|The practice of self-help was promoted as the mainstay of community development over the past three decades and is still advocated in several countries; thus, the concept is not an unfamiliar one.|
|Because most African governments are poor, self-help programs unite the efforts of local people and governments to provide essential services.|
|The concept of decentralization, attempted in many African states, "has far- reaching consequences in the promotion of genuine popular participation" ( Yiman 1990: 85).|
|Because self-help programs require the holistic approach to determining the priorities of rural populations, coordination among various development agencies is necessary in order to save time and resources.|
|If successful at the local level, self-reliance also should be possible at the national and regional levels because of its basic principle of "development from within with a minimum external input" ( Yimam 1990: 85).|
Organizations and programs aimed at encouraging the self-reliance of African states have established the important common goals and objectives for creating self-reliant societies. However, many of their goals have not been attained because efforts, such as decentralization, have lacked the right focus. This focus must be on the promotion of local participation as the catalyst for effective programs of self-reliance. Nations like Zimbabwe have shown that the organization of local populations can create self-sufficient states. Local village groups are beginning to realize that their actions and initiatives can have an impact on their development, and governments are beginning to appreciate the importance of local action. It is critical for Africa to continue to increase support for local programs that encourage self-reliance. There are only a few successful African countries, such as Zimbabwe. The success of this country could be emulated by those countries that are
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Publication information: Book title: Sustainable Development in Third World Countries:Applied and Theoretical Perspectives. Contributors: Valentine Udoh James - Editor. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 152.
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