Community participation, community development and non-formal education

Visit to Lower Kamula village in Kenya: Female Empowerment Session by C. Schubert (CCAFS). Sourced from Flickr and reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) licence.

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Community participation, community development and non-formal education. In this piece, Marjorie Mayo explores competing perspectives based upon different theoretical approaches to social change, and to combating poverty and disadvantage. This piece was first published in 1994.

contents: introduction • non-formal education and community education • competing definitions and perspectives in the contemporary context • the state and top-down v bottom-up approaches to community • programmes to promote non-formal education, community participation and development in the South – in practice • conclusions •  referencesacknowledgementshow to cite this piece

Although community participation and community development are terms that have such current connotations, both have actually been around for some considerable time.   In the post-Second World War period, community development was defined as a ‘movement designed to promote better living for the whole community with the active participation and on the initiative of the community’. This definition arose in the context of strategies to promote development in Britain’s colonies (Report of the Ashridge Conference, 1954, quoted in du Sautoy 1958: 2). People’s participation, then, was built into the whole approach and interwoven with community development.

Since then, however, these early community development programmes have been criticised on a number of grounds, including the view that despite their commitment to participation and ‘bottom-up’ approaches, many of the programmes were actually still paternalistic. They have a focus upon getting ‘backward people in the right frame of mind’, which typically involves providing unpaid ‘voluntary’ labour for colonial development projects (Manghezi, 1976). Because of this association of ‘community development’ with a colonial past, the term has been effectively abandoned, in some quarters, in preference for the term ‘community participation’, emphasising as this does, participatory, rather than paternalistic approaches to development.

But the term community development is still being used, both in countries in the South, and countries in the industrialised North, and not necessarily in paternalistic ways. In Britain recently, for example, the local authority organisation, the Association of Metropolitan Authorities has defined community development as being in essence about:

working with and alongside people, rather than for and on behalf of people, in order to tackle discrimination and disadvantage and the feelings of powerlessness experienced by many people in Britain today… Community development is about the involvement of people in the issues which affect their lives… It offers an exciting method through which individuals can develop their knowledge, skills and motivation, identify the common threads of problems which they experience in their lives and work collectively to tackle these problems (AMA 1993: 9).

So, as this item will explore in more detail, these terms have been contested, and used in different ways, depending upon the perspectives of the users.

The emphasis on ‘participation’ became formalized in a number of United Nations reports. According to Midgley et al (1986: 23) the notion of popular participation and that of community participation are interlinked. The former is concerned with broad issues of social development and the creation of opportunities for the involvement of people in the political, economic and social life of a nation, ‘the latter connotes the direct involvement of ordinary people in local affairs’. One United Nations document (1981: 5) defined community participation as:

The creation of opportunities to enable all members of a community to actively contribute to and influence the development process and to share equitably in the fruits of development.

As Midgley et al (1986: 24) comment this is a very general definition and raises as many questions as it answers.

Non-formal education is often contrasted with informal education and formal education:

  • informal education (learning arising from everyday encounters),
  • non-formal education (learning programmes provided by voluntary or non-governmental organisations), and
  • formal education (schooling).

It is easy, as Fordham (1993) points out, to end up in unproductive argument about what examples fit into which category.

Non-formal education and community education

You will already be familiar with some of the historical connections between adult education, non-formal education and community education and development in Southern countries. Non-formal education in Africa developed from a number of strands, including mass literacy programmes and community development, starting with the Jeanes Schools in East and Central Africa between the wars, and evolving into broader programmes associating education with other community development activities. In addition, this history included the strand of agricultural extension (Thompson 1981). This connected history forms the common background to the development of both non-formal education and community development and participation, in both Southern countries and northern, industrialised countries.

‘Non-formal education’ has been popularised in relation to poor countries. But the term has been applied to industrialised countries too, particularly in the context of work with groups who have been disadvantaged in terms of economic, social and educational opportunities, (including working class communities, the unemployed and women and ethnic minority groups who have suffered discrimination) as part of strategies to combat poverty, deprivation and social exclusion (See Lovett 1994: 2). Over the past two decades, there have been a range of policy initiatives to tackle these types of problems in both urban and rural contexts in the so-called developed countries in Europe, north America and Australia, as it became increasingly clear that economic development had failed to meet the economic and social needs of the growing numbers of people who were suffering from poverty and social exclusion.

