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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Village-level institutions and popular participation in Botswana
Author:Silitshena, R.M.K.
Year:1989
Periodical:Review of Rural and Urban Planning in Southern and Eastern Africa
Issue:1
Period:November
Pages:43-62
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs., ills.
Geographic terms:Botswana
Southern Africa
Subjects:rural development
rural society
popular participation
villages
Institution building
Social participation
Abstract:Popular participation is now considered essential if rural development is to take place. Botswana has introduced a rural development strategy that places emphasis on participation. Such participation would have to be exercised through existing local institutions. The key institutions in this case are the headman and the 'kgotla' - indigenous institutions which have been shaped by both colonial and postcolonial experience, and the village development committees (VDCs) - nonstatutory voluntary organizations without legally enforceable powers either to raise funds or to enforce sanctions. However, these institutions are not participatory and this affects their ability to mobilize the rural population for development. The traditional institutions have been further weakened by postcolonial legislation, which has taken away some powers and functions from the traditional institutions and vested them in the newly-created VDCs, which, however, have not taken root. Besides suffering from organizational problems, the VDCs face a dwindling motivation of the people to participate in voluntary activities. The VDCs can be made more effective if people are made to feel part and parcel of what they stand for. This is likely to happen if policies are adopted that emphasize real self-help and participation of the local people. Abstr., bibliogr.
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