Potentialul communitatii/Glosar

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These are not definitions, but notes about concepts related to empowering low income communities. They are directed first to community field workers, but will be of interest to planners, activists, academics, students, researchers, programmers, managers and administrators who are involved with elimination of poverty and sustainable development of low income communities.

As with most of the training material on these pages, you are invited to download these files, print them for training sessions, or to translate into local languages. Do not plagiarize. Please indicate the source. The words are grouped alphabetically. Click on the letter below that begins a word you want to see. We recommend that you also browse through all of the words.

See also: Sociology Glossary

If you have found a word related to community empowerment, and it needs discussion, please write.


Acculturation: The word "acculturation" means the process of learning a new culture, in contrast to enculturation. Often this means moving to a new society where culture is different, but it is also part of the adaptation that we need for coping while our own community changes (ie develops) around us.
Your work as a mobiliser results in social change (development) in the community. Members of that community must "acculturate" (get used) to the newly changed community. See the discusssions on resocialization.

(Deutsch: akkulturation, Español: aculturación, Français: acculturation, Kiswahili: utamadunisho, Português: aculturação)

Headless (ceph = head). In small groups of gatherers and hunters, political structure was minimal, almost equalitarian. Where there were no identifable chiefs or kings, anthropolgists called such groups acephalous.
In modern society, they may be found as temporary and usually changing groups of friends. Only in the smallest and less established communities would you find acephalous political systems.

(Deutsch: azephal, Español: acéfalo, Français: acéphale, Kiswahili: acephalous, Português: acéfalo)

Action takes place when the group, your target group, does something, in contrast to merely learning about it. The most effective training is action training where the participants learn by doing. Your job as mobilizer is to both stimulate and guide community action. You have not mobilized a community if you have brought them together for a meeting or if you have formed a committee that has done nothing yet. You have mobilized them only after they have engaged in action, ie moved.

(العربيّة: الفعل, Deutsch: aktion, English: action, Español: acción, Français: action, 日本語: 行動, Kiswahili: vitendo, Português: acção, Romãnã: actiune, Pyccкий: Действие)

Animator, Mobiliser

(Deutch: animator, English: animator, mobilizer, activist, Español: activista, Français: mobilisateur, animateur, Italiano: animatore, 日本語: 訓練士, Kiswahili: ramsisha. Português: animador, Romãnã: animator)

The actors are all the persons or groups of people who have identifiable tasks, activities or responsibilities in implementing a project. See: role.

(Deutsch: akteur, Français: acteurs, Español: actores, Kiswahili: watendaji. Português: actores)

Aesthetic-Values Dimension of Community:
The aesthetic-values dimension of community is the structure of ideas, sometimes paradoxical, inconsistent, or contradictory, that people have about good and bad, about beautiful and ugly, and about right and wrong, which are the justifications that people may cite to explain their actions.
A dimension of culture. Basic unit = symbol. See "Culture." Learned; not transmitted genetically. Ideology. Values. See dimensions.

(Deutsch: Ästhetische-Werte-Dimension der Gemeinde, English, aesthetic dimension, Español: dimensión ideológica, Français: dimension d'esthétique, Kiswahili: thamani inayokubalika, Português: valores)

The word "affect," as a verb, is a modification on something, caused by some other factor. "When you eat too much you will be affected by heartburn." . The word "affect," as a noun, is related to the word "affection" and means there is some emotional or sentimental feeling. "I think of him with great affect," means I like him very much.

How you go about your work as a community mobiliser will affect the outcome of community response. Do not confuse the word "affect" with the word "effect," which is related to causality.

(Deutsch: affekt, Español: afectar, Kiswahili: atheri, Português: afete, Français: affecter)

This is a society where the main mode of production is based on farming. The word “agrarian” describes the society, not the farming. )

Agricultural Revolution:
Perhaps the single most powerful and influential change in human history was the conversion from gathering and hunting to agriculture (herding and tilling).
Like all social change it tended to be cumulative rather than the new immediately replacing the old. It began perhaps twelve to fifty thousand years or more ago, and continues today. It produced a food surplus which allowed some members of society to produce the food and other members to concentrate on other things.
It facilitated and promoted many revolutionary social changes: urbanism and urbanization, writing and accounting, division of labour, concentration of population, and the formation of social classes based upon allocation of the food surplus (aristocracy, scribes, civil servants, accountants, military, police, traders, legal professions, medical practitioners, engineers, planners, infrastructure builders, trainers, food producers and the disenfranchised).)

The mode of production called agriculture means the human domestication of plants and animals.
The domestication of plants requires some saving instead of consuming all of the harvest, fruit and seeds, for the following growing season (leading to economic and religious ideas of sacrifice and investment). While gatherers consume (or store) what they gather, tillers put some aside to use for seeds the following season.
The domestication of animals requires controlling animals so they could be harvested when needed, are not dangerous to humans, and that their reproduction and offspring might be controlled also (equally leading to concepts of sacrifice and investment).
Raising plants is called horticulture or tilling, while raising animals is called herding, and true agriculture means the combination of both, even though, historically, these two modes were often incompatible; groups specializing in one were often in conflict with other groups specializing in the other. (Cain and Abel story)
Agriculture continues to replace gathering and hunting, which do not call for human intervention in encouraging the supply of the product. The mode of food production is very important in shaping the social organization of a community, and therefore of the methods needed in community empowerment.

Altruism is one of the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. See: Elements of Community Strength. Altruism is defined as the degree to which a unit of an organism (or group) is willing and able to make sacrifices for the good of the organism (or group) as a whole. In sociology it is the proportion of, and degree to which, individuals are ready to sacrifice benefits to themselves for the benefit of the community as a whole (reflected in degrees of generosity, individual humility, communal pride, mutual supportiveness, loyalty, concern, camaraderie, sister/brotherhood).
In human society, perhaps the ultimate act of altruism is to die for one's country. In mobilization, it means willingness to donate resources (including one's own time, labour, energy) to the community without expecting payment. As a community develops more altruism, it develops more capacity. (Where individuals, families or factions are allowed to be greedy and selfish at the expense of the community, this weakens the community). When simulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of altruism in empowering that community or organization.

(Deutsch: altruismus, Español: altruismo, Français: altruism, Kiswahili: si ubinafsi, Português: altruismo)

Potentially, the most dangerous emotion in our work is anger –– how we deal with it. As human beings, we have emotions, and anger is only one of the emotions. It is OK to be angry; that is part of being human. We should not feel guilty or become embarrassed when we feel the emotion of anger. Anger itself is a normal human emotion. We need to accept it when we become angry.
How we act when we are angry, however, can affect our work, whether we are mobilizing communities, co-ordinating volunteers or managing staff. When a client, volunteer, staff or community member makes a mistake, especially one that affects our objectives, for example, we are tempted to show our anger, when that is precisely the time we should be calm and cool.
When we see someone make a mistake that affects our desired output, we need to recognize that seeing it makes us angry and that it is our responsibility to deal with that anger. The best immediate action to take is to go for a walk. If there is not enough time, then we should at least go into another room without displaying our anger, and let it die down there, outside the view of those who angered us.
Then, when we have our anger under control, we can more effectively deal with the thing or event that sparked our anger. If it was a mistake by a client, volunteer, staff or community member, we can take action as described in the key word, Mistake. That action can only be effective if we undertake to do it while being cool, calm and collected.

(Deutsch: wut, English: anger, ire, choler: Español: Ira, Français: colère, Galego: anoxo, 日本語: 怒り, Kiswahili: hasira. Malay: Kemarahan, Português: ira, Romãnã: furie)

Sometimes called social animation, From the classic word anima (life, soul, fire, auto-movement). To stimulate or mobilize a community so that it moves itself, so that it lives, so that it develops.
Sometimes used as a substitute for mobilization. Animation means uniting and mobilizing the community to do what it (as a unity) wants to do.
Community Management Training takes social animation a step further, using management training methods to further increase the capacity of the community, or its community based organizations, to decide, plan and manage its own development. It trains community members and leaders in management techniques needed to ensure the community takes control of its own development.
It also encourages and trains government officials, local authorities and community leaders to abandon the patronistic role of providing facilities and services. They learn to facilitate communities to identify resources and undertake actions to provide and maintain human settlement facilities and services.

(Deutsch: animation, English: animation, Español: animación social, Français: animation sociale, Galego: animación, Italiano: animazione, 日本語: 活発化, 社会活発化, Kiswahili: ramsa. Malay: animasi, Português: animação, Romãnã: animare)

Activist, Mobiliser. See: animation.

(Deutch: animator, English: animator, mobilizer, activist, Español: activista, Français: mobilisateur, animateur, Galego: animador, Italiano: animatore, 日本語: 訓練士, Kiswahili: ramsisha. Português: animador, Romãnã: animator)

To "anthropomorphise" is to consider any non-human thing as if it has human characteristics. This is a problem in biology, for example, where some people talk about a duck or a bear as having a "family" (a human social organism), when they do not.
In sociology and in mobilization, the problem is applied to the incorrect thinking of a social organism, such as a community, as if it had human characteristics. A community is not a human being.

(Deutsch: Anthropomorphose, Español: anthropomorphise, Français: Anthropomorphiser, Kiswahili: anthropomorphise, Português: antropomorfisar)

Apathy is one of the five main factors of poverty and dependency. It is sometimes related to a fatalistic philosophy. "Pray to God, but also row to shore," a Russian proverb, demonstrates that we are in God's hands, but we also have a responsibility to help ourselves.
We were created with many abilities: to choose, to cooperate, to organize in improving the quality of our lives; we should not let God or Allah be used as an excuse to do nothing. (Deutsch: Apathie, English: apathy, Español: apatía, Français: apathie, Italiano: apatia, Galego: apatía, 日本語: 無関心, Kiswahili: usugu, Malay: apati, Português: apatia, , Romãnã: apatie, Somali: naceyb)

Applied Sociology:
In contrast with pure sociology, applied sociology seeks to make changes in society or its institutions. Community empowerment is a branch of applied sociology.

(Deutsch: angewandte soziologie, Español: la sociología aplicada. Français: la sociologie appliquée, Kiswahili: soshiologia itendayo kazi. Português: sociologia aplicada)

Authority is power that people think of as legitimate. The job of the mobiliser is to identify authority in a community, see if it is changing, and try to predict what it will look like in the future. When organising and mobilising a community, the activist must not ignore authority.

(Deutsch: autorität, Español: autoridad. Français: l'autorité, Kiswahili: mamlaka, Português: autoridade, Pyccкий: Власть)

Auto Management:
"Auto Management" is a term borrowed from Spanish mobilizers in Central and South America, "auto gestion." It means that a community manages itself. See Self. See Self Management. It means that the community has taken control over the management and other decision making that affects its development.

(Deutsch: selbstverwaltung, Français: auto gestion, Español: autogestión, Kiswahili: utawala binafsi, Português: auto gestão)

Awareness Raising:
One of your most important responsibilities is to convey information simply and accurately, you want to convey that, yes, there is a problem, but the solution lies with them in the community. See Awareness Raising. Sensitizing. They may assume you bring resources or will solve their problems (thus they get raised expectations), but you must counteract those assumptions.

(Deutsch: bewusstseinsbildung, English: awareness raising, Español: sensibilización, Français: augmenter de conscience, 日本語: 意識を高める, Kiswahili: kuongeza ufahamu, Português: aumento de conhecimento informativo, Romãnã: constientizare)


Basic Sociology:
Basic sociology is contrasted with applied sociology (in which community mobilisation is categorised). See: Sociology.
Basic sociology seeks to make discoveries through observation and analysis of social groups, without attempting to make changes in those groups. Same as Pure Sociology;

(Deutsch: Reine Soziologie, theoretische soziologie, English: pure sociology, basic sociology, Español: sociología teórica. sociología básica, Français: la sociologie pure, sociologie de base, हिन्दी (Hindi): विकेन्द्रीकरण, Pyccкий: Фундаментальная Социология)

The word "because" implies a "causal" relationship, where one condition or action "causes" another condition or action. For action "A" to "cause" action "B" it must be both sufficient and necessary. In community empowerment specifically, and in the social sciences in general, many actions and conditions have multiple causes, so it is difficult to identify a single cause of any action or condition. If "A" is the "cause" then "B" is the "effect" of it.

(Deutsch: weil, Español: porque, Français: parce que, Português: porque)

Because of:
The phrase "because of" means there is a causal relationship between action or condition "A" (the cause) and the action or condition "B" (the effect). Do not use "due to" or "owing to" when you mean "because of." See: Problems of Prediction and Cause.

(Deutsch: wegen, Español: debido a, Português: por causa de)

Beliefs Conceptual Dimension:
The belief conceptual dimension of community is another structure of ideas, also sometimes contradictory, that people have about the nature of the universe, the world around them, their role in it, cause and effect, and the nature of time, matter, and behaviour. See "culture." . Beliefs, like all cultural elements, are transmitted by communicating symbols, not by genetic (biological) inheritance. The beliefs and perceptions of reality shared by members of a community are affected by your mobilizing activities, and should be a major consideration in your planning of mobilizing activities.

(Deutsch: konzeptuelle dimension, Español: dimension conceptual, Français: dimension croyance-conceptuelle, Português: convicções, Pyccкий: Измерение мировоззрения и верования)

Beneficiaries are people who benefit from something. They could be, for example, persons named in a will who benefit by receiving something as written in the will of a deceased person. In a project design or a project proposal, they are the people who benefit from the project.
Beneficiaries could include direct beneficiaries such as the users of a water point that is built by the project. Indirect beneficiaries might be persons trained so as to implement the project. Sometimes beneficiaries of a project are called the target group, but that term is not an accurate description of beneficiaries.
Even though the simple meaning of "beneficiary" is simply a person who benefits (eg from a project), the term implies some patronizing attitude.

(Deutsch: nutznießer, Español: beneficiarios, Français: bénéficiaires, Português: beneficiários)

Involving two parties. From "bi" meaning two. "Lateral" implies that the two parties are parallel or at the same level, but this is mainly a fiction in the aid industry where the donor country wields the power concerning if to donate, and for what purposes.
There is often an implication that the donor country is also morally superior to the recipient. Canada's aid agency, CIDA, has a division called "Bilateral" which administers the donation of aid between Canada and single recipient countries. Compare with "multilateral."
Bilateral aid means government to government aid, including British DFID, American USAID, Canadian CIDA, Swedish SIDA, Danish Danida, and assistance departments of most wealthy and industrial countries such as Germany, France and Japan, as well as local agencies, often commercial companies, that are funded by the bilateral agencies.

