Date of Submission

Spring 2017

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Sanjaya DeSilva

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Why should we and how do we incorporate a community-based development model into the design, implementation and targeting of experimental programs? This project is motivated to create a useful theoretical framework or “lens” for development that reflects social reality, one which sees communities, the space of patterned, meaningful interpersonal relationships, as a locus of development. It is interested in ways that such a framework can help design adaptable policy innovations/developmental programs and come up with successful and sustained solutions to pressing human needs. First, a “lens” of community is developed for analysis using findings from behavioral studies, historic observations, philosophy, anthropology and Herman Daly and John Cobb’s economics for community. Then, development in a community is posed as a function of the “health” of community-relationships, the evaluative criteria for health being open communication of needs, responsiveness to (one-another’s) needs and concern for (one-another’s) needs, a lack of which indicates “relationship-failures”. After critically reviewing the literature on Randomized Control Trial evaluations in education, it shows how programs which incorporate a lens of community, by being mindful of relationships-spaces in their designs, are adaptable to different community contexts; and programs that focus on improving community relationships and target relationship-failures can find solutions to pressing needs; ones that may be better sustained than programs that don’t. The project concludes by offering a way ahead for development program design and evaluation that is attentive to key aspects of community-relationship health and incorporates a flexible, long-term understanding and model of community based development.

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Open Access

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