Lovett (1994) shows that different models of community education can be placed in relation to community organisation, community development, community action, cultural action and social action. These approaches rest upon competing theories and different assumptions about the causes of poverty and social exclusion, and involve divergent implications for the role of community education and development in combating poverty and disadvantage. Here I want to explore some of the ways in which programmes to promote non-formal education, community participation and development have been developed in Southern as well as northern industrialised countries. I will look at some of the ways in which there has been cross fertilisation, and shared learning between Southern and northern industrialised countries’ experiences.

Competing definitions and perspectives in the contemporary context

Broadly, for the purposes of this item, perspectives based upon different theoretical approaches to social change, and to combating poverty and disadvantage can be categorised in terms of three major types:

1)   Theories based upon a view of society as resting upon an underlying consensus of interests, within the market economy; such theories include New Right, laissez faire/free market approaches.

2)   Theories based upon a view of society as containing competing interests, which need to be negotiated, within the market economy; such theories include pluralist, reformist and social democratic approaches.

3)   Theories based upon a view of society as containing fundamentally conflicting interests which arise from conflicts which are inherent in the market economy; such theories include structural conflict, dependency and Marxist approaches.

Theories about the role of the state, together with theories about top down and bottom up approaches to development (including social development in general, and non-formal and community education and development, more specifically) do not fit neatly into these three approaches, but cut across them, as I shall set out to explain, in the next section.

But first, what do I mean when I categorise theories into this threefold classification system? You may have already come across the first type of theories, in relation to perspectives on development, linking of economic growth to the operation of the market economy. The benefits of this type of development are supposed to ‘trickle down’ to benefit all sections of society, from the wealthy and powerful to the poorest and most disadvantaged. This type of assumption was increasingly questioned from the late 1960s and 1970s, as it became increasingly clear that this was not being borne out by the facts. ‘The poor became poorer, rural areas stagnated, unemployment became greater (and because it was urban, more visible) popular participation was nowhere in sight’. By the end of the 1980s, there were estimates that between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of the world’s population lived in households which were too poor to obtain the food necessary to maintain sufficient energy levels. Children in the poorest countries have been most vulnerable, in terms of their health (with the decline of mortality slowing down and the prevalence of diseases increasing, linked to deterioration in nutritional standards) and in terms of their educational attendance and attainments. (UNICER 1989)

As these facts became clearer, there were re-definitions of development to take account of the importance of achieving social goals, to improve the quality of life of the less privileged, as well as simply to promote economic growth. And there were corresponding shifts of emphasis in relation to education, including non-formal education, and programmes for community participation to promote people-centred development.

This takes us logically to the second type of theories, drawing upon pluralist, reformist and social democratic type approaches. According to these, the requirements of the market economy, and economic growth cannot automatically be expected to trickle down to the poorest and most deprived. On the contrary, there are different and competing interests in society, and economic growth may benefit some of these interests whilst actually disadvantaging others. So policies for economic growth need to be balanced against social policies to ensure that the weaker interests in society are not further disadvantaged. The state typically has a major responsibility here, along with international agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to ensure that development meets the needs of the poorest and most deprived as well as the needs of the wealthy and powerful. For example, whilst emphasising the importance of free market mechanisms for ensuring economic growth, a number of key international agencies have also come to emphasise the importance of strategies for poverty reduction, for meeting basic needs.

This type of thinking has also underpinned many of the programmes to promote community education and community development, to try to ensure improvements for poor and disadvantaged and excluded individuals and communities, within the context of anti-poverty initiatives in Britain and the European Union (Lovett considers some of these initiatives such as the British government’s Community Development Project; see also Room 1990 for a discussion of EC programmes).

Whilst there has been some shift in this direction over time, as the failures of ‘trickle down’ economics became clearer, over the 1970s and 1980s, it would, however , be far too simple to imply that New Right, free market, trickle down approaches have waned in their influence. On the contrary, in fact, as economic growth became more problematic, with worldwide recession, from the mid 1970s, there was actually increasing emphasis upon the importance of freeing up the market, to re-stimulate economic growth. These types of policies have been associated with the New Right in Britain and the USA (Thatcherism and Reaganism) and they have had considerable influence on the countries of the South through key international agencies such as the World Bank and the IMF (Glennerster and Midgely 1991). There is no space here to develop the discussion of the impacts of free market, trickle down strategies on the poor and the poorest in the south. If you are interested in this topic you might like to read more about this (see, for example, .g. the Christian Aid pamphlet on the impact of structural adjustment programmes Who Runs the World 1994, or Lipton 1991, or Meskoob, 1992). The point which needs to be emphasised here is that free market trickle down approaches have entailed major restructuring of the role of the state/public sector, to divert resources from social spending, including spending on education and health, towards directly productive investment for economic growth. Typically, poor countries in the South have only been able to secure loans from the World Bank /IMF on condition that they have implemented programmes of this type to restructure their economies and public spending (Structural Adjustment Programmes). These have included cuts in social spending of this type, often accompanied by increased charges, for services, such as higher school fees, and greater reliance on voluntary effort and self-help. And the remaining spending on education and training has tended to be far more concentrated upon what are seen as more directly productive vocational ends. This has all had major effects upon programmes for education, including non-formal education, and for programmes to promote community participation and development.

