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University of Zululand (2008)

The role of rural women in sustaining small-scale community development, problems and successes : a case study of KwaNdaya Umbumbulu KwaZulu Natal

Hadebe, Mendi

Titre : The role of rural women in sustaining small-scale community development, problems and successes : a case study of KwaNdaya Umbumbulu KwaZulu Natal

Auteur : Hadebe, Mendi

Université de soutenance : University of Zululand

Grade : Master of Arts in Development Studies 2008

Résumé
The purpose of this study was to examine the role played by rural women in development. KwaNdaya case study will be used to show their role. History has shown that rural community development programs in the past have been based on a variety of policy approaches, but many have not addressed women’s roles as producers, caregivers and reproducers. Women’s work, priorities and lives have not been incorporated into development agendas and policies, and as a result many development projects have failed. Women need to be seen as having the role of producers, caregivers and reproducers, all being essential for the maintenance of the family and community system. The assumption that there is some universal position that all women occupy in all societies must be eradicated. This is a descriptive exploratory study that explored the major role of rural women who are practicing small-scale community development project. In addition the study highlights the challenges and successful stories as reported by rural women in the study. This study was conducted in a remote rural area of KwaZulu-Natal Province. The population for the study was women who are working as a co-operative in their community production centre. The KwaNdaya production centre steering committee was used as a focus group to collect data, unstructured interviews was conducted, a questionnaire was formulated and used to ask open-ended questions concerning their project in the Zulu language. Participatory research was used at KwaNdaya because it emphasizes the concepts of people, usually the oppressed whose concerns inform the focus of the research (Freire, 1972). Participatory action research (PAR) was also applied, because it claims to be an approach with less exploitative qualities than research which treats people as research material and as objects, such as ordinary surveys and especially research which uses people as test cases (Reason, 1990:142 Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) principles were applied while gathering information at KwaNdaya that is, learning from, with and by local people where local people’s criteria, classifications and categories was used. Their understanding, indigenous knowledge, viewpoints skills and practices was discovered and appreciated. Qualititative content analysis was used to analyse information that was collected as Huysamen (1994:36) confirmed that the qualititative analysis is less abstracted and closer to raw data analysis since it is in a form of words, which are context based and also can have more than one meaning. It was found that at KwaNdaya Production Centre women are faced with so many challenges but still are working together on a daily basis to achieve their goal that is, the alleviation of rural poverty and still their project which is small-scale in nature, is almost sustainable.

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