Self-designed Development (106)

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Development initiatives are often designed and implemented by outside professionals, politicians and wealthy elites. Neither community empowerment nor fundamental sustainability plays a central role in many of these interventionist projects. Before would-be developers attempt to define the nature of development for a particular community or region. Peoples must proactively assert their own paradigm as a challenge to the problems that have come from vertically planned development schemes often engender. The professional development community should not always assume that a community wishes to be or needs to be developed. Rather, support to communities should be pursued based on invitation. For the communities this is an opportunity to empower themselves and to project the ways in which they wish to interact and be defined in the process of modernization. It is an opportunity to exert their own sense of identity and influence their livelihoods as best and most effectively as possible in the face of outside forces that are seeking to define their collective futures.

Text: Justin Smith