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Selecting and Sustaining Community Programs in Developing Countries

PAQ, Vol. 28 No. 1, (2004)

While academics and policymakers are unified in calling for
community participation in governance reforms in the developing
world, the micro-level manifestation of participation is highly varied
and unsatisfactory. Many participatory programs do not empower
communities and foster democratic governance and many are also not
sustained for long periods of time. Why is this so? This article
advances a theory that program selection and sustainability are the
result of rational choices by influential social groups. In order to
understand participation, academics and policymakers should consider
factors shaping influence profiles and the preferences of those enjoying
influence over program selection and sustainability decisions in
developing countries.

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