But before discussing these effects in more detail, the third category of theories also need to be summarised. Broadly, these start from a fundamental questioning of the New Right, free market, trickle down approaches – more fundamental than the pluralist, reformist type of approaches. Dependency theorists such as Gundar Frank, for instance have argued that countries in the south are poor, not because the benefits of economic growth have so far failed to trickle down to them, but on the contrary, they are poor because others, in the rich industrialised north are rich. The poor are getting poorer precisely because the rich have been getting richer, and because there are fundamentally unequal relationships between the rich and the poor, on a global scale (Frank, 1969). Whilst Marxists have had criticisms of Frank’s ways of explaining these unequal relations, they have also argued that there are underlying conflicts of interest within market economic relations, and that far from economic growth necessarily trickling down to benefit the poorest, it can be expected to lead to further polarisation, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Meanwhile, in periods of global recession, the rich and powerful attempt to maintain their advantages in the face of growing economic difficulties, by increasing the pressures on the poor and disadvantaged.

Freire’s distinction between education for domestication and education for transformation rests upon the view that there are different and potentially conflicting interests in society. He poses education for domestication and education for transformation in terms of polar opposites and either/or categories (although you will also remember that he has been criticised for presenting them in such sharp contrast without allowing for overlaps and more complex interrelationships between the two). Education for domestication implies that the poor and relatively powerless are educated to know and accept their place within the established order, whether or not this brings them proportionate benefits. In contrast, education for transformation involves a process of dialogue through which the poor and disadvantaged become more fully conscious of the sources of their exploitation and oppression and more effective in working for development for social justice. Education for transformation would be consistent with the third type of approach. As you will remember, Freire’s work has had a major impact upon development education, both in countries of the South and in the industrialised North. Whilst acknowledging a common debt to Freire’s ideas, however, in reality, there has also been some considerable diversity amongst the wide range of projects and programmes which describe themselves in terms of education for transformation. (Youngman, 1986). It is important to remember, then, that real life development education is typically more complex, and tends to be more resistant to neat categorisation than either/or models would seem to suggest.

The state and top-down v bottom-up approaches to community

So where do debates about top-down v. bottom-up approaches fit into these three different types of theories about development? I have already suggested that there is no neat fit to be found here either. Clearly, the very fact of distinguishing between top down and bottom up approaches implies that there are potential conflicts of interest here. Bottom up approaches have been justified in terms of the importance of learners being empowered to define and plan to meet their own learning needs, rather than having their needs defined for them, by those at the top. This would seem to fit within the third type of approach to development, based upon the recognition of structural conflicts. Given the potential conflicts of interest, which are inherent in the third type of theory, those who argue from this third type of theory, such as Freire, would tend to question how far top-down approaches, whether from employers or from the state, would be inherently more likely to tend to be of the domesticating than the transformative variety.

But does that mean that those who work within the framework of the first type of theory, emphasising the role of the free market and New Right laissez faire, would necessarily support top-down programmes, led by employers and/or the state? This is where the fits becomes less neat. Because although free market approaches to economic development and growth have certainly tended to emphasise the importance of education and training, (including adult and community/non-formal education) being focussed upon the needs of the economy, as defined by employers, they have not necessarily argued for this to be provided primarily through the state.

Some employers have indeed looked to the state to meet their needs for a suitably skilled and disciplined workforce. But, more generally, there have also been contradictory attitudes towards state provision, amongst free marketeers. This relates to a wider emphasis on rolling back the state and reducing public expenditure, amongst the New Right, whilst encouraging the role of both private sector and voluntary, not-for-profit, and community/non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Community participation and bottom-up/self help have similarly been advocated from this perspective, too (Mayo, 1994).

