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Community Capacity and Governance – New Approaches to Development and Evaluation

by Banyai, Cindy Lyn, PhD

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This work looks at the concept of community capacity and how it can be advanced to
improve governance. The main concepts explored here, related to community capacity, are
community, social capital, and community capacity building.

The importance of broadening the view of development beyond economic development is
discussed in this work as being both a moral imperative to reduce poverty and a smart way to
approach global and local governance. The areas of economic development and poverty
alleviation are addressed, as well as alternative development with a special focus on rural and
community development. The main concepts are discussed in context of their relationship to
human development and poverty alleviation, being most closely associated with the paradigm of
alternative development.

Major components of public administration are also addressed in this work, focusing on
decentralization, localization, democracy, and participatory governance. Tools to improve
governance are also discussed, including the logic framework, the policy management cycle, and

The epistemological approach employed here focuses on post-modernism and postpositivism
and focuses highly on qualitative research. The research contained in this work is
mostly derived from case study analysis and employs data gathering techniques such as
interviews, surveys, focus groups, and various forms of observation.

The academic contribution of this work is twofold, concept progression and method
development. First, this work develops the concept of community capacity that was introduced
by Chaskin, Brown, Venkatesh, and Vidal (2001) by amending and clarifying the terminology in
the framework and employing a more useable and easily understandable model called the A-A-A
framework. The A-A-A framework is developed through case studies on rural revitalization in
Japan and the assessment of community capacity using the framework in Pagudpud, Philippines.

The definition of community is expanded to include the local government and all
stakeholders, as well as to define the parameters of larger communities, such as the international
community. Additionally, two newly adapted concepts are postulated to further address
alternative development and community capacity building. They are community-driven
economics and community leadership.

The concept of localization is also clarified, particularly in terms of the localization in
evaluation. This is done through the analysis of various efforts to localize evaluation through
JICA trainings and a project for MDG localization in the Philippines. Issues with evaluation in
developing countries are surveyed through analysis of the technocrats that were involved in
evaluation training in Japan. The identification of these issues led to some proposals for
improving evaluation including a focus on assets, qualitative measures, participation, and
guiding concepts.

Regarding method development, two methods of non-traditional participatory evaluation,
participatory photo evaluation and participatory video evaluation, were created to further explore
community capacity. Using trial cases in Pagudpud, the methods were developed to ensure
proper data gathering and to render information that is useable for local public administration.
These unique methods combine action research, participatory research, concept-driven
evaluation, and the use of non-traditional media and have the benefit of providing data for better
local governance and being a community capacity building tool.

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1. Introduction

In the wake of the industrial revolution, a vast discrepancy emerged between developed
nations and those who were yet to be developed. This ever-growing discrepancy has been
the source of strife and conflict across the globe and has garnered a call for the
development of all nations. Development is no easy task and its paradigms, financing, and
practical execution are constantly under scrutiny and up for debate. However, the demand for
peace and harmony, as well as for human progress and the continued success of global
economics has not ceased; thus development is continually pursued on multiple levels.

Through the pursuit of global capitalism, entrepreneurs are constantly seeking innovative
products, new markets, accessible labor sources, and readily available resources. This is taking
business out of the modernized world and into places that are yet to be developed. In regards to
both ethics and sustained profitability, it is of interest for global capitalists to promote and
otherwise be involved in the development process. This is because if a community of interest
has a poor infrastructure, political strife, issues with human rights and social freedoms then
extracting the desired resource, product, or service becomes difficult and ethically questionable.
Therefore, business and political actors alike have an economic and moral imperative to be
committed to development.

A new outlook on development began to emerge in the late 20th century, when a shift from an
emphasis on economic indicators to a more comprehensive vision of social development
emerged. Standard of living began to play a more important role in the formulation and
execution of development initiatives at the local, national, and international levels. Examples of
this trend include the adoption of the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) multiindicator
Human Development Index (HDI) and various commissioned Human Development
Reports (HDR), as well as the ambitious and multi-sectoral Millennium Development Goals
(MDG) (Anan, 2000). As Amartya Sen (1999) argues, development cannot simply be assessed
by economic measures alone, and specifically not by aggregate economic figures.