(Deutsch: bilateral)

Bottom Up:
The term "bottom up" implies decision making that comes from community members without official status or positions. When the decision making process is seen to be more democratic, starting from the common people and working its way up to centralized agencies and officials, it is deemed to be "bottom up." It is usually contrasted with "top down." The effect of mobilization and the empowerment of low income communities is supposed to be an increase in "bottom up" decision making processes.

(Deutsch: von unten nach oben, Español: de abajo a arriba, Français: de la base au sommet, du fond vers le haut, Português: de fundo tampar)

This is an adjective, and refers to the life style of people who are the "burghers" (same origin –– important people of the town or burg) or shop keepers and factory owners. It implies rigid and intolerant values, and a "proper" life style, reflecting the prim Victorian era of the nineteenth century. It is a popular word among artists, who consider themselves to be members of a class above, and/or not limited by rigid social conventions.

(Deutsch: bourgeois, Español: burgués, Français: Bourgeois, Português: burguês, Pyccкий: Буржуазный)

This word is a noun and, in Marx's terms, refers to the people who own the means to produce wealth. These are the capitalists. Marx wrote that the main conflict in society is between the owners of wealth, and those who sell their labour to make a living. . At the community level, it is important for a mobiliser to identify those people who own and control land (if it is an agricultural community where land is used as a major factor of production) and any other factors of production, and to identify those people who hire others to work for them. It is also important to identify those who own and rent property to tenants.

(Deutsch: bourgeoise, Español: burguesía, Français: La bourgeoisie, Português: burguesia, Pyccкий: Буржуазия)

Brainstorming is a structured social process (in a training session) where a group is facilitated to make participatory group decisions, not dominated by any individual. See "brainstorm." The ground rules and procedures are designed to work together to facilitate participation (especially by those not accustomed to participate or to work in groups) in group decision making. You, the mobilizer, are encouraged to learn the techniques of being a trainer, using the "brainstorm" session as a method of developing group decision making. It can be used in several contexts. The brainstorm is also used by managers and management trainers as a participatory method to encourage staff input into management and planning decisions. See Participatory Management.

(Deutsch: brainstorm, Español: tormenta de ideas, luvia de ideas, Français: remue méninge, Português: juntando idéias)

Burnout, in aid work, means a medical condition of physical and emotional fatigue. As such it is a modern word, and owes its creation to the notion of a rocket that burns out. It is even more common in emergency response work, but happens also in development work.
It is caused by too much enthusiasm, too much travelling, too many meetings, too many obligations, not enough planning, not enough patience, and rapid running about that results in exhaustion. The field worker tries to do too much. For community workers, it can be prevented by various means.
These include: frequent visits by the supervisor, co-ordinator or manager, backstopping (support, encouragement, advice and guidance), frequent opportunities to meet with other field workers in seminars, workshops and meetings with other field workers.
These meetings are to discuss problems, vent frustrations, seek answers and dialogue in response to difficult field situations, and to develop a camaraderie of persons sharing similar experiences.

(Deutsch: burnout, Español: quemarse, Français: grillé, Português: queime fora)


Cain and Abel:
The story of Cain and Abel is found in the book of Genesis in the Jewish and Christian bibles. It is a story about the two sons of the first man, Adam, one of whom is a tiller of vegetables, the other of whom is a herder of animals.
The story is seen by many anthropologists as a myth that explains the origin of the ongoing conflict between tillers and herders, as their modes of production are incompatible with each others allocation of land.
Tillers need secure, enclosed plots of land, while herders need unfettered, wide areas of land.
The conflict is seen as at the root of many wars between communities, such as the farmers and cattle raisers during the opening up of North and South America, the civil war between the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, and many more.

The ability, power or strength of a community or an organization.

(Deutsch: Macht, empowerment, die stärkung, leistungsfähigkeit, English: capacity, power, strength, Español: capacidad, potenciación, Français: capacité, empowerment, Galego: capacidade, हिन्दी (Hindi): क्षमता, Italiano: empowerment, Kiswahili: uwezo, Malay: kapasiti, Português: capacidade, fortalecendo, Romãnã: capacitate, Pyccкий: paзвития, Somali: awooda)

Capacity Development:
Increasing the "capacity" (ability) of a community or an organization. Empowerment. Strengthening. See Elements of Strength for a list of sixteen elements of capacity development.
The difference between capacity development and capacity building lies with the conception of where the force of growth originates. The term "capacity building" implies that some agency outside the community or organisation supplies the energy to increase its capacity. It is informed by the concept of "social engineering."
The term "capacity development," in contrast, implies that the energy for growth is internal to the community or organisation.
See the slogan by Julius Nyerere; a community develops itself.

(Deutsch: leistungsaufbau; leistungsentwicklung, English: capacity development, Español: desarrollo de la capacidad, Français: renforcement des capacités, développement des capacités, bâtiment de capacité, développement de capacité, fortifier de la communauté, Galego: desenvolvemento da capacidade, हिन्दी (Hindi): षमता विकास, अधिकारिकरण, Kiswahili: kujengea uwezo, Malay: pembangunan kapasiti, Português: desenvolvimento de capacidade, Romãnã: dezvoltarea capacitatii, Somali: awoodsiinta)

Caste is a set of social institutions, castes, which result in horizontal layers of inequality (power, prestige, wealth) which differ from classes in that there are no recognised or acceptable mechanisms for moving up and down between the castes. Usually marriage between members of different castes (which would de facto mean social mobility) is prohibited. The main difference between caste and class is the degree of permissable social mobility.
The most well known example of caste is the system of inequality associated with India, especially among Hindus because Islam and Bahai prohibit the practice of caste. In spite of those prohibitions, caste is informally practiced or is represented as class differences by non Hindus in India.
Because caste implies assignment of level at birth, and the prohibition of social mobility, it is also applied to racial inequality as in the southern United States, and the Apartheid system as it was practiced in South Africa.
Apart from the marriage prohibitions, the division of communities into male or female, and masculine or feminine (sex and gender) can also be considered a caste system, especially where there are identifiable difference in power, prestige and wealth, and that individuals may not easily move from one to the other.

Informal. Relaxed. When an organization does not require that its staff wear uncomfortable formal clothing, then dress there is said to be "casual." When a couple have a sexual relationship without benefit of formality or public ritual (as in marriage) their relationship is said to be "casual." Do not confuse this with the word "causal."

(Deutsch: leger, Kiswahili: ya kawaida)

In chemistry, a catalyst is a chemical that affects the rate of a chemical process, without becoming part of that process. It usually speeds up the process. The word, therefore, is a good one to describe a mobilizer or social animator.
The mobilizer does not develop or change a community. The community develops or changes itself. The mobilizer stimulates that change, without becoming part of the social organization of the community. Most importantly, the mobilizer provides temporary leadership, without becoming a community leader.

(Deutsch: katalysator, Español: catalizador, Français: catalyseur, Kiswahili: chachu, Português: catalisador).

If there are two conditions or actions, and one (B) is the result or effect of the other (A), then the relationship between the two is "causal" and the direction of causality is between "A" and "B." "A" would be the "cause" and "B" would be the "effect." The actions or condition of "A" must be both sufficient and necessary for it to be identified as the "cause" of "B."
This is a relationship between two variables where a change in one is seen to be the "cause" of a change in the other. This is an epistemological problem for scientists.
When heat is applied to some material, for example, the molecules in that material tend to move faster. We assume that the application of heat (the "causing" or independent variable) somehow "causes" the increase in movement of molecules (the "caused" or dependent variable).
Sociologists have known that (although suicide is very difficult to predict for any individual) rates of suicide are very predictable. Where the population has a greater proportion of Catholics, or practising Catholics (measured by church attendance), the suicide rate tends to be lower. Where divorce is more difficult (as measured by laws and divorce rates), the rate of suicides by married women tends to be higher.
We have no epistemological reason, however, to say that those observations prove that restrictions against divorce (the independent or causing variable) "causes" an increase in propensity to suicide (the dependent or caused variable) among married women, or that Catholicism "causes" lower rates of suicides (there may simply be lower reporting rates, for example). See: "because." Do not confuse this with the word, "casual." or "causality" with "casualty." See: Problems of Prediction and Cause.

(Deutsch: kausal, Español: causal, Français: causal, Kiswahili: sababishi, Português: causal)

A celebration is a happy recognition of an event, usually one which changes the status of a person or thing. A celebration is a public party.
For a mobilizer, celebration of completion of a community project is an important element of community empowerment, where the community is publicly recognized for successfully engaging in self-help. It is also an opportunity to start a new beginning, another mobilization cycle. See Mobilization Cycle. See Celebration.

(العربيّة (Arabic): الاحتفال Deutsch: feier, English: celebration, Español: celebración, Français: célébration, Galego: celebración, Malay: keraian, Romãnã: celebrare, Português: celebração)

The helping of poor or needy people is a universal value, and found in all the major world religions. But there is giving and giving.
If your gift makes the receiver dependent upon you, then you are not helping to strengthen the receiver, nor helping him or her become more self reliant.
When you give some coins to a beggar on the street, then you are training that person to be more of a beggar.
If your assistance is well thought out, and helps to strengthen the receiver (see the story of Mohammed and the rope in Stories), then it is a much more useful gift.

(Deutsch: Wohltätigkeit, English: charity, Español: caritativo, Français: charité, Galego: caridade, Kiswahili: kujitolea, Malay: amal, Português: caridade, Romãnã: caritate)

A human settlement (habitat) that is characterized by (1) a large population, (2) population density and (3) social complexity (eg division of labour, heterogeneity).
There are no universally agreed measurements for these three variables, so dorps, hamlets and villages lay near one end of the spectrum and cities and mega-cities lay near the other end, with towns and peri-urban settlements in between.
These three variables affect methods of community strengthening. (Also see Village).

(Deutsch: stadt, Español: ciudad, Français: ville, Kiswahili: jiji)

Civic Engagement:
For some mobilizers, the authorities are seen as the "enemy" or "opposition" and see their task as organizing the poor communities to oppose those "oppressors." That may be an appropriate approach in some situations, and is often seen as "civic engagement" rather than as "community participation."
The methodology in these modules (developed mainly in Africa) sees the bringing of those authorities on side is more likely to lead to sustainability and a consistent national policy and programme of poverty elimination.

(Deutsch: bürgerschaftliches engagement, Español: compromiso cívico, Français: engagement citoyen, Kiswahili: Kujishughulisha kwa raia, Português: compromisso cívico)

Social class is an institutionalised form of inequality, usually associated with large, complex and urban societies. It is pictured as a set of layers, like a geological formation of a former lake bed, running horizontally.
It differs from caste (which see) in that there are mechanisms available for social mobility, moving up and down between the various classes, although those mechanisms may be more apparent than real. Inequality between the classes is composed of power, prestige and wealth.

Class Conflict:
This concept was used by Karl Marx, and his interest with industrial society, and the built in conflict between owners of the means of production (capitalists, bourgeoisie) and those who sold their labour to survive (proletariat, workers). In your work as a community mobilzers in a farming area, you might see the owners of the means of production as the land owners (as in a pre-industrial society) and tenant farmers, squatters, or peasants. In a city, as a community mobilizer, you might not see any owners of the property or factories, but you will see workers and tenants in the low income urban neighbourhoods.

(Deutsch: klassenkampf, Español: lucha de clases. Français: conflit de classe, Kiswahili: Ugomvi wa kitabaka, Português: conflito de classe, Pyccкий: Классовое Противоречие)

Clinical Sociology:
This term is used to describe the direct involvement of social scientists to bring about social change. A community mobilizer is engaging in clinical sociology. See Applied Sociology.

(Deutsch: medizinische soziologie, Español: sociología clínica. Français: la sociologie clinique, Kiswahili: tiba ya jamii, Português: sociologia clínica, Pyccкий: Клиническая Социология)

Colour (spelled "color" in the USA):
When light vibrates at different frequencies, we "see" the variations as different colours.
Colours are not intrinsic to the things we see, but is a response in ourselves to the frequency of light bouncing off them.
Differences in colours are within our optical and nervous systems. We have no way of knowing that what you see as "red" is what I see as "red" even when we describe the same item by the same colour name (red). See "Three Souls." Colour is very important in the cosmology of Akan people.
Skin colour is often used to distinguish visible minorities which are then called "races." This is highly unscientific. There are no biological categories of race or colour. There is more variation in skin colour on a single person than between the colours of persons designated in indifferent races. No boundaries. Race and colour are social categories.
Different languages put different boundaries around colours. Observations of variations in colour naming systems led to the development of the Sapir-Whorf hypotheses that states we learn to perceive and understand reality by the language we learn.

Commensality is the sociology of who eats with whom. As with agriculture and gathering (the production of food), the consumption of food has immense influence on culture and society. As well as the choice of foods, and its preparation for eating, the choice of who eats with whom, when it is eaten, on what occasions, and what social implications, are all important cultural variables. The word is based on the classic term, mensa, meaning table.

Common Sense:
Many of the things to learn from sociology demonstrate that our common sense calculations and assumptions do not stand the test of scientific investigation.

Common Values:
Common Values belong to one of the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. See: Elements of Community Strength. These are the degree to which members of the community share values, especially the idea that they belong to a common entity that supersedes the interest of members within it.
The more that community members share, or at least understand and tolerate, each others values and attitudes, the stronger their community will be. Racism, prejudice and bigotry weaken a community or organization. When stimulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of common values in empowering that community or organization.

(Deutsch: gemeinsame werte , Français: Valeurs communes~, Kiswahili: Thamani na msingi, Português: valores comuns)

Communal Facilities and Services:
In a human settlement, some facilities are owned by individuals or families, usually housing. Other facilities, like roads, water supply or schools, are owned by the group as a whole. These are communal. Communal services and facilities are one of the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. See: Elements of Community Strength.
Human settlements facilities and services (such as roads, markets, potable water, access to education, health services), their upkeep (dependable maintenance and repair), sustainability, and the degree to which all community members have access to them. The more that members have access to needed communal facilities, the greater their empowerment. (In measuring capacity of organizations, this includes office equipment, tools, supplies, access to toilets and other personal staff facilities, working facilities, physical plant).
When stimulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of communal services and facilities in empowering that community or organization.