As I have already suggested, community participation and development have gained widespread emphasis, from very varied quarters, including international agencies such as the UN and the World Bank, as well as from national and regional governments and from non-governmental and community based organisations (NGOs and CBOs). People’s participation and bottom-up approaches to development have been advocated as a means of ensuring that Third World (southern) development projects reach the poorest most efficiently and cost effectively, sharing costs as well as benefits, through the promotion of self help (Paul, 1987). As the Human Development Report (UNDP 1993: 1) argued, people’s participation was the central theme for the 1993 report on Human Development because this could ‘unleash people’s entrepreneurial spirit – to take risks, to compete, to innovate, to determine the direction and pace of development’.

This approach fits into the first type of theories, emphasising common interests within the free market. Community participation and development, according to this view, are essential to encourage entrepreneurship and self help. They also help to reduce public sector expenditure by sharing costs, and ensuring that development projects are cost effective in meeting needs. Community participation can also increase projects’ acceptability. Overall, this type of approach has been characterised in terms of legitimising market-led strategies, providing the human face for structural adjustment programmes (Craig and Mayo forthcoming). Non-formal education programmes within this type of framework emphasise community participation in terms of self help and economic development. They also tend to focus upon such aspects as ‘functionality’ in terms of the ‘improvement of vocational skills for more productive use of time’. This was one of the three key aims of adult education in India, in the mid 1980s (Ministry of Education 1985). This Indian programme also involved the voluntary sector, as well as government agencies, and used volunteers, as part of an overall strategy to involve communities actively. This all sounds as if it would fit into a view of non-formal education for ‘domestication’ in Freire’s terminology.

Arguing that community participation and development can be promoted as part of free market, New Right agendas is not at all to imply that there have not been other pressures at work. In reality, even agencies such as the World Bank have also recognised that there are other aspects and perspectives, including pressures for community participation to be geared towards the empowerment of the poor. The Human Development Report (1993) similarly defines community participation in terms of access to decision-making and power, as well as in terms of economic participation.

The Indian government programme included the aim of increasing awareness as well as increasing functionality, defining awareness in terms of ‘making the learners capable to shape their own future’. As the next section will consider in more detail, in practice a number of examples illustrate ways in which programmes to promote community participation and development and non-formal education have actually included competing aims and objectives. This involves setting out to promote economic growth with minimal public resources on the one hand, whilst, on the other, involving some degree of government and international agency support for popular participation in terms of empowerment. (Although the term empowerment itself is also a slippery one, which can be used to imply both more and less radical transformative objectives). This brings such programmes closer to Freire’s view of non-formal education for ‘transformation’.

This emphasis upon participation, conscientization and transformation has, of course, also featured in a range of voluntary/NGO sector programmes, in India, as well as elsewhere. [1]

This has been the starting point for theorists of the third type (based upon the recognition of structural issues and conflicts). According to this approach, community participation and development and non-formal education can play a more tranformative, rather than a domesticating role. It entails their being geared towards people’s empowerment, in the fullest and most radical use of that term. In other words, empowerment in this sense, is about the powerless, the poor and the deprived and excluded, becoming conscious of the underlying sources of their exploitation and oppression (Freire’s ‘conscientization’) and collectively, as communities and as a class, becoming active agents in their own history. This involves challenging the vested interests of the powerful and working for a form of development which meets human needs within the framework of conscious struggles for social justice.

Programmes to promote community participation and development and non-formal education for conscientization and transformation have been developed by those who broadly adhere to the third type of theories about development, structural conflict theories including dependency theories and Marxist theories, within the framework of organising to change oppressive governments, and oppressive and exploitative global structures. For example, there were non-governmental organisation and church-based programmes to promote education for transformation, in South Africa, as part of wider struggles against apartheid (Walters, 1989). And there have been programmes of this type developed by liberation movements when they have won state power. They are part of their strategies to mobilise popular support and participation in carrying forward the transformation project (e.g. in Mozambique, Nicaragua and Tanzania). As the next section will discuss, however, there have also been potential tensions here, as governments (from the top) attempt to promote community participation and bottom-up, non-formal education for development, as well as a result of external forces and pressures…

Programmes to promote non-formal education, community participation and development in the South – in practice

Having identified some of the different strands, and the three major perspectives which have underpinned programmes to promote non-formal education, community participation and development in the South, we need to look at some examples, to explore some of the ways in which these have been implemented, in practice. In reality, as we shall discover, whilst there have indeed been varying goals and objectives, which relate to differing perspectives, there have also been some common threads, as widely differing programmes have come face to face with the practical realities of similar problems and constraints of an increasingly global nature. Non-formal education, community participation and development programmes have not taken place, after all, in a vacuum, but in various economic, political and social contexts, and these various contexts have themselves been increasingly affected, albeit in differing ways, by wider structural forces, and constraints on an international scale.

