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Lessons from participatory community development in informal settlements in Honduras

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Title: Lessons from participatory community development in informal settlements in Honduras
Author: Patzer, Stephanie
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Rural Planning and Development
Advisor: Gibson, Ryan
Abstract: TECHO presents a unique case of current facilitated community development practice. It is a youth run organization, operating in 19 countries in Latin America, which seeks to facilitate community development in informal settlements. TECHO engages youth between the ages of 16 to 30 years old in the coordination and support of the development projects selected by the communities with which they work. This research studies the case of two rural communities working with TECHO in Honduras, El Ciprés and El Porvenir. The focus of this research is the participatory planning and development model that the organization has developed, called mesa de trabajo. TECHO's mesas de trabajo are working groups that consist of community members of informal settlements and youth volunteers who collaborate on identifying, prioritizing and resolving problems that act as barriers to overcoming poverty and low quality of life. TECHO's mesa de trabajo model is the cornerstone of the work that TECHO does and reflects a facilitative and participatory approach to community development. The objective of the research is to examine two of the mesas de trabajo that TECHO Honduras has developed in two different communities in rural and peri-urban areas. The results of the case study highlight how both TECHO and the community members manage to execute community development best practices as described in the literature as well as reveal important lessons learned while overcoming and circumventing barriers that they face. In addition, the study contributes to further improving their methodology for facilitating community development as well as identify lessons learned from their current practices.
Date: 2018
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