How can ordinary citizens - and the organizations and movements with which they engage - make changes in national policies which affect their lives, and the lives of others around them? Under what conditions does citizen action contribute to more responsive states, pro-poor policies and greater social justice? What is needed to overcome setbacks, and to consolidate smaller victories into 'successful' change? These are the questions taken up by this book which brings together eight studies of successful cases of citizen activism in South Africa, Morocco, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Turkey, India and the Philippines.
With the rapid growth in urban poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America, most cities now have 30 to 60 per cent of their population living in shanty towns. The civil and political rights of these people are often ignored or constantly contravened and they face multiple deprivations that arise from dangerous living conditions and inadequate services. None of these problems can be addressed without local changes, and this book contends that urban poverty is underpinned by the failure of national governments and aid agencies to support local processes. It makes the case for redirecting support to local organizations, whether governmental, non-governmental or grassroots. After an introduction from the authors, eight case studies portraying innovative initiatives from government and civil society: the shift from the Urban Community Development Office to the Community Organisation Development Institute in Thailand, by Boonyabancha; the Community Mortgage programme in the Philippines, by Porio et al.; the Mexican National Popular Housing Fund, by Connolly; the Local development Programme (PRODEL) in Nicaragua, by Stein; the work of the Anjuman Samanji Behood in Faisalabad, Pakistan, by Alimuddin et al.; the Municipal Programme for the Reform and Extension of Homes, Casa Melhor/PAAC Cearah Periferia, Brazil, by Cavalcanti et al.; the work of the South African Homeless PeopleÆs Federation, by Baumann et al.; and the Alliance of SPARC, the National Slum Dwellers Federation and Mahila Milani, by Patel and Mitlin. The book is concluded with two chapters by the editors on addressing deprivations in urban areas and the role of local and extra-local organisations.