The accomplishment of effective community development : a case study of methods applied in the community of Zwelihle

Abstract :

The goal of this study is to determine, which of two development approaches, i.e., the “bottom-up approach” or the “top-down” approach (or social development and social engineering, respectively) have been successful in determining the felt needs of the community of Zwelihle.

For this purpose a needs assessment was executed in Zwelihle community, close to Hermanus, in September 2001. The assessment procedure was done according to the Priority index and Community profile method (P+C-index), applying the Schutte scale during semi-structured focus group interviews. “Qualiquantitative” data (quantifies a qualitative response) was gathered from five different neighbourhoods in Zwelihle, each with different priority needs.

Previously to this study, another community development project, the “housing project”, was conducted in 1998 in the community of Zwelihle and more specifically in Thambo Square, presently named Airfield, fulfilling a housing need. The present study only considered the first three phases of the development process (needs assessment, problem identification and planning) to be relevant, of which all these phases have been executed and completed by the “housing project”. However, no further follow-up phases of the community development process have been executed since the completion of the P+C index needs assessment.

Each of these two involvements in the Zwelihle community had a different approach to development. The former, the P+C index needs assessment, had a social development approach (bottom-up), and the latter, the “housing project”, had a social engineering approach (top-down). By applying a measuring tool, the principles and features of effective community development (Swanepoel, 1997:3) during the initial, needs assessment phase, an attempt was made to determine which of the two approaches have been successful in determining the community’s “felt” needs and in so doing have managed an effective community development process.

The finding was that the P+C-index method, as far as the first phase of community development was concerned, applied all the community development principles and reflected the features of effective community development. Although the outcome or characteristics of these applied “principles and features” may not be recognised or measured, this present study has realised these principles and features during the needs assessment phase. The “housing project” has fallen short in applying any of these principles and did therefore fail to reflect any characteristics of an effective development process.

The differences between the two approaches essentially are that the P+C index empowered the community, by allowing the members at “grassroots” level participation in order for them to personally express their “felt” needs during focus group interviews. The ‘housing project’ on the contrary has allowed the community at “grassroots” level participation but only to a certain extent, by filling out questionnaires identifying a “real” need (“top” down need identification). The community leaders, though, were allowed to speak on their behalf.

In conclusion, it may be possible to determine which of the two mentioned approaches have been successful in determining the “felt” needs of the community of Zwelihle and in doing so have been effective, by socially developing the people.



Author Bouwer AC
Date Accessioned 2016-09-22T08:35:28Z
Date Available 2016-09-22T08:35:28Z
Date Created
Identifier URL 2005
Language English
Subject Residential areas
Subject 2 Residential areas
Alternative Title
Degree Type Masters degree
Degree Description  MPhil (Social Science Methods)