Social capital can be thought of as the ‘missing link’ of development (Gittell & Vidal, 2002).
It is a key component of capacity and capacity development strategies for the betterment of the
community and to facilitate participatory governance. Community capacity is one way that
social capital within a given area can be identified, explored, and promoted. Through identifying
the characteristics of community capacity and devising strategies to build community capacity,
communities can better reach their potential, leaders and residents can be better informed about
their community and ownership of the community situation begins to emerge to facilitate further

1. Research Problem and Questions

The main issues that have been identified in this work include the growing discussion on
community capacity in development dialogue, a greater emphasis on a more holistic approach to
development, the lagging questions about the concepts of social capital and community capacity,
and the greater responsibilities for service delivery and development strategies that are being
undertaken by decentralized authorities. These problems are explained more fully in the
following paragraphs.

The change in development paradigms, more notably seen since the Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Action Committee (DAC)


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agreed to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005) and the 2008 DAC High Level
Meeting where donors agreed to use local goods and service (see Managing for Development
Results, 2007), has brought about greater emphasis on capacity development and localization.
This work proceeds with the shared problem in mind of the international development field;
there needs to be more emphasis on partnership and ownership for capacity building and the
necessity for a more holistic approach to community capacity development. It is unlikely that
only one universal model of poverty alleviation can be formulated (Paugam, 2002, p. 94), but the
assessment of community capacity and the design of contextualized strategies to build it
incorporated into local policy structure can add to the effectiveness of development and poverty
alleviation policy.

Although social capital has been identified as the missing component of development, there
is little understanding of the ways in which social capital and capacity can be identified, built,
and sustained. Some progress was made by incorporating social capital considerations into a
relational framework for community capacity, as seen in the book Building Community Capacity
by Robert J. Chaskin, Prudence Brown, Sudhir Venkatesh and Avis Vidal (2001). However, the
framework has not been fully explored in relation to rural development and its relevance in
developing communities has yet to be identified. Additionally, the concept of neighborhood, the
unit of analysis for community capacity for Putnam (1993, 2000) and Chaskin and colleagues
(2001), is too limiting for the framework to be widely utilizable. Therefore, an expansion of the
concept of community is necessary in conjunction with clarifying the components of the
framework to improve its ability to analyze a community in context.

Decentralization has made the role of the lower level administrator more important,
especially in relation to the involvement of the community and participatory practices. The
government partnership activities that accompany participatory governance and decentralized
authority rely heavily on the ability of the community to respond to these activities, indeed, it
relies on the capacity of the community. According to B. Guy Peters in The Future of Governing
(2001), participatory governance requires a population of clients who can articulate their
demands effectively, a collection of organizations that are concerned with delivering holistic
services, and relies on the willingness of the citizens to become active participants in the
political and administrative processes. Building community capacity can help a community to
identify the assets that they posses and facilitate participation, effectively communicate their
needs and desires, provide better services, and overcome adversity.

Furthermore, decentralized authorities have a need for consistent administrative and
evaluation systems in order to better serve their constituents and meet their policy outcomes. It
is clear the many evaluation systems are in need of reform; however there is no consistent way to
identify issues in evaluation systems.

In order to examine the problems the following questions are posed:
1. What are the conceptual components of community capacity and how can they be further

developed? (Chapters Two, Chapter Five)
2. What is the relationship between community capacity and human development and

poverty alleviation? (Chapter Two)
3. How is a community defined and how can it be understood practically? (Chapter Five)
4. What are some of effective strategies for community capacity building? (Chapters Two,

Chapter Five, Chapter Seven)
5. How can community capacity be identified in context? (Chapters Five, Chapter Seven,

Chapter Eight)


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6. In what ways can the community capacity framework be refined to better fit the situation

in developing communities? (Chapters Five, Chapter Seven)
7. How do community capacity attributes contribute to the cycle of community capacity?