(Deutsch: kommunale einrichtungen und dienstleistungen, Español: prestación comunal, Français: service communal, Kiswahili: Kazi na huduma za kijamii, Português: instalações e serviços comunais)

Communication is one of the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. See: Elements of Community Strength.
Within a community, and between itself and outside, communication includes roads, electronic methods (eg telephone, radio, TV, InterNet), printed media (newspapers, magazines, books), networks, mutually understandable languages, literacy and the willingness and ability to communicate (which implies tact, diplomacy, willingness to listen as well as to talk) in general. As a community gets better communication, it gets stronger. (For an organization, this is the communication equipment, methods and practices available to staff). Poor communication means a weak organization or community.
When simulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of communication in empowering that community or organization. Element of capacity / strength. See 16 elements.

(Deutsch: kommunikation, Español: communicaciones, Français: communications, Kiswahili: mawasiliano, Português: comunicação)


The word "community" has been used in several different contexts. . Biologists talk of community as meaning several individuals in a single species, or several different species, living, competing, co-operating, to make a larger whole.
Since the advent of the Internet and information technology, various collections of persons, often those sharing a single interest, have grown up, without geographical boundaries, and who communicate electronically.
The focus on this web site in this training series, is on a more orthodox meaning of community, a community of living human beings, one which usually has geographic boundaries (except those may be stretched, as in nomadic communities), associated, for example in communities that range from local neighbourhoods in large urban areas, to remote rural villages. See Habitat.
A community is not a collection of individual human beings. It is a super-organism that belongs to and is part of culture, composed of interactions between people, everything that is learned. Its six dimensions include: technology, economy, political power, social patterns, shared values, beliefs and ideas. It is not transmitted by biological means, but by learning.
Like a tree or other life form that transcends the very atoms which compose it, its human members can come of go, through death, birth or migration, and it still continues to live and grow. It is never homogeneous, having many factions, schisms, competition and conflicts within it. A community is a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. See "What is Community." See: Community Characteristics.

(Deutsch: gemeinde, English: community, Español: comunidad, Français: communauté, Galego: comunidade, Kiswahili: jamii, Malay: komuniti, Português: comunidade, Pyccкий: Cooобщество, Romãnã: comunitate, Somali: bulsho)

Community Based:
For a project or organization to be community based, it must originate in a community, must have community members responsible, and have its decisions (policy and executive) made by community members. An outside agency or project that is merely located in a community can not rightly claim to be community based. Also, consulting with community leaders does not make it community based.
There is a big difference between community-based and community-located. If an agency sets up a service in a community (eg a clinic, an IG programme), then that is community-located. To be called community-based correctly, an activity, construction, service, or organization, must be chosen, selected and controlled by the community as a whole (not just some factions). The important thing is for decision making to be community-based, the decisions must be made inside and by the community. See Community Based Social Work in Refugee Camps.

(Deutsch: gemeindenah, English: community based, Español: basado en la comunidad, Français: fondé sur la communauté, Kiswahili: Ilyo ya jamii, Galego: baseado na comunidade, Malay: berasaskan komuniti, Português: baseado na comunidade, Romãnã: ancorata in comunitate)

Community Based Organization:
A CBO is an organization that has been formed and developed within a community, where the decision making (management and planning) is from the community as a whole. An agency that is formed from outside, and has decisions made for it from outside, may be community located, but is not community based. See the Acronym, CBO. (Deutsch: gemeindenahe organisation, English: community based organization, Español: organización basada en la comunidad, Français: organisation a basé dans la communauté, Galego: organización baseada na comunidade, Kiswahili: Miradi ya kijamii, Malay: organisasi berasaskan komuniti, Português: comunidade fundou organização, Romãnã: organizatie ancorata in comunitate)

Community Based Rehabilitation:
Rehabilitation in this context means physical (biological), emotional or mental rehabilitation (or habilitation) of persons who are disabled by some physical, emotional or mental incapacity. Where rehabilitation is community based, then the decision making and responsibility for the habilitation of those disabled individuals are in the community, and do not originate outside the community. See the Acronym, CBR.

(Deutsch: gemeindenahe Rehabilitation, English: community based rehabilitation, Español: rehabilitación basada en la comunidad, Français: réadaptation a basé dans la communauté, Galego: rehabilitación baseada na comunidade, Kiswahili: Ukarabati wa kijamii, Malay: pusat pemulihan berasaskan komuniti, Português: reabilitação baseado na comunidade, Romãnã: rebilitarea ancorata in comunitate)

Community Contribution:
When we point out that community participation is not the same thing as community contribution (though many mistakenly assume it is), we also note that both are necessary. While community participation means the decision making that makes any activity community based or community centred, community contribution is necessary to ensure that the community members feel that they own the project, ie that they have invested in it, not just received it.
We recommend that at least fifty percent of the inputs of any community project that we support must come from the community itself. At first this is often viewed with anxiety and despair from many community members. Then we point out that the donated communal labour alone has to be fairly calculated, and that if they did so, they would be pleasantly surprised at how much value that would add to the community input. We point out that the time spent by community members, especially those that sit on the executive committee, deciding and planning the project, are donations of executive and management skills, time and labour. The donated labour should be fairly costed. Furthermore, we point out that the value of donations of sand and dirt, too, are often underestimated, and should be recognized, with fair cost estimates, as community inputs.

(Deutsch: gemeindebeitrag, English: community contribution, Español: contribución comunitaria, Français: contribution de la communauté, Galego: contribución comunitaria, Kiswahili: mchango wa jamii, Malay: sumbangan komuniti, Português: contribuição da comunidade, Romãnã: contributia comunitatii)

Community Development:
Community development means growing in complexity in all six dimensions of culture. See Dimensions. It differs from community empowerment which means growing stronger. Although the two are different by definition, they are intricately linked to each other. Community development which is conceived and pushed from outside the community is unlikely to be sustained. If it comes from within a community, it is more likely to be sustained.
When a community develops, it grows. See the word, Development. It does not necessarily mean getting bigger or getting richer. It means getting more complex and stronger. Think of an acorn as a metaphor. When an acorn grows, it does not become a house sized acorn (picture it). It developes into something more complex, an oak tree.
A community does not get developed by a mobilizer any more than a flower grows taller by someone pulling it up. A community (as a social institution) develops itself. A mobilizer can only stimulate, encourage and guide members of the community.
Some people assume that community development simply means getting richer –– an increase in per capita wealth or income. It can be, but is more.
It is social change, where a community becomes more complex, adding institutions, increasing its collective power, changing qualitatively in its organization.
Community development means growing in complexity in all six dimensions of culture. It differs from community empowerment which means growing stronger. Although the two are different by definition, they are intricately linked to each other.

(Deutsch: gemeindeentwicklung, English: community development, Español: desarrollo comunitario, Français: développement de la communauté, Galego: desenvolvemento comunitario, Kiswahili: Maendeleo ya jamii, Malay: pembangunan komuniti, Português: desenvolvimento da comunidade, Romãnã: dezvoltarea comunitatii, Somali: Horumarka Bulshada)

Community Empowerment:
To increase capacity of a community is to increase its ability to do things for itself. It is more than just adding some communal services or facilities like roads, sanitation, water, access to education and health care. It means increased ability and strength. It means more skills, more confidence, and more effective organization.
It can not come about by charity or donation of resources from outside. It can be facilitated through action such as community projects, but only when all community members become involved from the beginning, to decide upon a community action, to identify hidden resources from within the community, and by developing a sense of ownership and responsibility of communal facilities from the start to the finish.
While increased democratization may be helped by Government devolving some law making power to the community, its capacity to make use of its legal decision making depends upon it having practical capacity, ie the ability to make decisions about its own development, to determine its own future. Power, strength, capacity, ability, empowerment.
Community development means growing in complexity in all six dimensions of culture. It differs from community empowerment which means growing stronger. Although the two are different by definition, they are intricately linked to each other.

(Deutsch: gemeindestärkung, English: community empowerment, Español: potenciación comunitaria, Français: fortifier de la communauté, Galego: potenciación comunitaria, Malay: pemberdayaan komuniti, Português: fortalecendo da comunidade, Romãnã: consolidarea coomunitatii)

Community Implementation Committee:
The CIC is the Executive, Development Committee or Project Committee of the community, chosen by the community as a whole, responsible for carrying out the wishes of the whole community. Community Project Executive. Community Project Committee. Community Implementation Executive. Development Committee. This is the executive organisation at village level that carries out construction or maintenance of a communal facility or service.

(Deutsch: entwicklungs-komitee, Español: comité de implementación comunitario, Français: comité de développement, Kiswahili: kamati ya utekelezaji ya jamii)

Community Management Training:
Community management training is aimed at poverty reduction, the strengthening of low income communities in the planning and management of human settlements communal facilities and services, their construction, operation and maintenance. This is training for action, not just for skill transfer or for giving information to individuals.
Training, as a method for strengthening low income communities, for poverty reduction, for promoting community participation, for practical support to democratization and decentralization, is far from being only the transfer of information and skills to the trainees. It also includes mobilizing and organizing. This is non orthodox training.
Formalization and institutionalization of this kind of training brings with it the danger of emasculating the training, of emphasizing the skill transfer over the encouragement, mobilization and organizing aspects of the training.
Management training in this sense was developed for strengthening the effectiveness of top and middle management in profit making corporations. It has been modified here, and integrated with techniques of trade union organizing, for the purposes of mobilizing and strengthening the capacity of low income communities to come together, help themselves, for developmental social change.

(Deutsch: gemeinde-management-training, English: community management training, Español: adiestramiento para la gestión comunitaria, Français: formation pour la gestion de la communauté, Galego: formación para a xestión comunitaria, Kiswahili: Mafunzo ya utawala wa jamii, Malay: latihan pengurusan komuniti, Português: forma participação da comunidade, Romãnã: )

Community Participation:
Community participation is far more than the contribution of labour or supplies; it is participating in decision making, to chose a community project, plan it, implement it, manage it, monitor it, control it. It differs from community contribution.
Social Animation promotes the activities of a target community, with a view to the community taking more responsibility for its own development, starting with decisions about what projects to undertake, and stimulation to mobilize resources and organize activities.
Community participation promotion aims at ensuring that decisions affecting the community are taken by all (not only a few) community members (not by an outside agency).
In this methodology, community contribution is encouraged, for it helps the community to become more responsible for the activity if they invest their own resources in it. We also encourage Government, and outside donors to discuss their activities with the whole community; this is community consultation.
Community participation here should not be used as the equivalent of community contribution or community consultation (as is misleadingly done by many assistance agencies);participation here means participation in decision making, in control and in co-ordination.

(Deutsch: gemeindepartizipation, English: community participation, Español: participación comunitaria, Français: participation de la communauté, Galego: participación comunitaria, Kiswahili: Ushiriki wa jamii, Malay: penyertaaan komuniti, Português: participação da comunidade, Romãnã: participarea comunitatii, Somali: ka geyb galka bushadaa)

Conceptual-Belief Dimension of Community:
The belief-conceptual dimension of community is another structure of ideas, also sometimes contradictory, that people have about the nature of the universe, the world around them, their role in it, cause and effect, and the nature of time, matter, and behaviour. See "culture."
Beliefs, like all cultural elements, are transmitted by communicating symbols, not by genetic (biological) inheritance. The beliefs and perceptions of reality shared by members of a community are affected by your mobilizing activities, and should be a major consideration in your planning of mobilizing activities.

(Deutsch: konzeptuelle dimension der ansichten, Español:dimensión dogmática y conceptual, Français: dimension de croyance et conceptuelle, Kiswahili: Fikra-amini kama kipimo cha jamii, Português: convicção)

Confidence is one of the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. See: Elements of Community Strength. While expressed in individuals, how much confidence is shared among the community as a whole? eg an understanding that the community can achieve what ever it wishes to do.
Positive attitudes, willingness, self motivation, enthusiasm, optimism, self-reliant rather than dependency attitudes, willingness to fight for its rights, avoidance of apathy and fatalism, a vision of what is possible. Increased strength includes increased confidence. When simulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of confidence in empowering that community or organization.

(Deustch: zuversicht, Español: confianza, Français:confiance, Kiswahili: ushupavu, Português: confiança)

Conflict Theory:
This is a sociological framework that says society is composed of groups competing for scarce resources.
The agricultural revolution, which has not quite finished, saw a conflict between autochthonic gatherers and hunters, and the later farmers. Pygmies in Uganda and D.R. Congo, aborigines in Canada, USA, and Australia, and Koisan in southern Africa, are all societies that depended upon gathering and hunting, and have immense differences in values and social organisation compared to agricultural and industrial cultures who came to replace or dominate them. In the Judaic bible, it tells about Cain and Abel, a tiller of soil and a herder of animals. Their conflict is represented through history in the conflict between horticulturists and herders. Perhaps the killing of a million Tutsis (representing herders) by the Hutus (who represent tillers) is a current representation of such conflict. In nineteenth century North America the conflict was represented by cattle herders and black soil farmers.
In sociology the framework was created by Karl Marx who was concerned with the conflict between labourers and owners of capital in industrial society.
In your work as a community mobilizer, it may be that you will be able to identify owners of land and tenants who live on that land (in rural areas) and owners of property and tenants who live in their houses (in urban slums), and see that as the major conflict.

(Deutsch: konflikttheorie,Español: teoría del conflicto. Français: la théorie en désaccord, Kiswahili: kanuni za ugomvi, Português: teoria de conflito, Pyccкий: Теория Конфликта)

A constraint is any hindrance or barrier to reaching desired objectives. A good project design courageously identifies constraints, then generates strategies to use available resources to overcome them.

(Deutsch: zwang, Español: obstáculo, Français: contrainte, Kiswahili: pinganizi, Português: constrangimento)

When an aid agency or donor organization consults with community leaders or representatives, they often ask if the community wants a project. That answer is likely to be, "Yes." The agency may then report to its board or donors that there was community participation. That is incorrect.
What has taken place is a consultation, not genuine community participation in decision making, choosing and planning a project from among the community priorities (in contrast to the agency's priorities).