Rogers, in his book Adults Learning for Development, has taken the logic of this argument further, to argue that there are increasingly common threads to be identified too, between countries in the South and countries in the industrialised North. Increasingly, he suggests, adult education and training, in the widest sense of planned learning, including both formal and non-formal learning, needs to focus, in both contexts, upon development. By this he means not only development in terms of economic growth, but also in terms of social development. The aim is to ensure that economic growth also meets the needs of the marginalised and the deprived (Rogers 1992). In arguing for the relevance of such an approach to adult learning in the North too, Rogers draws upon a range of examples from different programmes in the South, including programmes to promote both economic and social and political goals (including national integration, and health and family planning, for instance) from India and Africa, amongst other cases. And these programmes have been run from both the public and the non-statutory, voluntary sectors. As Rogers also goes on to argue, there has been increasing focus upon development in terms of people’s participation and empowerment, to promote ‘transformation’ (i.e. in line with the Third perspective, based upon the analysis of structural conflicts). However, the reality has been that the dominant view, that with the greatest influence on major programmes, has been that of ‘growth and modernisation’ (i.e. more in line with the first type of New Right, free market theory). And as Rogers (1992: 112) illustrates, there have been powerful pressures from aid donors, to keep it this way, including powerful pressures from vested interests, pressures which are described in terms of neo-colonialism. (He quotes examples in relation to pressures exerted on southern countries such as India by international agencies such as the World Bank, and by the USA).

Whilst it has been important to recognise the dominance of these international pressures, however, and the difficulties which they pose for programmes based upon an alternative, ‘transformative’ perspective, there have, of course, nevertheless, been a range of examples of just such alternative perspectives being attempted to be implemented, in practice. Poster and Zimmer (1992), for instance, provide a wide spectrum of case material, illustrating ways in which community education in the Third World/South promoted development and self reliance, within a broadly anti neo-colonialist perspective (including examples from the West Bank, from Nigeria, through the use of theatre, from Brazil, working with street children and from Thailand, working on rural development for self reliance.

Amongst well known examples of programmes from this perspective have been the cases of Mozambique, Nicaragua and Tanzania. Adult education in Tanzania, from the 1960s, was directly linked to the goals of both economic and social and political development for democracy and people’s participation. In the post-independence period, Tanzania set out on a socialist path based upon self-reliance as an alternative to colonial forms of development in the past, and the threats of neo-colonialist development for the future. Education for Self Reliance was emphasised, with 1970 being the Year of Adult Education. Following the Arusha Declaration, in 1967, in which President Nyerere set out the goals of socialism and self-reliance, adult education became increasingly geared towards education for development based upon participation. This can be contrasted with what has been described as an essentially more paternalistic approach to education – to ‘show people the ‘right’ way to live’. This was seen as more characteristic of previous approaches (Hall 1975: 118). Whilst there was still emphasis upon adult literacy work, and upon specific skills related to development objectives (including agricultural extension, preventative health education, and workplace education to promote productivity) there was also emphasis upon education to promote cooperation and participation to mobilise the people for development. The Institute of Adult Education became more focused upon supporting mass campaigns, including providing back-up publications, and developing the use of radio. Meanwhile, the adult education college, Kivokoni, (which had been set up in 1961 on the model of Ruskin College, in Oxford, England) became increasingly geared towards providing political education for local leaders, as part of wider strategies for developing cooperation and socialist development and transformation. Hall’s account of the Tanzanian experiences draws parallels with the role of adult education, as a promoter of social change and transformation in other contexts such as Cuba (Hall, 1975). Despite the importance of its achievements, however, Hall also drew attention to the remaining difficulties and limitations. Since that period, from the mid 1970s into the 1980s and beyond, wider structural pressures have made it increasingly problematic for Southern countries, and particularly for poorer countries such as Tanzania to pursue such strategies for transformation, even if they were to retain the political impetus and ability to keep trying to do so (see, for example, Graham-Brown 1991).