(Chapter Five)
8. How do community agents and their leadership contribute to the development of

community capacity? (Chapter Five)
9. What is localization of evaluation and why is it important? (Chapter Six)
10. What are some ways that localization is being undertaken? (Chapter Six)
11. How can community capacity building strategies be integrated into a community-level

policy structure? (Chapter Seven)
12. What does community capacity mean in the context of a developing community?

(Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight )
13. Can the community capacity framework be developed into an assessment tool? (Chapters

Seven, Chapter Eight)
14. How can evaluation be more participatory? (Chapters Six, Chapter Eight)

These questions are addressed throughout this work; however the most relevant chapters are
noted after each question.

2. Objective

The objective of this dissertation is twofold. The first goal of this work is to fortify and
expand some concepts related to community, development and public administration. The main
focus is on the progression of the concept of community capacity, particularly in terms of its
relevance to developing rural communities in Asia. Other concepts that are expounded upon
here include community, community leadership, community-driven economics, localization, and
evaluation. The second aim of this work is the introduction and conceptual design of the
methods of participatory photo and video evaluation, as well as the incorporation of the concept
of community capacity into an assessment.

3. Significance

The significance of this work in relation to its contribution to conceptual development lies in
the importance of incorporating the concepts of community, community capacity, community
leadership, community-driven economics, and localization into public management through
evaluation and intervention strategies. By doing so, poverty alleviation, rural development, and
community development initiatives become more effective and sustainable.

The contribution of this work in terms of the development of the methods of participatory
photo and video evaluation is significant because of the uniqueness of combining non-traditional
communication mediums with an evaluative framework and purpose, as well as their practical
applications for public administration and community capacity building.

Furthermore, this work adds to the dialogue on action research, community capacity,
community and rural development, evaluation, governance, and participatory methods.

4. Conceptual Framework


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The two main objectives of this work are interrelated as the revamped concepts lay the
foundation for the development of the new methods, forming the guiding framework for their
execution; thus examining them in context. Community is the unit of analysis for the case study
and evaluation projects, while community capacity is the analytical framework. Below, in
Figure 1, is a model to help illustrate the overall conceptual framework for this dissertation.

Figure - Conceptual Framework

Source: Author

As can be seen in the conceptual framework model, the trends in administration such as
governance, decentralization and localization, as well as evaluation are the practical background
of this dissertation. The theoretical background of development, community, and social capital
help to contribute to the concept of community capacity. The concept of community capacity is
then examined through case studies in Japan and the Philippines and modified in the A-A-A
(Attributes-Agents-Action) Community Capacity Cycle Model (see Chapter Five). Considering
the necessities of the current administrative trends, the A-A-A model is used to guide the
development of the non-traditional participatory evaluation methods that will contribute to
participatory governance in terms of increased policy effectiveness and increased accountability,
and to community capacity building in terms of leadership development, community dialogue
and activation.


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5. Outline of work

This work begins by a review of the relevant literature and concepts in Chapter Two. In this
chapter, the overall relevance of this dissertation will be discussed followed by a look at
economic development and poverty alleviation, the paradigms of alternative development, rural
development, and community development. Discussions on the conceptual backgrounds of
community, social capital, and community capacity will follow. The last section of Chapter Two
explains some community capacity building strategies including leadership development,
organizational development, community organizing, and inter-organizational collaboration.

After the introduction to the theoretical background guiding this work, the practical concepts
of governance paradigms, practical formats, and trends are discussed in Chapter Three. These
governance issues include democracy and participatory governance, local governance, and
decentralization and localization. The public administration section of Chapter Three looks at
the practical tools of the management cycle, the logic framework, and evaluation.

The fourth chapter of this dissertation covers the data collection methods used to obtain the
information in this work. It outlines the research paradigms of post-modernism and postpositivism,
as well as the reflexive and adaptive qualitative research approaches. The specific
modes of information collection in Japan, the Philippines, and from other sources are detailed.
Support for the various data collection methods such as case studies, participant observation,
action research, the use of photography, focus groups, interviews, and surveys is offered.

