Barriers to Community Participation in Development Planning: Lessons from the Mutengene (Cameroon) Self‐Help Water Project

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The study draws on the experience of the Mutengene, Cameroon self‐help water project to: (i) underscore the indispensable role of community participation (CP); and (ii) identify and discuss leading barriers to CP in development planning. Eleven constraints, including the paternalistic posture of authorities, prescriptive role of the state, embellishment of successes, selective participation, inattention to negative results, hard‐issue bias, intra/inter‐group conflicts, gate‐keeping by leaders, excessive pressures for immediate results, lack of interest, population size, and belief systems, are discussed. Efforts to promote understanding of CP as a viable strategy for implementing capital improvement projects in LDCs are recommended.

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Community Development Journal, v. 37, issue 3, p. 233-248