A Community-Based Program in a Non-Existent Community

by Kwadwo Adusei-Asante


Community is one of the idealized terms used frequently in contemporary development discourse. This paper argues that community is a complex and portrays the outcomes of development programs that apply it loosely. It draws on qualitative research methods and a case study of the World Bank’s Community-Based Rural Development Project implemented in Abaase in the Eastern Region of Ghana between 2005 and 2011. The analysis suggests that while the concept of community seems appealing, it may not practically exist or may be weak in localities labeled as communities. Thus, the paper argues for the need to design and implement community-based or driven programs in a way that identifies, develops, and targets specific community groups or members, particularly in migrant and transient populations.

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Kwadwo Adusei-Asante is Lecturer and Research Scholar at the School of Psychology and Social Science, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. His research interests include social policy, program impact assessment, international and community development, anthropology of law, and African studies.