The capabilities approach and appraising community development programmes in Christchurch


This paper summarises the results of a participatory appraisal methodology study carried out with groups of participants in two Christchurch based community development programmes - Sydenham Community Development Project and Manuka Cottage in Addington. Based on the capabilities approach of economist Amartya Sen the methodology extends strategies used in previous studies of participant perspectives in development initiatives in Vanuatu and Samoa. Analysis of the transcripts of the focus groups conducted in these studies reveals significant outcomes from both programmes. Particularly important was the ability of the participatory methodology used to gain the perspectives of a wide range of participants, a number of whom are marginalised from mainstream society. The predominant views among participants in all groups are reported. The prevailing sense of local ownership of both programmes together with the reputation of the community development workers are key motivators in attracting people to the projects and retaining their involvement. Discussion is provided of the limitations and difficulties encountered during the course of the study. A major theme in all of the discussions was that participants had experienced a significant increase in their confidence. Many saw their time in the programmes as very important means in becoming more involved in the community and making new contacts.


Schischka, J.




Conference Contribution - Full Conference paper


Schischka, J. (2008). The capabilities approach and appraising community development programmes in Christchurch. Presented at the Aotearoa New Zealand Development Studies Network Conference 2008: Peripheral Vision, Wellington, New Zealand.

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