(Deutsch: beraten, English: consult, Español: consultar, Français: consulter, Galego: consulta, Kiswahili: tatufa ushauri, Malay: berunding, Português: consulte, Romãnã: consultare)

Context (political and administrative environment):
One of the 16 elements of strength. A community will be stronger, more able to get stronger and sustain its strength more, the more it exists in an environment that supports that strengthening.
An environment that supports strengthening includes political (including the values and attitudes of the national leaders, laws and legislation) and administrative elements (attitudes of civil servants and technicians, as well as Governmental regulations and procedures), and the legal environment.
When politicians, leaders, technocrats and civil servants, as well as their laws and regulations, take a provision approach, the community is weak, while if they take an enabling approach to the community acting on a self-help basis, the community will be stronger. Communities can be stronger when they exist within a more enabling context. When simulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of context in empowering that community or organization.

(Deutsch: umfeld, Español: contexto (político y administrativo), Français: Contexte (politico-administratif), Kiswahili: mazingira, Português: contexto)

Some people will confuse participation with contribution. Many people, when they hear the phrase, community participation. assume it only means community contribution. They think only of the communal labour that members will put into the project.
Unfortunately, there have been many cases in the past where community members were treated as serfs or slaves and forced to contribute their labour (or other resources, eg land, food). The methodology promoted here is quite the opposite. Participation here means participation in decision making,not merely the contribution of resources. See community contribution.

(Deutsch: beitrag, English: contribution, Español: contribución, Français: contribution, Galego: contribución, Kiswahili: mchango, Malay: sumbangan, Romãnã: contributi)

Dishonesty, one of the major factors of poverty. See: Factors of Poverty.

(Deutsch: korruption, unehrlichkeit, English: corruption, dishonesty, Español: falta de honradez, Français: malhonnêteté, Kiswahili: rushwa, Português: desonestidade, Romãnã: necinste, Somali: daacaddarro)

Courage roughly means "bravery," and is often referred to as the bravery necessary to do the difficult but right thing, such as being honest and transparent with group or public funds. It is also the core of the word "encourage," which is what the mobilizer tries to do to community members to stimulate them to drop their apathy and fatalism and engage in self help activity, and what a good manager does as a leader of staff.

(Deutsch: mut, Español: ánimo, Français: courage, Kiswahili: uhodari, Português: coragem)

One of the most important bits of wisdom to learn is that when we see something wrong, to criticize it usually does not make it right, or correct the problem. Instead, it usually makes the problem worse.
Why? Because human beings feel threatened and under attack when someone is criticizing them. Criticism lowers our/their self confidence and self esteem. We become defensive when criticized, and instead of correcting the mistake, we tend to defend it.
When we are mobilizing communities, co-ordinating volunteers, or managing staff, we must learn to expect that they will make mistakes and be prepared to deal with those mistakes in ways that further our aims. Showing our anger, criticizing the person who makes the mistake, may serve a purpose of "venting," but we pay a huge price for that personal relief. Refer to the key words: Mistakes, Anger, and Sandwich, and search for ways to correct the mistake without negative criticism. See: Praise Often.

(Deutsch: kritik, English: criticism, Español: críticas, Français: critique, Galego: crítica, Kiswahili: pingamizi, Malay: kritikan, Português: crítica, Romãnã: critica)

Cross Talk:
In regular group discussions you allow, indeed you encourage, participants to speak their opinions and respond to others. In the Brainstorm Session, in contrast, cross talk is forbidden. Participants must direct their responses only to the facilitator, and not respond to the contribution of other participants. This ground rule is necessary for successful participatory group decision-making in the brainstorm session. It is not a feature of your work outside the brainstorm session.

(Deutsch: wortgefecht, Español: debate, Français: Joutes oratoires , entretien en travers, Kiswahili: maongezi, Português: conversa atravessada).

More than merely songs and dances, culture, in social science, means the overall social system, the total of all learned attitudes and behaviour, consisting of socio-cultural systems belonging to six dimensions: technological, economic, political, interactive, ideological and world view. The basic unit of culture is the "symbol." Culture is not genetic; it is transmitted by communicating symbols. Sometimes called the "superorganic," because it is composed of systems that transcend the biological entities, humans, that compose and bear culture. See "Culture." A community is cultural. See: Strange Fish. See Culture; Different Meanings.

(Deutsch: kultur, English: culture, Español: cultura, Français: culture, Galego: cultura, Kiswahili: tamaduni, Malay: budaya, Português: cultura, Romãnã: cultura, Somali: dhaqanka)

A "curriculum"is a plan of action applied to a training programme. This web site contains many modules, each of which includes a half dozen or so training documents. Together they represent the content of a curriculum for training mobilizers and related professionals working to empower low income communities.
A summary and description of this curriculum material is in the document Framework for a Community ManagementTraining Curriculum, which can be used for planning a programme for strengthening low income communities.

(Deutsch: studienplan, Español: programa, Français: programme d'études, Kiswahili: muongozo, Português: currículo)


Decentralization takes some power from the centre and puts it into the surrounding locations. . It is not the same as democratization (it can be the decentralizing of tyranny) but can assist in democratization.

(Deutsch: Dezentralisierung, Español: descentralización, Français: décentralisation, हिन्दी (Hindi): विकेन्द्रीकरण, Português: descentralização)

Demand Responsive Approach:
A methodology of choosing to work with different communities based on the different amounts they each are willing to sacrifice. . DRA is based upon the idea that communities differ in the amount or resources they are willing to sacrifice in order to invest in their own development.

(Deutsch: Nachfrageorientierter Ansatz, Español: enfoque de respuesta a la demanda, Français: approche basée de demand, Português: demanda aproximação responsiva)

The word, "democracy," comes from ancient classical languages, where "demo" means the people (as in demography) and "cracy" means power (as in bureaucracy or aristocracy). . The word democracy, then, means power to the people. Ironically, ancient Greece was not very democratic in that the economy was based upon the labour of slaves.
There are different kinds of democracy: eg representational democracy where the people elect representatives (eg Members of Parliament) to make decisions for them, and participatory democracy where the people are involved in making decisions. . As a mobilizer, you are urged to promote democracy, ie in the community project, but you are not obligated to imitate the British parliamentary system. Look for what is socially appropriate.

(العربيّة:الديمقراطية, Bahasa Indonesia: demokrasi, Deutsch: demokratie, English: democracy, Español: democracia, Français: démocratie, Ελληνικά: Δημοκρατία, हिन्दी: लोकतन्त्र, Italiano: democrazia, 日本語: 民主主義, Malay: demokrasi, Nederlands: democratie, Português: democracia, Romãnã: democratie, ردو:جمہوریت)

A process of social change towards increased political decision making power for all people.

(Deutsch: Demokratisierung, Español: democratización, Français: démocratisation, Italiano: democratizzazione)

Dependency (Syndrome):
The dependency syndrome is an attitude and belief that a group can not solve its own problems without outside help. It is a weakness that is made worse by charity. See: The Dependency Syndrome.

(العربيّة:التبعي, Bahasa Indonesia: dependensi, Deutsch: Abhängigkeit, English: dependency syndrome, Español: síndrome de dependencia, Français: syndrome de dépendance, Ελληνικά: Εξάρτησης, Nederlands: afhankelijkheid, Malay: kebergantungan, 日本語: 依存, Português: dependencia, Romãnã: dependenta, Somali: ku tiirsanaanta, ردو:محتاجی کی لت)

Many people assume that development means quantitative growth, whereas its main characteristic is qualitative change.
To develop is to grow, and to grow means more than to get bigger; it also means to become more complex and stronger. When a community develops, it gets stronger and more complex, it undergoes social change. See "Culture." An economist may see development as only an increase in wealth or income (absolute or per capita); and an engineer may see development as a greater control over energy, or more sophisticated and powerful tools.
To a mobilizer, however, those are only two of the six cultural dimensions of a communitythat change. Development means social change in all six cultural dimensions: technological, economic, political, interactive, ideological and world view. See Community Development.
Community development means growing in complexity in all six dimensions of culture. It differs from community empowerment which means growing stronger. Although the two are different by definition, they are intricately linked to each other.

(Deutsch: Entwicklung, English: development, Español: desarrollo, Français: développement, Galego: desenvolvemento, Malay: pembangunan, Português: desenvolvimento, Romãnã: dezvoltare, Somali: horumarka)

Development Committee:
The Development Committee is the Executive, Project Committee or CIC (Community Implementing Committee) of the community, chosen by the community as a whole, responsible for carrying out the wishes of the whole community.
It is the product of your organizing efforts; see "Organize."

(Deutsch: Entwicklungskomitee, Español: comité de desarrollo, Français: comité de développement)

A dialogue is communication which is two-way. (The syllable "di" means "two"). It is contrastrd with the word "monologue" ("mono" meaning "one") which is one-way communication.
A speech is a monologue (one-way); so is a lecture or a training presentation. ... In contrast, training should be participatory, where the participants (trainees) engage in two-way communication with the trainer.
Communication with a community should be two-way, but often in the past has been one-way (dictation to the community, nothing heard from the community).
A mobilizer should work towards a community being heard, and for communication (with authorities, with assistance organizations) to be two-way.

(Deutsch: Dialog, Español: diálogo, Français: dialogue, Português: diálogo)

Dimensions of Culture:

Culture is Better Understood when it is Seen to Have Dimensions

Each dimension is composed of socio-cultural systems (eg the economic system) which combine to make a super-organic system.
The six dimensions are: Technical, Economic, Political,Institutional, Value and Conceptual.
A community is a cultural entity, so the dimensions also apply to communities. See: Dimensions.

(Deutsch: kulturdimensionen, English: dimensions of culture, Español: dimensiones de la cultura, Français: dimensions de culture, Galego: dimensións da cultura, Malay: dimensi budaya, Romãnã: dimensiunile culturii, Somali: geybaha)

Direct Labour Costs:
These are costs which your business pays to employees who work to make the products or services you sell.

(Deutsch: direkte arbeitskosten, English: direct labour costs, Español: costes directos del trabajo, Français: coûts de la main-d'oeuvre directs)

Direct Material Costs:
This is what your enterprise pays for the raw materials to make the products or services you sell.

(Deutsch: Direkte Materialkosten, English: direct material costs, Español: costes directos de material, Français: coûts de matériel direct, Português: custos de material, Romãnã:)

Illness is one of the five major factors of poverty.
It is cheaper, more humane, and more productive for a society or community to prevent than to cure disease and to direct limited resources towards the treatment of a few common diseases affecting the majority of the population, rather than towards sophisticated equipment and skills for the treatment of a few wealthy people (thus the reasons for WHO promoting and supporting the principles of primary health care). . Knowing this, you the mobilizer may challenge a community's first and lightly considered choice of a clinic, and perhaps let them see the logic and reasoning for first choosing effective water and sanitation systems to prevent water borne diseases.

(Deutsch: Krankheit, English: disease, Español: enfermedad, Français: maladie, Galego: enfermidade, Malay: penyakit, Português: doença, Romãnã: boala, Somali: cudur)

Lack of integrity and lack of honesty. Dishonesty is one of the five major factors of poverty.
Comes with various labels, including corruption, embezzlement, extortion and theft. It happens when wealth intended for development of the whole society is illegally, and usually secretly, diverted to benefit individuals who betray their positions of trust as servants of society as a whole.
The resulting lack of trust contributes in turn to apathy and poverty. That is why you, as mobilizer and organizer of community organizations, promote transparency, integrity and honesty in the groups you organize.

(Deutsch: korruption, unehrlichkeit, English: corruption, dishonesty, Español: falta de honradez, Français: malhonnêteté, Galego: deshonestidade, Kiswahili: rushwa, Malay: ketidakjujuran, Português: desonestidade, Romãnã: necinste, Somali: daacaddarro)

Of all the ways of learning (reading, listening, watching), the most effective is by "doing." See Training Methods.
Learning by doing can include doing directly such as doing a task in the field under supervision by a trainer, or doing indirectly such as participating in a role playing session or simulation game.

(العربيّة:القيام بالأمر, Bahasa Indonesia: bekerja, Deutsch: handeln, English: doing, Español: practicar, Français: faire, Ελληνικά: Πράξη, हिन्दी:लोकतन्त्र, 日本語: 実技, Malay:membuat, Nederlands: doen, Português: agir, fazendo, Romãnã: a practica, اردو:عمل


Economic Dimension of Community:
The economic dimension of community is its various ways and means of production and allocation of scarce and useful goods and services (wealth), whether that is through gift giving, obligations, barter, market trade, transfer payments, lottery winning (gambling) or state allocations. (See Community).

(Deutsch: ökonomische dimension, English: economic dimension, Español: dimension económica , Français: dimension économique, हिन्दी (Hindi): समुदाय के आर्थिक परिमाण, Italiano: , 日本語 , Português: dimensões da cultura), Pyccкий:Экономическое измерение)

When used as a noun, the word "effect" implies the result of some other action or condition which causes it. "The effect of your misbehaving is that you will not find much success as a community mobiliser."

(Deutsch: auswirkung, Español: efecto, Français: l'effet, Português: efeito)

Efficiency can be defined as being able to "Get more output for less input (maximize our efficiency)"
One catchy phrase that may illustrate this is, "Do not work hard; get results." Here the admired value of "hard work" (the means or the input) is shown to be less important than the result of that work (the end or output).
It is not intended as an encouragement to be lazy, but as an encouragement to use resources (including one's own labour) wisely, and therefore (in this context) efficiently.

(Deutsch: effizienz, Español: eficiencia, Français: efficacité, Português: eficiência)

Elephant Story:
This a story used to illustrate that something looks different from different perspectives.
It is about seven blind men who each touch a different part of an elephant, and then each have a different idea of what an elephant is. See the Elephant Story. It is used on this web site to illustrate that a "community" like all social organizations, have many aspects but they can not all be seen at the same time.

(Deutsch: Elefantengeschichte, Español: cuento del elefante, Français: histoire de l'éléphant, Português: história do elefante)

The empowerment of a community (or organization) is an increase in its strength, improvement in its capacity (ability) to accomplish its goals. Like capacity development, it is a process of becoming stronger. See "Measuring Empowerment" for a list of the sixteen elements of power or capacity, and a participatory method of measuring its increase.
The empowerment methodology, in contrast to the charity approach, aims at strengthening the community rather than encouraging it to remain dependant upon outside resources. . The empowerment methodology, therefore, does not make everything easy for the community, because it sees that struggle and resistance, as in physical exercise, produce more strength. See Community Empowerment.
See Jihad for an interesting metaphor.
Community development means growing in complexity in all six dimensions of culture. It differs from community empowerment which means growing stronger. Although the two are different by definition, they are intricately linked to each other.