Chapter Five is the academic contribution of this dissertation in terms of conceptual
development. Community is suggested as a suitable unit for analysis and policy formulation, as
well as an all-encompassing system with potential conceptualization on multiple levels. The
community capacity framework from Chaskin and colleagues (2001) that is offered in Chapter
Two is expanded and amended to be more practical, useable and adaptable to rural and
developing communities. Case studies from rural Japan are examined in order to further clarify
the basic component of community capacity, its attributes, agents, and actions. Through these
case studies the new concepts of community leadership and cyclical community capacity
emerge. These conceptual explorations formulate the impetus for community-driven economics,
which is discussed at the end of the chapter.

Chapter Six, is dedicated to the conceptual and practical development of localization and
evaluation. The ways in which localization can be undertaken and its benefits are examined
through issues with evaluation in developing countries and case examinations of the Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-Nepal Strengthening of Evaluation and Monitoring
System (SMES) project and the localization of the MDGs in Jagna, Philippines.

The proceeding two chapters are dedicated to the field work and projects conducted in
Pagudpud, Philippines. Chapter Seven provides an introduction to the municipality, its initial
policy structure and assessment of community capacity using traditional evaluation techniques
such as interview and survey.

Chapter Eight is the second important contribution of this dissertation, the introduction of the
unique methods of participatory photo and video evaluation. This chapter examines the
theoretical background that contributes to these methods and provides the basis for their success
and contribution to governance and community capacity building, as well as their conceptual
design. Then, the details of the trial cases for the methods of participatory photo and video
evaluation respectively, and their subsequent public exhibition are explored. The implications of
the findings from these projects helps to build the picture of community capacity in Pagudpud, as


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well as points to the positive implications of employing these types of participatory evaluations,
namely in terms of community capacity building and governance.

The last chapter of this work provides an overview of the entire dissertation, summarizing the
literature review and methods, answering the research questions, reiterating the work’s
contributions to academia and practice, and discusses the further implications of the material
presented here and future directions of this work.


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2. Development, Community, Social Capital, and Community Capacity


e must rethink the financial system from scratch, as at Bretton Woods
(Sarkozy, 2008).” The recent economic turmoil has brought some issues
to the forefront that have been apparent in development economics for
more than a decade: structural adjustment programs are deeply flawed,
investment to promote production for export has had negative effects on the poor (Friedmann,
1992, p. 5), markets do not self-regulate (Greenspan, see Andrews, 2008), and government
interventions are necessary to promote sectoral growth and economic stability. With these issues
in mind, new economic ideologies are being discussed by leaders from around the world.

On October 8, 2008, as the world began to realize the full brunt of the financial crisis,
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said "the financial world crisis will need a
strong regulation in the matter of financial markets and capital movements throughout the world.
A new Bretton Woods will be needed." The recent financial crisis demonstrates the existence of
a global economy with pervasive links and effects. As Ms. Kirchner notes, due to the links of
the global economy, there is a need for new strategies for regulation and global economic
infrastructure. This new thinking should be undertaken with a new emphasis on both
international links and the importance of all global stakeholders, no matter how small.

The Bretton Woods Institutes (BWIs) were an important first step in bringing order to the
international economy. However, they were based on a few flawed ideas and assumptions. One
of the most glaring issues is its power based organization that highly favors rich nations (Sachs,
2005, p. 287), which typically leaves debtor countries virtually voiceless. As the global
economy grew the BWIs have been criticized for not being inclusive or truly participatory and
overly favoring rich nations.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), a BWI, has borne criticism due to their pressure to
force structural changes modeled on first world economies and the propensity to leave ill-suited
governments, whom are often corrupt, debt laden at the expense of the quality of life of their
constituents. IMF backed initiatives have led to riots, coups, and the collapse of public services
(Sachs, 2005, p. 74). This in combination with academic and public outcry against some of the
questionable practices and tactics employed by the BWIs has led to a paradigm shift and a search
for more effective approaches (Sachs, 2005, p. 74).