Some of the impact of these wider pressures can be traced too, for instance, in the case of Mozambique. As Marshall’s study of literacy work and People’s Power in Mozambique argued, Mozambique’s efforts to construct a socialist form of development were increasingly forced onto the defensive, through pressures both from without (from the Apartheid South African regime) and from within, from the Renamo terrorist counter revolutionary forces. And there were tensions too, she argued, between a view of social change in terms of top-down management as contrasted with a view of socialist construction based upon people’s power. According to Marshall, a “pedagogy of empowerment” had emerged strongly at independence and then receded again as top-down ways of organising re-established themselves (Marshall 1990: 298). However, Marshall also identified ways in which the pedagogy of empowerment began to re-emerge, again, in the mid 1980s. As she concluded, although it was still too early to predict how far this revitalisation would be successful, there had been some real space for ‘people’s power’ ‘for popular initiatives that can engender a new vitality in community and workplace’, as well as set backs, in Mozambique’s efforts to construct socialism under siege conditions (Marshall 1990).

Nicaragua has also provided a case study of adult education as part of a project for transformation, an alternative to the New Right, free market project, which came under siege (in this case, from external pressures from USA, including a trade embargo, as well as from internal conflicts, the Contra war, which was also supported from outside). Discussing the impact which the Nicaraguan experience had made upon adult educators internationally, Payne quotes from a report by a delegate to the International League for Social Commitment in Adult Education’s annual conference (held in Nicaragua in 1989):

In this context (i.e. of strategies for transformation) education is seen as part of a comprehensive programme to empower the majority of the population so that they may participate. In organisations that represent their interests, and through them, in the equitable development of their society. In order to participate fully, people must be able to read, to make calculations, to analyse, to criticise, to evaluate and reflect. The creative forces of education are also needed to enable people to survive during the reconstruction of their society- to raise standards of health and nutrition, rates of production, levels of food self-sufficiency, and the efficient use and conservation of resources. (Harvey 1990)

This was why education, including popular adult education was given such priority.

Even by the time that Payne and others visited Nicaragua, in 1989, this transformational educational project had already been forced into retreat, as a result of the US trade embargo and the pressures and the impact of the Contra war. After the election defeat of the Sandinista government in 1990, World Bank and IMF pressures on the new government to adopt New Right policies led to further erosion of public resources for education, including adult popular education. Nevertheless, as Payne also points out, despite these massive setbacks, in terms of key state support, some adult education work did survive, as a non-governmental project (NGO) with external support.

Even within the constraints of structural adjustment and New Right policies, then, via the NGO sector, some challenges persisted, and there was still commitment from adult educators determined that popular education should continue to support social movements to build democracy and people’s participation (Payne, forthcoming). Despite the global pressures, some spaces had been found for alternatives to the New Right development agenda, including the New Right agenda for education and training for adults. This is in no way to minimise the significance of these wider global pressures. Or indeed to minimise the difficulties which even the most sympathetic governments face, in attempting to support bottom-up approaches, rather than simply imposing top-down approaches to education, including non-formal people’s education, community participation and development; only to suggest that there may be some scope for alternatives, even within the present overall context.


At the outset, I suggested that these experiences in the South might have increasing relevance in the industrialised countries of the North. Rogers, for example, has argued precisely this, as development issues become more important than ever, in the current period of recession and restructuring; and especially so for those disadvantaged and deprived groups who have suffered most, in these processes of change (Rogers 1992). Increasingly, there has been cross-fertilisation between the ideas and the experiences of adult educators and those concerned to promote community participation and development. Freire’s ideas have travelled to and fro between the South and the North. Payne’s account of the International League for Social Commitment in Adult Education’s conference in Nicaragua illustrated similar processes of cross fertilisation, and particularly so, as adult educators were more consciously grappling with similar global pressures.


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The Writer

Marjorie Mayo was a tutor at Ruskin College, Oxford. She also taught at Goldsmiths College, University of London where she is now an Emeritus Professor of Community Development Amongst her publications are Community Work 1 and 2 (1974, 1975 edited with David Jones), Women and Community (1977), Community Action for Change (1985 with Ray Lees), Communities and Caring (1994), and Community Participation and Empowerment (1995 with Gary Craig).

Acknowledgements: Visit to Lower Kamula village in Kenya: Female Empowerment Session by C. Schubert (CCAFS). Sourced from Flickr and reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) licence.

How to cite this piece: Mayo, M. (1994) Community participation, community development and non-formal education. the informal education archives. [  Retrieved: insert date].

© 1994 YMCA George Williams College. This item was originally produced as Unit 3, Item 5 in ICE301 Lifelong Learning for the BA/BA(Hons) in Informal and Community Education. It is published here as part of the informal education archives. Reproduced here with permission (2015).

[1]See, for example, Srinivasan’s [1992] account of growth centred, learner-oriented, non-directive participatory approaches to people-centred education for development, in India, as well as in Bangladesh and the Philippines).

Last Updated on May 19, 2020 by