Changing people, changing lives through public participation and social transformation: A south African case study of a rural development programme
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During 2009, in what seemed to be a return to RDP-style thinking, the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) was adopted nationally to tackle not only underdevelopment, poverty, unemployment, and other social ills, but also to enable ‘rural people to take control of their destiny’ with the support of ‘well-structured community organisations’ called Council of Stakeholders (CoS). Most existing studies, however, tend to devalue the CRDP, describing it as ill-conceived. This study investigated three Western Cape wards in South Africa, finding that both governmental and non-governmental actors had a less negative view and were actively trying to pursue a new form of co-operation. It is the only programme that attempts to be truly intergovernmental and community-based. The study’s results suggest that the CRDP can contribute to a deep process of change and empowerment. This change, in turn, could contribute to desired larger-scale changes and concerted collective action to drive development in locally appropriate ways.