Community-driven development and indigenous, ethnic minority, and disability issues


Which, if any, community driven development (CDD) programmes explicitly discuss or deal with indigenous or ethnic minority issues? Which, if any, CDD programmes explicitly discuss or deal with disability issues?


Few CDD programmes explicitly address minority issues. Many programmes target vulnerable groups such as women, youth, disabled, ethnic minorities, but as one group rather than distinguishing their differing needs. Few programmes are targeted specifically at vulnerable groups alone. Many programmes focus on reducing poverty and vulnerability, with the implicit assumption that this will automatically include vulnerable groups. The wider literature on CDD inclusion tends to look at elite capture of CDD processes, rather than social inclusion. As a result, minority populations are usually included via policies to encourage their participation in planning processes. There is very little evidence on CDD programmes’ impact and outcomes for minority groups.

It is possible to draw together a few commonalities throughout the programmes:

  • Language and communication are barriers to participation. Information should be disseminated in local languages and non-written forms. PWD may need information in Braille, audio or picture forms.
  • It is important to have facilitators drawn from the minority community.
  • Programmes need to have a specific focus on vulnerable groups. It is not sufficient to assume they will be included in community-wide projects.
  • CDD tends to benefit and be controlled by elites and leaders. Minority groups lack power and influence over these processes.
  • Personal relationships with powerful actors appears to be the most common method for minority groups to have their voices heard.
  • Minority groups are often quite well-included in community planning processes in terms of presence. However, they do not generally exert much real influence on sub-project choices.
  • Minority groups are mostly included in policies and planning documents, particularly in the World Bank early stage assessments.
  • Disability needs can be taken into account by ensuring infrastructure sub-projects are mobility accessible.
  • Some programmes track the number or per cent of minority groups attending meetings as an indicator of inclusion.