The perspective that wealthy nations take in the BWIs separates them from other nations.
The world economic system has been modeled, molded, and promoted on the ideology of the
dominant economies whilst assuming a sort of cultural or systemic superiority, rather than
recognizing that their dominance may most likely stem from an accident of timing or geography
(Sachs, 2005, p. 39). Furthermore, economically privileged nations are concerned with
preserving and promoting their economic interests, while other countries are primarily focused
on development and providing basic services to their citizens. It is this vast paradigm
discrepancy that contributes to the malfunction of international economic institutions. While
there is much discussion on how to address the necessary changes to the international economic
system from the first world perspective, this chapter seeks to offer the perspective of the
challenges and necessary changes through the scope of developing nations by placing
development and sustainable livelihood as the a priori issues in international economic reform.

With the ever growing trend toward fractured societies, specialized communities, the
widening economic gap, and the highlighting of insiders and outsiders, something needs to
change in order to save us from ourselves. The idea that capitalism or democracy will save us is


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nearly dead; for too long we have been mired in the conversation about which political or
economic paradigm is paramount, forgetting all the while about the details of human existence
that make any one of the popular paradigms palatable; long life, comfort, happiness, stability.
These factors, the ones that each of the megaphone-mouth demagogues of their paradigms touts
as the reason they should be the dominant power, are the reasons that any of us 6 billion sheep in
the herd would even dare listen to the blaring discourse. These human factors are what we all
search for in our daily lives and they can be found in our communities.

It is only now that the first world is learning what the second and third world learned a long
time ago: the principles of free market economics, trade imbalances and unbridled economic
gains benefit few and exacerbate the income gap, leaving many dispossessed and in poverty
(Collier, 2007; Friedmann, 1992; Sachs, 2005). The bulk of the poor, 67% as of 1998, live in
Asia, particularly the southern and rural parts (Kanbur, Venables, & Wan, 2006, p. 1; Quibria,
1993, p. 1).

Currently, the global financial system relies on the benevolence of the Group of Seven (G-7)
and developing economies are no exception. If the G-7 are doing well then there is a
“permissive environment for growing economic prosperity in other countries (Cooper, 2005, p.
67).” However, if the first world has any sort of economic blip or panic then their benevolence is
withdrawn, often into protectionism and economic nationalism, and “…other countries would
find it difficult to sustain growing economic prosperity no matter how good their institutions and
their policies were (Cooper, 2005, p. 67).” This is not a call to revert to planned economics;
however, it is a referendum on the popular thinking of how both local and international
economics and development should be undertaken.

Furthermore, there is a necessity to focus on poverty, and the economic development and
advancement of what Collier (2007) has called “the bottom billion,” the poorest billion people in
the world. Continuing to ignore this cadre of global citizens makes the entire world less secure,
and more vulnerable to socio-political and economic instability (Collier, 2007, p. 3). The gap
between the underdeveloped and the poorest of the poor is widening, with the average person in
the poorest society having an income that is only one-fifth of that of the average person in a
typical developing country (Collier, 2007, p. 10). The World Bank (WB) has established the
rather arbitrary $1 a day poverty standard and later added the $2 a day indicator to describe low
income around the globe (2002; 2003). There are 2.8 billion people in developing countries
living on less than $2 a day (WB, 2003). However arbitrary the standard is, it helps to establish
statistics and indicators in the quest to address the needs of the poor. It is worth noting that the
WB and other international donors have broadened their definition of poverty to include human
development and quality of life (Cling, 2002, p. 29; WB, 2002, p. 2; WB, 2003, p. 2) and this
expansion of the concept has begun to help in the process of domestic and international policy
making on development and poverty alleviation.

In addition to economic indicators of poverty, there are quality of life indicators that
demonstrate stark contrasts in the ability of the bottom billion to escape poverty and otherwise
lead lives deserving of human dignity. An example of this is can be found in the poors’ ability to
access water and proper sanitation. According to the 2006 HDR, about 1.1 billion people in
developing countries have inadequate access to water and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation
(Watkins, 2006, p. 7). Among those without proper access to water, two-thirds live on less than
$2 a day with the remaining one-third surviving on less than one dollar a day (Watkins, 2006, p.
7). There are more than 660 million people without sanitation living on $2 a day with more than
385 million living on less than one dollar a day (Watkins, 2006, p. 7). These facts are truly


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