(Deutsch: empowerment, die stärkung, Español: potenciación, Français: empowerment, हिन्दी (Hindi): अधिकारिकरण, Italiano: empowerment, Kiswahili: uwezo, Português: fortalecendo, Pyccкий: paзвития)

Empowerment Methodology:
The training material here is aimed at attacking poverty at the community level, where mobilisation and management training are aimed at empowering low income communities. The theory behind the skills and techniques here is sociological.
The successful community worker, an applied sociologist, can not do the best job, however, unless she or he is familiar with some of the basic principles that lie behind the offering of skills or describing the programmes to be set up.
It is built up of several important principles:

1. The balance of power (opinion makers and leaders, not merely the demographic majority) must desire the community to become more self reliant and willing to make efforts and sacricfices to become so. (Leaders and opinion makers may be formal and/or informal, officially recognised and/or unrecognised). Without this, the mobiliser would be wasting time and better employed in another community or organization;
2. An experienced and/or trained agent must be available to intervene to stimulate and guide the community to organize and take action to become more self reliant. The mobiliser may be one with natural talents and skills, while the training in this web site is aimed at developing and sharpening those skills and talents;
3. While assistance can be offered, it should not be charity assistance which promotes dependency and weakness, but partnership, assistance and training that promotes self reliance and increased capacity;
4. Recipient organisations or communities should not be controlled or forced into change, but professionals trained as activists of mobilisers should intervene with stimulation, information and guidance. Social engineering must be avoided. Persuasian and faciltation are needed;
5. Organisms become stronger by exercising, struggling, and facing adversity. Empowerment methodology incorporates this principle for social organisations. Sports coaches use the slogan, "No pain; no gain." We do not promote pain, but do promote struggle and effort;
6. Hands on participation, especially in decision making, by the recipients, is essential for their increase in capacity. Decisions can not be made for or on behalf of the community;
7. A substantial proportion (it varies) of the resources needed for a community project (ie the action) must be provided by the community members themselves;
8. We need to aim at the participants from the beginning taking full control, exercising full decision making, and accepting full responsibilityfor the actions which will lead to their increased strength.

This is the core set of principles of the empowerment methodology.

(Deutsch: stärkungsmethode, English: empowerment methodology)

To enable means to permit or increase the ability of something.
To facilitate an actor in achieving something for itself. Where one party assists another party in becoming empowered. Applied to communities and organizations in this methodology. See Enablement.
Two extensions of the word, (1) "enabling" (as in an enabling environment) and (2) "enablement" (as in a process of enabling a community or organization to become stronger), used in this methodology, are not usually found in most orthodox dictionaries. See "Preparing a Policy Paper."

(Deutsch: befähigen, Español: posibilitar, Français: rendre capable, permettre, Português: habilite)

Enabling Environment:
This is an environment (political, regulatory) around a community that enables the community to unite, identify its own resources, engage in self help activities, and become more self reliant.
The practices, attitudes, behaviour, rules, regulations, laws, of leaders, civil servants, politicians, of central and district governments, all contribute to the degree of enablement around a community. See Facilitate.

(Deutsch: befähigende umgebung, Español: entorno favorecedor, Français: un environnement qui permet, Português: ambiente habilitando)

The process of learning that takes a baby (as a biological organism) and humanizes it. To become human (ie to obtain culture). Socialization.
We all start our own process of enculturation at birth, and it continues until death. We learn, through symbols, all the six dimensions of culture.
Looked at from the point of view of society and culture, the process is also the way that society and its intitutions reproduce and continue after the deaths of its human carriers.
Differs from acculturation. See Socialization.

(Deutsch: enkulturation. Español: culturización, Français: enculturation)

The study of how we know. See: Knowing.

Equalitarian is an ideal of everyone being equal. In the real world, however, we know that people are born with different strengths and potentials, and into families with different wealth and power. It may be unfair, but who has ever promised us that life would be fair?
What is important, then, is that we are all treated equally under the law, without laws that are different for the privileged than for the poor. Furthermore, we have the ideal that we all have equal opportunities to help and to improve ourselves, for example, the same opportunities to obtain an education.

(Deutsch: egalitär, Español: igualitario, Français: equalitarian)

A process of allocating value on what a project has achieved (in relation to its objectives). Judging. Differs from monitoring which should be value-free observation. (See Evaluation and value).

(Deutsch: evaluierung, Español: evaluación, Français: èvaluation, Português: avaliação)

Executive Committee:
The Executive Committee, is also called the Project Committee, Development Committee, CBO (Community Based Organization) or CIC (Community Implementing Committee) of the community
It should be chosen by the community as a whole, from among all its members, and be responsible for carrying out the wishes of the whole community.

(Deutsch: gemeindekomitee, Español: comité ejecutivo, Français: le comité exécutif, Português: comitê executivo)


There are two ways the word facilitation is used in community empowering:
(1) One is a facilitation method of training and organizing participants which is more effective than lecturing or preaching.
(2) The other is to set up an enabling environment of facilitating self-help, where the laws, the administrative regulations, procedures and practices, and the attitudes of leaders, technical experts and administrators support increased responsibility and self reliance of low income communities. (See Training methods). (See Policy Paper).

(Deutsch: Erleichtern, English: faciltate, Español: facilitar, Français: faciliter, Português: facilite)

A "faction" is a group of people on one side of a social schism. As a mobilizer, you should ensure that you are not identified as supporting any one faction in a community (explained in Unity Organizing). See social schism.

(Deutsch: Interessengruppe, English: faction, Español: facción, Français: faction, Português: facção)

Factors of Poverty:
The big five factors of poverty (as a social problem) include: ignorance, disease, apathy, dishonesty and dependency. These, in turn, contribute to secondary factors such as lack of markets, poor infrastructure, poor leadership, bad governance, under-employment, lack of skills, lack of capital, and others.

(Deutsch: Armutsfaktoren, English: factors of poverty, Español: factores de pobreza, Français: facteurs de la pauvreté, Português: fatores de pobreza)

Fish Out of Water::
See Strange Fish.

Feminist Theories:
These are sociological theories which examine the historical and cultural aspects of gender and gender relations. Feminist perspectives include Marxist, Liberal and non-Marxist approaches. . In your job as a mobiliser, you need to observe and understand the nature of gender in the community, and what gender relations impact on the potential for empowering the community. (See Gender).

(Deutsch: Feministische Theorien, English: feminist theories, Español: teorías feministas. Français: théories féministes, Português: teorias feministas, Pyccкий: Феминистические Теории)

When you forecast something you work out what you think is likely to happen in the future. A forecast tells you what is likely to happen in the future. A forecast is an important consideration in planning, both for micro enterprise and for communal facilities.

(Deutsch: Prognose, English: , Español: previsión, Français: prévision, Português: previsão)

Four Questions:
The "Four Questions" represent the core of management decision making, whether it is management of a community or management of an organization. If we take the overall decision making processes, which vary from context to context, we can distil all to four essential questions. Answering of these questions (which does not have to be so brief) constitutes the basic management planning process.
These four questions are:
1. What do we want?
2. What do we have?
3. How can we use what we have to get what we want? and
4. What will happen when we get it?

(Deutsch: Vier Fragen, English: , Español: cuatro cuestiones, Français: quatre questions, Português: quatro perguntas)

Functional Analysis:
In sociology, a functional analysis, functionalism or structural functionalism is a theoretical framework which sees society as consisting of various elements which contribute to equilibrium in that society.
Criticism against functionalism includes accusations that it supports conservatism and non change. It is also seen as a circular argument in that functionalism can not be proven or disproved (like a genuine scientific theory).
Most sociologists, however, do see that different aspects of a social organisation do contribute to maintaining other aspects. Changes in one aspect, therefore, will have effects of changing other aspects.
A mobiliser does not have to prove the theory, but to be as observant about the community as possible, and see how some parts help to maintain the community as a whole, and how changes in one may contribute to changes in others.

(Deutsch: Funktionalistische Theorien, English: , Español: análisis funcional. Français: l'analyse utilitaire, Português: análise funcional, Pyccкий: Функциональный Анализ)

Fund Raising:
The action of fund raisingis an important aspect of planning and implementing a project, or maintaining an organization. Also see Resource Acquisition.
While some activists may not like fund raising (its professionals are trained in marketing), it is necessary and therefore as honourable as any other element of a project or an organization.

(Deutsch: Geldmittelbeschaffung, English: , Español: recaudación de fondos, Français: relèvement des fonds, Português: angariação de fundos)


The word "gender" is used to distinguish between two categories, "masculine" and "feminine." It should not be confused with the word "sex" which is used to distinguish between "male" and "female."
Gender, and its interpretations of what constitutes masculine and feminine differ greatly between culture and culture, between community and community. Our concern with gender mainly is focused on how distinctions of gender affect the distribution of power, economic relations, and social distinctions.
These are important variables which affect communities, and affect the nature of the work of every mobilizer. A mobilizer must (as part of the requirement of learning about a community) understand what values, attitudes and conceptualizations are shared among community members.
A mobilizer must also work towards reducing unfair political and economic differences between the genders, as an important element of community empowerment. See the training module on Gender. Also see: Age, Race and Sex.

(Deutsch: gender, English: gender, Español: género, Français: genre, Galego: xénero, Kiswahili: ujinsia, Malay: gender, Português: género, Romãnã: gen, Somali: Jandar)

When something is created, it is generated (same word root as "Genesis"). An electric generator takes some other form of energy and converts it to electrical energy.
To generate wealth, it must be created. The most common way is to add value to something that already has some value. When money is transferred, income (wealth) is not necessarily generated.

(Deutsch: Schaffen, Español: generar, Français: produire/créer, Kiswahili: zalisha, Português: gere, crie)

When a group identifies its priority problem, you, as a mobilizer explain that the reverse (or solution) of that problem is the group's priority goal. A goal is more general than an objective. Objectives are derived from goals.

(Deutsch: Ziel, Español: meta, Français: but, Kiswahili: lengo, Português: meta)

The word governance is much more broad than the word, government. It is less formal, more encompassing, less legalistic, in meaning.
It refers to the total pattern of decision making, control, management, co-ordination and power processes of any organization, such as a community. ... Good governance is honest, participatory, responsive, transparent, progressive, equalitarian, democratic, respectful of all members, and works on behalf of all the people.

(Deutsch: Regierungsführung, Español: gobierno, administración, Français: gouvernance, Kiswahili: uongozi, Português: governação, Somali: hogaanka)

... A grant is basically a gift. As such it is a transfer of money.
On this web site, you will find less than enthusiasm for the giving of grants, for several reasons. In any income generating scheme that aims to train participants in how to generate (create) new wealth, giving grants instead of loans makes them skilled in receiving gifts rather than skilled in getting loans after/without the project.
Not sustainable. Similarly, when helping any community, we face a real problem of creating and developing an attitude of dependency if we simply give them grants to obtain their communal services. If we make them struggle, and contribute to the facility, they are more likely to become stronger and more self reliant.
Empowerment methodology requires the minimizing if not the absence of giving grants.

(Deutsch: Zuschuss, Español: subvención, Français: subvention, Kiswahili: mafungu, Português: subvenção)


The word habitat refers to where animate things live.
The habitat of certain birds, for example, may be a meadow or forest. A human habitat is more than the houses people live in. It includes settlements such as camps, hamlets, villages, towns and cities. The word Habitat is often used to refer to the UNCHS (United Nations Centre for Human Settlements) which does not build houses, and to an NGO called Habitat for Humanity which does build houses.

(Deutsch: habitat, Español: hábitat, Français: habitat, Português: hábitat)

Human Habitat:
A human habitat is not just a collection of empty houses.
It is even far more than the physical structures and facilities that can be seen. It is a community of people, all the communal facilities they need: water, sanitation, transport, market, energy, food, health-care, education, security, as well as shelter itself. The city or village can not exist without people, came about by the efforts and visions of people, and ultimately, continues to exist only to serve the needs and wants of the people who call it home.

(Deutsch: menschliches habitat, Español: hábitat humano, Français: habitat humain, Português: hábitat humano)

Human Settlements and Habitat:
Shelter and human habitat are far more than the technology of dwellings or houses. A house exists because of people and for people. A house alone without communal services, such as access to markets, water and sanitation, enculturation (eg education) of the young, communications, transport, markets and other facilities and services, is useless. More importantly, a human settlement (rural and urban) is not just a collection of infrastructure, or even of human occupants that are separate consumers; it is a community, (See "Community"), a social organization that involves human attributes: beliefs, concepts, economic and political dimensions, family and other social reproductive institutions, a set of human languages, traditions, aesthetics and processes.
Human settlement development is community development.

(Deutsch: menschliche siedlung und habitat, Español: asentamientos humanos y hábitat, Français: règlements humains et habitat, Português: ~)


Ideology, the holding of ideas that one particular political system is better than another, belongs to the values or aesthetics (values) dimension of culture. Therefore "ideology" (meaning a set of values) does not belong to the political dimension of culture.

(Deutsch: Ideologie, Español: dimensión ideológica, Français: dimension d'esthétique-valeurs, Português: ideologia)

One of the five major factors of poverty is ignorance. To many, the word ignorant is an insult. What we mean is simply that some people do not know some things; there is no shame in that. Also know that ignorance and stupidity are very different things. Adults can learn, but do not treat them as children or as inferior, or you will block their learning.
Ignorance means not knowing something, stupidity means not being able to know something, and foolishness means doing or not doing something when one knows better. Ignorance, stupidity and foolishness are very different things.

(Deutsch: Unwissenheit, English: ignorance, Español: ignorancia, Français: ignorance, Galego: ignorancia, Malay: ketidaktahuan, Português: ignorância, Romãnã: ignoranta, Somali: jaahilnimo)

To “implement” (verb) a project, is to begin and complete the activity described in the project design. The older and more grammatically correct use of the word is as a noun. An “implement” (noun) is a tool.

