and differences. The chapter also offers a brief overview of the subsequent sections and chapters.
This chapter places the community-based work described in the context of civil war in Sri Lanka, focusing on 2002–9, a period that saw a fragile ceasefire agreement signed between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government of Sri Lanka, but also witnessed the recommencement of armed conflict in 2006. Describing the challenges faced by communities in East Sri Lanka, that were directly affected by the violence, the authors describe building/developing clusters of grassroots level organisations and collectives based on community development approaches. The chapter describes how the development of sustainable economic activities had to be negotiated in conflict-affected areas as well as examining how the war disrupted gender roles, resulting in community leadership roles being held by women. Finally, the authors share their personal reflections on both the community resilience demonstrated, but also the challenges that remain.
The authors are both writing from the grounded experience of being activist/practitioners – one that worked in a mainstream international development organisation, supporting community-based partner organisations, and the other working with local feminist organisations over the past two decades.
This chapter presents the history of violent political conflict in Nepal and the nature of its impact on local communities. Noting the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of November 2006, it suggests that although this laid out the basic framework for political transition, it did little to effectively address many grievances or to implement commitments on justice and accountability. Indeed, despite almost 15 years since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, there has not been any significant action taken by the state to improve the status of conflict affected communities, and especially the position of women affected by conflict.
The chapter describes the establishment of the women-led peacebuilding organisation, Nagarik Aawaz, in 2001, with a mission to work with local women and youth that had been impacted by the conflict. The principles and strategy of Nagarik Aawaz are detailed and discussed, as is the community development approach adopted. Linking the feminist understanding that ‘the personal is political’, the organisation focused on both personal and community agency and transformation. It also adopted a phased approach to what was achievable, based on both theoretical and grounded analysis. Finally, the chapter considers the importance of space, of trust, the building of relationships and the forging of networks and collaboration to deliver change. The chapter is written from the perspective of an activist who has engaged in critical reflection on practice.
This chapter explores the transformative potential of stories that are told and recorded by Palestinians living in the South Hebron Hills. The chapter explains the Palestinian experience of progressive and violent dispossession, displacement and fragmentation before introducing the collection of stories which are at the heart of the chapter. These stories were recorded during 2018–19 by Palestinians aged 18–30 living in the South Hebron Hills as part of an externally funded programme to protect cultural heritage in countries affected by conflict. From more than 100 hours of recordings, two interviews are considered more closely. The stories demonstrate how the dialogue between the tellers of the stories and the listeners encompasses both the pessimism related to the ongoing dispersal and dispossession of the Palestinian population and the optimism which comes from constructing community through collective action and solidarity across differences of age, gender, location and nationality.