(Deutsch: durchführen, Español: implementar, Français: rendre effectif, Português: implementar)

Income is wealth, usually symbolized by money, that is received by someone, usually for services rendered. From the point of view of the receiving individual, it is money that is "coming in," thus the word "income."

(Deutsch: einkommen, Español: ingresos, Français: revenu, Português: renda)

Income Generation:
When income is generated (created), then it means wealth has been created. When value is added to something that already has value, then wealth has been generated.

(Deutsch: einkommensgenerierung, Español: generación de ingresos, Français: revenus produits, Português: geração de renda)

Pure, theoretical, absolute “independence,” where a person, group, or community does not rely on anything or anyone outside, for survival, for growth, for decision-making, is as impossible as a frictionless state is in physics. While your job is to encourage greater levels of independence, self reliance, and to fight dependence, the pure level of total or absolute independence cannot be reached.
As the poet, John Donne, wrote “No man is an island;" we are all, to some extent, interdependent upon each other. Where the empowerment methodology promotes self reliance, it is a matter of degree; eliminating dependency means working towards partnerships.

(Deutsch: unabhängigkeit, Español: independencia, Français: indépendance Português: independência)

Indigo is a little shrub which is native to the West African rain forest. It is used to make a deep lush blue purple die. It is popular today to colour the clothes of the Tuareg on the Sahara desert, people still nick named the "Blue Men."
In the European middle ages, the dye found its way to Europe where only the royalty could afford to buy it. It was used to make lush purple robes popular with kings. . In Europe it was known to come from Timbuktu which was thought to be the end of the world, yet was a thriving commercial city and university town.
Indigo (Indigofera tinctoria), may have been carried from West Africa to Asia, or vice versa . The plant is still cultivated in the Kwawu rain forest, and is used to dye the kente cloth, although imported commercial dies are relentlessly replacing the indigo.
See: English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigo_dye ,
Deutsch: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigo ,
Español: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorante_%C3%ADndigo, Français: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigo,
Português: http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anil_%28corante%29

(Deutsch: indigo, Español: colorante índigo, Français: indigo, Português: anil, corante)

Indirect Labour Costs:
Wages or salaries your business pays to employees who are not working in production, eg: store keeper, security guards.

(Deutsch: Indirekte Lohnkosten, Español: costes indirectos del trabajo, Français: coûts de la main-d'oeuvre indirects, Português: custos indiretos de labute)

Information is one of the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. See: Elements of Community Strength.
More than just having or receiving unprocessed information, the strength of the community or organization depends upon the ability to process and analyse that information, the level of awareness, knowledge and wisdom found among key individuals and within the group as a whole.
When information is more effective and more useful, not just more in volume, the community will have more strength. (Note that this is related to, but differs from, the communication element).
When simulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of information in empowering or strengthening that community or organization.

(Deutsch: information, Español: información, Français: information, Português: informação)

Information Management:
The process of managing information, including collecting it, storing it, retrieving it, analysing it, communicating it, and using it. Different from management information. See Monitoring.

(Deutsch: Informationsmanagement, Español: gestión de la información, Français: gestion de l'Information, Português: administração de informação)

The word "input" is used differently as a noun and as a verb.

  • Noun: a resource that is put into a project or a productive enterprise.
  • Verb: to put something into something (eg to put information into a computer).

English language purists object to the word input being used as a verb; planners, managers, coordinators and mobilizers often use it that way.

(Deutsch: input, Español: aportación, Français: intrant, Português: contribuição)

Intelligence Quotient (IQ):
From a scientific perspective, social science sees the search for a universal measure of intelligence as problematical. An IQ test can only measure the ability of a person to get a score on an IQ test. The content of those questions can not be divorced from culture, and are therefore dependent upon variations in culture.
Historically, they have been used as self justifying predictions that children of aboriginal communities and from disadvantaged ethnic minorities are less intelligent. The intelligence in question is that of the administrators of such tests who put some legitimacy in their results.

(Deutsch: Intelligenzquozient, Español: , Français: , Português: institucional)

Institutional Dimension of Community:
The social, interaction, or institutional dimension of community is composed of the ways people act, interact between each other, react, and expect each other to act and interact. It includes institutions such as marriage or friendship, roles such as mother or police officer, status or class, and other patterns of human behaviour. See Community.

(Deutsch: institutionelle dimension einer Gemeinde, Español: dimensión institucional, Français: dimension institutionnelle, Português: institucional, Pyccкий:институционно)

A person of “integrity” is honest, righteous, good; essential for any mobilizer, entrepreneur or leader.

(Deutsch: Integrität, Español: integridad, Français: intégrité, Português: integridade)

Inter Action:
In sociology, "interaction" goes beyond our ideas of action or behaviour of individuals. Because we are social animals, we human beings behave in response to the ideas and behaviours of other individuals and groups. Social interaction. It is because of this social interaction that we say a community is more than just a collection of human beings, but consists of all the shared ideas, expectations and communication between each other, that it transcends human individuals, making it superorganic.

(Deutsch: Interaktion, Español: interacción, Français: interaction, Português: interação)

Intervention is one of the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. See: Elements of Community Strength.
What is the extent and effectiveness of animation (mobilizing, management training, awareness raising, stimulation) aimed at strengthening the community or organization? Do outside or internal sources of charity increase the level of dependency and weaken the community, or do they challenge the community to act and therefore become stronger? Is the intervention sustainable or does it depend upon decisions by outside donors who have different goals and agendas than the community itself? When a community or organization has more sources of stimulation to develop, it has more strength.
When stimulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of intervention in empowering that community or organization.

(Deutsch: intervention, Español: intervención, Français: intervention, Português: intervenção)

There are basically three things you can do with wealth (1) consume it, (2) store (save) it, or (3) invest it. If you direct wealth away from direct consumption or storage, and towards capital, it contributes to an increase in future wealth (by foregoing immediate consumption).

(Deutsch: Investition, Español: inversión, Français: investissement, Português: investimento)


The word "jihad" (in Islam) is often badly translated as "holy war" in English; as if people could be converted in their beliefs by warfare. A more correct understanding of "jihad" is the "struggle" required for spiritual growth. It is the exertion or endeavor required in striving to seek the spiritual. The "empowerment" methodology on this site for strengthening communites is something like that. It is the notion that, by making effort, an organism becomes stronger. "No pain; no gain," the saying goes, meaning that effort is needed to progress. See the story, Mohammed and the Rope.

(Deutsch: Dschihad, Español: Jihad, Français: Jihad)


According to minutes of the Linnean society, Captain Cook was in Australia making notes on various species (eg plants, animals), natural objects (eg rivers, hills) and other items. He saw a strange animal and asked the aboriginal interpreter what that was. "I do not know," the interpreter replied. In the aboriginal language, "ka" means "I," "nga" means "negative" and "roo" means "know."
The aboriginal sentence, "I do not know," became the English word for this strange animal, "kangaroo."
Lesson to us? Do not take some one's interpretation of what is happening in an organization or community as the most accurate observation just because a member of the organization or community has told it to you. In mobilizer slang, a "kangaroo" is misinterpretation of an informant's observation.

(Deutsch: känguru, English: kangaroo, Español: Canguro, Français: kangourou)

KISS Principle:
"Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!" implores us not to complicate our work. Earlier versions of this instruction used the word "stupid" instead of "sweetheart" but that negative word serves no purpose in community empowerment.

(Deutsch: KISS Prinzip, English: KISS principle, Español: Principio KISS, Français: principe de MLSA)


Human beings have been identified as "tool making," and that it is through the invention of tools, and the handing of their making and use to others, as the main factor in our very humanity (our culture; our social organization). . If that is so, then perhaps the oldest and most essential tool is language. Each language is a set of symbols and conventions that allow us to communicate with each other. As such, language belongs to the technological dimension of culture. See How to Learn an Unwritten Language. Also see: Sapir Whorf, and Gender and Language.

(Deutsch: sprache, English: language, Español: lenguaje, Français: langage, Português: idioma)

Leadership is one of the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. See: Elements of Community Strength. Leadership refers to a quality among persons who lead a group or organization. It is a quality that can be self developed by those who wish to be leaders. Where its leadership is strong, an organization is more empowered. . To demonstrate leadership, and thus to be able to lead, you must have vision, honesty, courage and integrity. To be respected by those you would have follow you, you must respect them, and let them know that you respect them.
While this is not the place to argue ideologically between democratic or participatory leadership, in contrast to totalitarian, authoritarian and dictatorial styles, the most effective and sustainable leadership (for strengthening the community, not just strengthening the leaders) is one that operates so as to follow the decisions and desires of the community as a whole, to take an enabling and facilitating role.
Leaders have power, influence, and the ability to move the community. The more effective its leadership, the more stronger is a community. Leadersmust possess skills, willingness, and some charisma. The more effective the leadership, the more capacity has the community or organization. Lack of good leadership weakens it. When stimulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of leadership in empowering that community or organization. Leadership is an important skill that should be in the tool boxes of both mobilizers and managers.

(Deutsch: führungskraft, English: leadereship, Español: liderazgo, Français: le leadership, Português: liderança)

The process of enculturation, ie the process of becoming human (having culture), is dependent upon learning. We learn all through our lives. To stop learning is to be dead. We learn by reading, by listening, by watching, by doing. The best way to learn is to learn by "doing." During a one-hour lecture, in the first five minutes we absorb 90 per cent of the information we retain.

(Deutsch: lernen, English: learn, Español: aprenda, apprender, Français: apprendre, apprener, Português: aprenda)

Lock Step Program:
A reading program that is rigid and prescriptive. The teaching material is presented in systematic and sequential manner. See the trainin document, "Large." All lessons are created in a manner that teachers are forced to follow the strict instructions. There is little room for teacher creativity and initiative. (Jac Slik)

(Deutsch: standardprogramm zum lesenlernen, English: lock step programme, Español: programa de secuencia cerrada , Français: programmes à échelons fixes, Português: ~)


Macro level Analysis:
In the social sciences, examinations of large scale patterns of society are called "macro." ... It includes broad surveys of social change, and levels of analysis of nation states, large ethnic groups, social class and communities. It is contrasted with "Micro level Analysis."

(Deutsch: makroebene-analyse, English: macro level analysis, Español: macroanálisis. Français: le macro analyse égale, Português: análise de macro, Pyccкий: Анализ на Макро-Уровне)

The word "management" refers to the functions of control, co-ordination, decision making, and problem solving of any governmental, not-for-profit, or commercial organization (agency, department, association), group. community, endeavour, or project. It is a broad concept (like “governance”) and can be carried out in many different ways. The empowerment methodology in these web pages encourages “participatory management,” rather than autocractic or dictatorial management.
In both Spanish and French languages, the English word "management" translates as different words. In Spanish, there are three meanings: (1) dirección, (2) gestión y (3) administración. "Dirección:" to run, the power to give the orders. "Gestionar:" to arrange, the ability to take the necessary actions for something to be done. "Administración:" means the job done by a clerk.
Those are shades of meanings; the three of them can all also be called "dirección." On this web site, we use the word "gestión" because it is the closest to the methods the site proposes (participatory). Is more general, more "democratic," not so dictatorial as "dirección," but a more important job than a simple "administración."

(Deutsch: management, English: management, Español: gerencia, Français: gestion)

Management Information:
Information needed to make management decisions. Data. (Differs from “information management")

(Deutsch: management information, English: management information, Español: información para la gestión, Français: information de gestion, Português: informação para administração)

Management Training:
Management training differs from orthodox training (which emphasizes skill transfer) in that it is used as a method of mobilizing and organizing (or reorganizing) a management system. While originally developed for senior managers of large commercial corporations, it is a useful method to add to social animation in strengthening or empowering low income communities and groups. See "training for action," below. Also see "community management training,"above.

(Deutsch: management training, English: management training, Español: adiestramiento para la gestión, , Français: formation à la gestion, 日本語: 管理訓練, Português: , Romãnã: instruire in management)

Micro-level Analysis:
Examinations of small scale social patterns.

(Deutsch: mikroebene-analyse, English: micro-level analysis, Español: microanálisis. Français: l'analyse microscopique égale, Português: ~)

Mistakes: A "mistake" is an error. We are tempted to get upset when we or the people who work for or with us make a mistake. But we must learn to expect mistakes and see it as a normal part of being human, and therefore not get upset. "To err is human," as the saying goes, only some divine higher power is perfect and does not make mistakes. See Anger, Criticize. See: errors.
If you want the mistake to not be repeated, what you must do is to avoid criticizing, complaining or getting angry. Any of those will defeat your purpose. Remind the person that "You do not have to be bad to get better," meaning that anyone can improve, then make a positive and supportive recommendation for avoiding the mistake or otherwise improving. See Sandwich.
A mistake is not a failure; relax. A failure is not a disaster; relax. A disaster is not the end of the world; relax. To review a few mistakes in writing, see: Errors. Also see anger.

(Deutsch: fehler, Español: errores, Français: erreurs, Português: Erros de escrita)

Mobilization Cycle:

Mobilsation Cycle

The mobilization cycle, is a set of interventions by a mobilizer aimed at stimulating a community to engage in self-activities leading to increased self reliance. It is called "cycle" in that the whole set of activities (which are in a logical and functional order) are repeated as long as necessary. See Mobilization Cycle and Mobilization Cycle Illustrations.

(Deutsch: mobilisierungs-kreislauf, Español: ciclo de movilización, Français: cycle de mobilisation, Português: ciclo de mobilização)

To mobilize is to produce action in a group or community. Stimulation. Not exactly the same as organize, because action has to take place (people become mobile, moving) before it can be called mobilization. It can be spelled "mobilise." Similar to social animation, except animation includes both the mobilizing and the organizing. See "Action."

(Deutsch: mobilisieren, English: mobilize, Español: movilización, Français: mobilisez, Galego: mobilizar, Malay: memobilisasi, Português: mobilizar, Romãnã: a mobiliza, Somali: wacyigelinta)

A mobilizer is a person who mobilizes, ie gets things moving. Social animator. Community development officer or assistant. Community worker. Activist. Community participation promoter. See: To Be a Mobilizer.

(Deutch: animator, English: animator, mobilizer, activist, Español: activista, Français: mobilisateur, animateur, Galego: activista, Italiano: animatore, Kiswahili: ramsisha. Malay: pemobilisasi, Português: animador, Romãnã: animator)

Money and wealth are not the same. Money is a cultural symbol that everyone must believe in if it is to be useful. It can be used as a measure of wealth, a method of transferring or exchanging wealth, and a way to store wealth. (See "wealth," and Principles of Wealth).
Money is not wealth.

(Deutsch: geld, English: money, Español: dinero, Français: argent, Galego: diñeiro, Malay: wang, Português: dinheiro, Romãnã: bani, Somali: lacag)

Monitoring is the regular observation, recording, analysing and reporting of activities and the results of those activities, in a project or similar activity. (See Monitoring).

(العربيّة (Arabic): الرصد, Bahasa Indonesia: pengawasan, Deutsch: monitoring, English: monitoring, Español: supervisar, Français: surveillance, Ελληνικά: Επίβλεψη, Malay: memantau, Nederlands: monitoren, Romãnã: monitorizarea, Português: monitoragem, ردو (Urdu): نگرانی)

Monitoring Indicators:
Qualitative and quantitative criteria (signs) for measuring or assessing the achievements, or degrees of achievement of project activities, objectives and outputs. They should be objectively verifiable. See Measuring Strength for indicators of the desired results of community mobilizing, ie empowerment.

(العربيّة (Arabic): مؤشرات الرصد, Deutsch: indikatoren für das monitoring, Español: indicadores para la supervisión, Français: indicateurs des surveillance, Português: indicadores de monitorar)

The word "motivation" indicates the willingness to work, or to get something done. The meaning has been corrupted when someone says she or he wants to be “motivated,” meaning that he or she wants payment. Cash is only one possible factor of motivation. People can be motivated to do things on the basis of loyalty, or of love of person, family, lineage, tribe or country. Some one may be motivated to do things because they want to see the results (job satisfaction). Motivation is the desire to act, not the payment.

(Deutsch: motivieren, English: motivate, Español: motivar, Français: motivez, Português: motivar)

Between more than two parties. This is used where a donor country sends funds to multilateral organization such as the World Bank and the United Nations, which in turn administer aid donations to several recipient countries.
Canada's aid agency, CIDA, has a division called "Multilateral" which administers the donation of aid money to multilateral agencies, mainly the UN. Like the bilateral agencies, the multilateral agencies usually operate through local private enterprises as consultancies, to implement their projects. Compare with "Bilateral."
Multilateral agencies include those that are multi nation, including the United Nations and its many emergency response and developmental agencies (UNDP, Unicef, UNHCR, UNCHS, WHO, FAO, WFP). Multilateral also includes the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

(Deutsch: multilateral, English: multilateral, Español: , Français: , Português: , Pyccкий: )

Multiplier Effect:
Economists tell of the "multiplier effect." Where new wealth is invested, the positive effect on the economy is more than the amount created. As the new money is spent, those who receive it usualy spend part of it, and save part of it. Let us say they spent eighty per cent and saved twenty per cent. Then there is eighty units of new money in the economy, and the recievers spend eight per cent of that and save twenty per cent. That continues until the amoujnt injected into the economy may be as much as four to eight times the original investment.
You do the math.

(Deutsch: , English: multiplier, Español: , Français: , Português: )

Mushroom Treatment:
How do you raise mushrooms? You "keep them in the dark and feed them cow manure." This is a slang phrase meaning the opposite of transparency. Usually a more rude phrase for male bovine faeces is used instead of "cow manure."

(Deutsch: pilzaufzucht, English: mushroom treatment, Español: setas, cultivo de setas, Français: champignon, traitement de champignon, Galego: o cultivo do champiñón, Malay: pengendalian cendawan, Português: tratamento de cogumelo, Romãnã: cultivarea, ciupercilor)


Natural Science:
A natural science is an academic discipline with the purpose of understanding, predicting and explaining events in our natural environment. Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Astronomy are all natural sciences. They use the Scientific Method to observe and analyse in order to build up a body of knowledge.

(Deutsch: Wissenschaft, Naturwissenschaft, English: natural science, Español: ciencias naturales. Français: la science naturelle, Português: ciência natural, Pyccкий: Естественные Науки. Наука)

Networking is making friends and acquaintances outside one's daily circle of routine contacts. It is one of the sixteen elements of organizational and community capacity. Not only "what one knows" (know how) but also "who one knows" (know who) increases capacity (and finds jobs). . To what extent the members of the community, and their leaders, know people (and their agencies or organizations) that can provide useful resources to help empower the group or the community? The useful relationships, potential or existing are a resource that empowers.
Networking is one of the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. The size of a person's network is the number of contacts, friends or acquaintances that might be called upon to provide advice, support or information. What is the extent to which community members, especially leaders, know persons (and their agencies or organizations) who can provide useful resources that will strengthen the community as a whole? See: Elements of Community Strength. The useful linkages, potential and realized, that exist within the community and with others outside it. The more effective the network, the stronger the community or organization. (Isolation produces weakness). When simulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of altruism in empowering that community or organization.

(English: networking, Español: contactos, Français: reseau, travail en réseau. réseau. établir des contacts, Português: transmitindo em rede)

Non Governmental Organization:
Strictly speaking an NGO (Non Governmental Organization) is any organization that is not part of the governmental structure. In common usage, however, the term NGO also implies that it is a charitable-type organization, which is not organized (like a commercial organization) to make a profit. They may be set up for any number of reasons, as marketing boards, lawyers' or other professional associations, service clubs, congregations, or youth groups. It is expected that an NGO, as well as having some paid staff, is composed of a larger, unpaid, voluntary membership and an elected unpaid board of directors. "Volag." In the area of relief and development and international and national assistance, many "suitcase" NGOs have been set up, mainly to provide work and income for the organizers. This is not a bad thing in itself, although they should more rightly be called "consultancies" or "contractors," because they do not have an unpaid voluntary membership and board. See Acronyms (NGO).

(Español: organización no gubernamental, Français: organisation non gouvernementale)

Non-verbal interaction:
This is communication between persons that does not involve words. It uses gestures, space, silence, body position, and facial expressions. It can be conscious as in the American Sign Language used by deaf mute persons, or baseball catchers, or it can be unconscious where information is portrayed by a person through body language, yet that person is unaware of the information being sent. A good mobiliser –– when learning about a community –– learns how to "read" persons even when they are not talking, and learns how these non-verbal communications can vary between cultures.

(English: non verbal communication, Español: interacción no verbal. Français: l'interaction non-verbale, Pyccкий: Невербальное Взаимодействие)


An objective is derived from a goal. An objective is “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound). It must be finite, verifiable, quantifiable, and have a completion date.

(Deutsch: Zielvorgabe, English: objective, Español: objectivo, Français: objectif, Português: objectivo)

Total neutrality.
Like a value free observation or a frictionless space, this concept is an ideal rather than a condition that exists in reality. To be human is to have values, pre-existing beliefs, expectations and perspectives.

(Deutsch: Objektivität, English: objectivity, Español: objetividad, Français: l'objectivité, Português: objetividade, Pуccкий: Объективность)

The word "organize" means to arrange a set of people into different roles, functions, and responsibilities, so that the whole organizationcan function as a whole. A trade union organizes them into a union, which has more power (by being organized) than the collection of unorganized labourers. Related to the word "organ." Your job is to organize a community based executive to act for and under the control of the whole community. Organizing and mobilizing go together and can be called social animation.

(Deutsch: Organisieren, English: organize, Español: organizar, Français: organisez, Português: organizar)

Level of organization belongs to one of the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. See: Elements of Community Strength. The degree to which different members of the community see themselves as each having a role in supporting the whole (in contrast to being a mere collection of separate individuals), including (in the sociological sense) organizational integrity, structure, procedures, decision making processes, effectiveness, division of labour and complementarity of roles and functions. The more organized, or more effectively organized, is a community or organization, the more capacity or strength it has. When simulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of level and effectiveness of organization in empowering that community or organization.

(Deutsch: organization, English: organization, Español: organización, Français: organisent, Português: organização)

Outcome & Output:
Outcome: The results and consequences (eg effect on a community) of implementing a project. Not the same as "output." Not as indirect as "impact." Output: Whatever is produced by a project (we hope that the objectives are achieved as outputs). Not the same as “outcome.”

(Deutsch: Auswirkung & Output, English: outcome and output, Español: resultados y rendimiento, Français: résultats et sortie, Português: resultado e produção)

Owing to:
The phrase "owing to" means some amount of cash or other resource is expected to be paid in the future. In a micro-enterprise scheme, you can speak of money due to the bank as being "owing to" the bank. Do not use the phrase, "owing to," when you mean, "because of."

(Deutsch: Schulden, English: owing to, Español: deber a, Français: devoir à, Português: devido a)


Paper Trail:
The term, "paper trail," is slang meaning a set of reports and records that allows us to see what has gone on before. It is important in a mobilization programme to ensure that reports and records are kept. This is so that when mobilizers rotate there is continuity and consistency in the programme, and to avoid duplication and avoid missing lessons learned (making the same mistakes again). The term is derived from the method of a hunter in the woods, following footsteps and spoor of hunted animals.

(Deutsch: Dokumentation, English: paper trail, Español: rastro de papel, Français: piste de papier, Português: diário de atividades)

Participation: "Participation" is used in several contexts on this web site. "Community Participation" means that all members of a community participate in decision making that affects the community (not merely consultation or contribution). See PAR. See also Civic Engagement. "Participatory Training" means that the trainees learn by doing, ie participating as an effective method for learning skills. Participants do not learn as effectively when they are listening to a lecture or to a presentation. "Participatory Management" means that management is not left only to the managers, but is everybody's business. "Participatory Appraisal" (PRA) means that the affected community or organization is stimulated to participate in assessing the situation and determining priority needs.

(Deutsch: partizipation, English: participation, Español: participación, Français: participation, Italiano: participazione, Português: participação)

Participatory Appraisal or Assessment:
Before a project is planned, the situation must be assessed. PAR or PRA For a project to be "community-based,” the whole community must participate in observing and analysing, looking for problems, potentials, resources and constraints. A community and its members do not participate in its own assessment automatically. A decree, law, project design phrase or statement of intent will not ensure that the whole community participates. Community members need encouragement, skills, stimulation and guidance in order to participate in appraisal or assessment. Among the various tasks of the community worker, mobilizer or facilitator, providing those are among the most important. Providing that stimulation and training is variously called by the acronyms, PRA or PAR.

(Bahasa Indonesia: penaksiran partisipator, Deutsch: particiatory appraisal, English: participatory appraisal, Español: evaluación participativa rural, Français: évaluation rapide/rurale participatoire, Ελληνικά: Συμμετοχική Εκτίμηση, Malay: penilaian atau penaksiran penglibatan, Nederlands: participerende observatie of beoordeling, Romãnã: estimarea sau evaluarea participativa, Português: avaliação de participação, ردو (Urdu): مشترکہ تجزیہہ)

Participatory Evaluation:
While a project is being implemented, and after it is completed, the situation must be re-assessed and evaluated. In a "community-based” project, the whole community asks if the objectives were realistic. Were they reached (or to what extent)? Who benefited? What lessons were learned? Where do we go from here?

(Deutsch: Partizipative Evaluierung, English: participatory evaluation, Español: evaluación participativa, Français: évaluation participatoire, Português: avaliação de participação)

Participatory Management:
The word “management” was described above. Participatory management in a department or agency means that staff participate (to varying degrees) in management decision making. In a community based project, the whole community participates in the major decisions of the executive. (A slogan we often use is, "Management is far too important to be left only to the managers.")

Participatory Management Structure
(Deutsch: Partizipatives Management, English: participatory management, Español: gestión participativa, Français: gestion participatif, Português: )

A "partnership" is a relationship in which there is some equality between the parties in the agreement. In the key word, "independent,"above, it was noted that we are all, to some extent, interdependent. While your work leads to a community breaking out of dependency, it cannot become totally independent. The realistic aim, then, is for communities to get into partnerships with municipal or district authorities, and work towards more equal relationships.

(Deutsch: partnerschaft. English: partnership, Français: association, हिन्दी (Hindi): भागीदारी, Italiano: partenariato, Português: parceria, Romãnã: partneriat)


A peasant is an individual who lives on and participates in subsistence production.

(Deutsch: kleinbauer, English: peasant, Español: campesino, Français: paysan, Português: camponês)

People Development:
The training documents and guidelines in this series are aimed at human development. For further explanation, see: People Development; Not Hardware Development.

(Deutsch: individuelle Entwicklung, English: people development, Español: desarrollo de la gente, Français: développement de personnes, Português: desenvolvimento das pessoas)

Planning means thinking about and working out what to do in the future. A good plan has a series of steps leading from the current situation up to the desired end. See Work Plan. One effective method is "reverse time thinking," where you start with what you want to achieve in the end, and look at the immediately prior step to that, then the one before that, and so on until you get to the present situation.

(Bahasa Indonesia: perencanaan, Deutsch: Planung, English: planning, Español: planificación, Français: planification, Ελληνικά: Σχεδιασμός, Português: planificar, Romãnã: planificarea, ردو (Urdu): منصوبہ بندى)

Political Dimension of Community:
The political dimension of community is its various ways and means of allocating power and decision making. It is not the same as ideology, which belongs to the value dimension. It includes, but is not limited to, types of governments and management systems. It also includes how people in small bands make decisions when they do not have a recognized leader. See "Culture."

(Deutsch: politische Dimension, English: political dimension, Español: dimensión política, Français: dimension politique, Português: dimensão política, Pyccкий:Политическое измерение)

Political Power:
Political power is one of the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. The degree to which the community can participate in national and district decision making. Just as individuals have varying power within a community, so communities have varying power and influence within the district and nation. The more political power and influence that a community or organization can exercise, the higher level of capacity it has. :When stimulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of political power in empowering that community or organization. See: Elements of Community Strength.

(Deutsch: politische Macht, English: political power, Español: poder político, Français: pouvoir politique, Português: poder político)

Pork Barrelling:
There is political corruption all over the world. It may not be appropriate, therefore, to use a local slang expression from the USA to describe one common form of it, but we do. The city of Chicago, Illinois, is well known as the home of the prohibition era's most famous and fearsome form of organized crime, the mob (mafia).
It is also an important place for the slaughtering and butchering of animals. Both stink. Many settlers stopped in Chicago on the way west to pick up barrels of salted pork which could last through the winter because the salt preserved the meat.
Chicago also had an infamously corrupt city government, not to mention corrupt unions. Politicians were expected to pay off their supporters, or at least the leaders of groups who voted for them: union leaders, leaders of ethic organization, even church leaders. When they won an election, they dispensed favours, a contract here, a piece of legislation there, a job here, a "fixed" (castrated) arrest or fine there, and on and on. This dispensing of favours was referred to as if the politician were dipping into a barrel of salted pork and handing out this and that to various supporters. Since then, "to pork barrel" has become used as a verb, and "pork barrelling" became a recognized methodology. It is all slang.

(Deutsch: pork barrel, English: pork barrel, Español: favoritismo, Français: porc barrelling, Português: barril de carne de porco)

The word "positivism" in social science and philosophy means the application of the scientific method to social phenomena. As a mobiliser, you are not necessarily using the scientific method to discover new knowledge, but you are an applied scientist using existing knowledge to stimulate and guide social change in a community.

(Deutsch: Positivismus, English: positivism, Español: positivismo. Français: Le positivisme, Português: positivismo, Pyccкий: Позитивизм)

In the social sciences, "Postmodernism" is a framework which emphasises the complex patterns of culture and society in contemporary societies. Your job, as a community mobiliser, is to observe and understand social patterns of a community in a practical way, rather than to test sophisticated theories.

(Deutsch: Postmoderne, English: postmodernism, Español: postmodernismo, Français: l'approche modernisme suivant, Português: poste modernismo, Pyccкий: Постмодернизм)

The big Five Factors of Poverty

The Big Five Factors of Poverty

Poverty is more than a lack of money and income, more than lack of access to facilities and services such as water, roads, education or clinics. It is the result of “poverty of spirit” ie an attitude of hopelessness, an ignorance of available resources, a dependence upon others, lack of confidence, discouragement, lack of skills, lack of trust, lack of integrity and lack of effective sustainable organization; in short, lack of good management. See Factors of Poverty.
Poverty is a social problem, and calls for a social solution; poverty is not merely the lack of income among a collection of individuals. Poverty can be reduced by organizing and guiding poor people towards helping themselves, and by getting stronger (empowerment) as a result of engaging in struggles and meeting challenges. The eradication of poverty, therefore, calls upon a sustainable improvement in management.

(Deutsch: Armut, English: poverty, Español: pobreza, Français: pauvreté, Galego: pobreza, Malay: kemiskinan, Português: pobreza, Romãnã: saracie, Somali: faqri)

Poverty Alleviation:
The word “alleviation,” means to temporarily take away pain and discomfort. Giving money to poor people does not end poverty. As mobilizers dedicated to fighting the factors not the symptoms of poverty, we avoid this approach (mere alleviation by transferring money).

(Deutsch: Armutslinderung, English: poverty alleviation, Español: alivio de la pobreza, Français: allégement de pauvreté, Galego: alivio da pobreza, Italiano: alleviare la povertà, Malay: peringanan kemiskinan, Português: alívio de pobreza, Romãnã: alinarea saraciei, Somali: yareynta faqriga)

Poverty Eradication:
As mobilizers, we work towards the elimination of the social problem of poverty by analysing its causes, and taking steps to oppose and remove those causes. Since poverty is a social problem, the solution to that problem is social.
Two complementary approaches to poverty elimination (communal and private) are found in two complementary modules here: Community Mobilization Cycle, and Income Generation Scheme.

(Deutsch: Armutsbeseitigung, English: poverty eradication, Español: erradicación de la pobreza, Français: extirpation de pauvreté, Galego: erradicación da pobreza, Italiano: alleviare la povertà, Malay: penghapusan kemiskinan, Português: erradicação de pobreza, Romãnã: eradicarea saraciei, Somali: ciribtirka faqriga)

Poverty Reduction:
The word "reduction" means to make something smaller. See Principles of Community Empowerment. In contrast to “alleviation” which temporarily treats the symptoms of poverty, reduction is seen as on the right pathway towards eradication.

(Deutsch: Armutsreduzierung, English: poverty reduction, Español: reducción de la pobreza, Français: réduction de pauvreté, Galego: redución da pobreza, Malay: pengurangan kemiskinan, Português: redução de pobreza, Romãnã: reducerea saracie)

Power is the ability to move or do things. Amount of strength. In the political dimension of culture, power means political power, the ability to control, influence or change things in society.

(Deutsch: Macht, empowerment, die stärkung, leistungsfähigkeit, English: capacity, power, strength, Español: capacidad, potenciación, poder, Français: capacité, empowerment, pouvoir, Italiano: empowerment, Kiswahili: uwezo, Português: capacidade, fortalecendo, Romãnã: capacitate, Pyccкий: paзвития, Somali: awooda)

Praise Often.

(Deutsch: Lob, English: praise, Español: ~, Français: ~, Português: elogio)

Primary Health Care:
The concept of primary health care, promoted and supported by WHO, is a package of policies and practices that are of particular interest to poor people and to people in low income nations. The principles in that package include putting an emphasis onto spending on low cost health care for the common diseases, which affect the majority of the population, rather than putting scarce resources into high-cost, sophisticated (eg high tech) curative practices that benefit only the rich.
It also recognizes that prevention is much cheaper than cure, that it results in lower mortality (death rate) and morbidity (illness rate) which put strains on the economy, and is more humane. It includes the notion that many persons can be trained to low levels of medical skills who can reach more remote areas of the country, and who can refer difficult cases to more highly trained professional in urban areas.
The notion of PHC is important to mobilizers in poor countries, as it needs to be understood by all people, and it is a more efficient way of allocating limited resources. The principles lying behind PHC are also applicable to other community based activities, such as community based social work. See the acronym PHC.

(Deutsch: Primäre Gesundheitsversorgung, English: primary health care, Español: atención sanitaria primaria, Français:santé primaire, Galego: atención sanitaria primaria, Italiano: assistenza sanitaria primaria, Malay: penjagaan kesihatan utama, Português: cuidado médico primário, Romãnã: ingrijirea medicala primara)

Progress Reports:
A progress report reports progress. What are the results of your activities? How far have you gone to reach your objectives? Donors want to know what was achieved with their donated money. Donors are less interested in your activities; they are more interested in the results of your activities; have you reached, or partially reached, the objectives you stated when you asked for the donation? Resource acquisition (eg fund raising) and report writing are not independent activities. see Report Writing.

(Deutsch: Fortschrittsbericht, English: progress reports, Español: informes narrativos de progreso, Français: rapports sur l'état d'avancement, Português: relatórios de progresso)

A project is a logical series of related activities (investments) aimed at solving specific problems with a specific time and in a specific location. Project stages include assessing, planning, implementing (doing), monitoring (observing), and evaluating. A community-based project is one in which the whole community chooses, plans implements and monitors it, and owns and controls the project.

(Deutsch: Projekt, English: project, Español: proyecto, Français: projet, Português: projeto)

Project Committee:
Executive, Development Committee or CIC (Community Implementing Committee) of the community, chosen by the community as a whole, responsible for carrying out the wishes of the whole community.

(Deutsch: Projekt-Komitee, English: project committee, Español: comité de desarrollo, Français: comité de développement, Português: comitê para o projeto)

Karl Marx used the word, "Proletariat" to identify the exploited class – workers in factories who did not own capital, and who depended upon their labour for their survival. Français: le prolétariat. In your work in communities, you may find that the equivalent groups are peasants who do not work for factory owners, or tenants who do not own the land or property on which they live or make a living.

(Deutsch: Proletariat, English: proletariat, Español: proletariado, Português: proletariado, Pyccкий: Пролетариат)

A "proposal" is a suggestion or invitation. In our work, a "proposal" is a document that requests money and/or seeks approval for a project. The most effective format for a proposal is a project design. It defines a problem, a solution, and a strategy for using potential resources, overcoming constraints, to reach finite and measurable objectives. See Proposals.

(Deutsch: Antrag, English: proposal, Español: propuesta, Français: proposition, Português: proposta)

A "provider" takes the "provision" approach, and provides resources in return for votes, popularity or career advance. Provision is not sustainable and does not lead to self reliance as the "enablement" approach can. The old patronistic (or "pork barrelling") system, where politicians and officials handed out contracts and community services to those who supported them in staying in power, is promoted by the "provision" approach to facilities and services. Those leaders must change or be replaced by genuinely democratic public servants who engage in facilitating community self help.

(Deutsch: Versorger, English: provider, Español: suministrador, Français: fournisseur, Português: )

Pure Sociology:
Pure sociology is contrasted with applied sociology (in which community mobilisation is categorised). Same as Basic Sociology. Pure sociology seeks to make discoveries through observation and analysis of social groups, without attempting to make changes in those groups.

(Deutsch: Reine Soziologie, theoretische soziologie, English: pure sociology, basic sociology, Español: sociología teórica. sociología básica, Français: la sociologie pure, sociologie de base, हिन्दी (Hindi): विकेन्द्रीकरण, Pyccкий: Фундаментальная Социология )


No key words for this letter –– yet. If you have found a word related to community empowerment, and it needs discussion, please write.


Repeated Reading:
A reading method that requires students to listen to a teacher read a selection and then read the selection after the teacher. Individual and small groups of students can benefit from Repeated Reading. See the training document, "Large." This approach is used as part of the Whole Language reading method. (Jac Slik)

(Español: lectura repetida, English: repeated reading, Français: la lecture répétée)

The word "replication" means a process of deliberate repeating. An important element of the scientific method is that any experiment to learn about the relationships between variables should be replicable. That means if you repeat the same actions, under the same conditions, the results should be the same. Since no two communities are alike (so far as we know) and no community is the same at two different points of time, the notion of replicability becomes an ideal rather than something which can be practised precisely.

(Español: reiteración. English: replication, Français: la reproduction, Português: ~, Pyccкий: Репликация)

Reporting is the process of conveying information. It can be verbal, written, or electronic. Among these training modules there are several that give guidance in writing reports; see: Report Writing.

(Español: informes, English: reporting, Français: rapporter, Português: informar)

Your reputation is the most important asset you have as a mobilizer. You can be a better leader when people trust you. It is not only important to be honest, it is important to be seen to be honest. That is why you should conduct all your mobilizing activities with transparency.

(English: reputation, Español: reputación, Français: réputation, Português: reputação, Pyccкий: Репутация)

A “resource” is anything of value that can be used as an “input” for a project. Most poor people assume that their community does not have any resources, and seek assistance outside. . Any community that contains living human beings has resources, some hidden, that can be used for self-help development. See Hidden Resources.

(English: resources, Español: recursos, Français: ressources, Português: recursos)

The set of responsibilities, activities and tasks, identified for each "actor," is a "role." These must be determined logically and consciously by the group through your stimulation, during the organizing for action aspect of your work.

(English: role, Español: rol, Français: rôle)

Running Interference:
In team games of ball, such as football, rugby, soccer, lacrosse and (grass) hockey, one player may have the ball and be headed for the goal of the opposing team. Other team members are obliged to assist the member with the ball. One important way to do that is to run ahead of the player with the ball, and clear the path, keeping opponents out of the way. This is called "running interference" for the player with the ball.
In a mobilization programme, a mobilizer has enough work to do in organizing a community to engage in self help. Journalists and politicians often mistake the objective of the mobilizer to be the construction of the latrine, clinic, school or water supply (whatever). It is not. The objective of the mobilizer is to strengthen the community, and the latrine (or whatever) is a means rather than an end. (It is easier to photograph a latrine, perhaps with the politician standing in front of it, than to take a news photograph of a "community empowerment").
A good manager of mobilizers, will "run interference" for the mobilizer, by finding opportunities to raise the awareness of journalists and politicians, that the objective is to raise the capacity of the community (not to construct the latrine or whatever). The mobilizer needs less to defend her or his methods for community empowerment, and thus to defend the longer time it takes for the construction of the latrine (or whatever).

(English: running interference, Español: interferencia de carrera, Français: intervention courant, Português: correr interferência)


A schism is like a dramatic and deep cut or split between two religions or relgious factions. See Social Schism. When applied to a community or organization, it means that factions are in conflict with each other.

(Deutsch: Schisma, English: schism, Español: cismas, Français: schism, Português: cisma)

Science is a method of obtaining knowledge, plus the (changing) knowledge gained by that method. The method is the application of systematic techniques of empirical (factual) observation and logical analysis for testing theories.

(Deutsch: Wissenschaft, English: science, Español: ciencia. Français: la science, Português: ciência)

The word "self" has different interpretations in different contexts, which makes it difficult to translate concepts such as self help, self management, or self reliance into French or Spanish. One meaning is that of the individual (ego), and that is not the meaning here. Another is that it refers to independence, even of a group (not individual), so it may be better translated as "auto."

(Deutsch: Selbst, English: self, Español: self, autogestion, Français: , Português: ego)

Self Help:
There are two levels of self help; (1) an individual helping herself or himself, and (2) a community or other social organism helping itself. Self help actions are part of the empowerment methodology, where effort is needed for anything to become stronger. When you go to the gym to develop strength, the coach can not do your push ups for you. Training material on this web site aims at (1) income generation for individuals to help themselves become more self reliant, and (2) the mobilization cycle for a community to help itself become more self reliant.

(Deutsch: Selbsthilfe, English: self help, Español: autoayuda, por uno mismo, Français: auto aide)

Self Management:
The phrase "self management," derived from the Spanish concept of "auto-gestion," means that a community makes its own decisions, especially those kinds of decisions that fit into processes of planning and management. For a community to become self reliant, it must have the capacity to manage its own affairs, and that requires, among other things, that its community members must have skills of management.
(Deutsch: Selbstverwaltung, English: self management, Français: auto gestion, Español: auto-gestion)

Self Reliance:
"Self reliance" means the ability or capacity to rely on one's self. The "self" is used rather freely in mobilization and might be (1) an individual but is more likely (2) a group or community. (The Spanish use of "auto" is more accurate). Developing self reliance means "empowerment," and on this site that is addressed (1) for individuals (see income generation) and (2) for communities (see principles of strengthening).

(Deutsch: Eigenständigkeit, English: self reliance, Español: autosuficiencia)

It is important for local authorities and leaders to be sensitive to your goals and methods. Beware: you may be tempted to hold an early sensitization workshop without being fully prepared to show the authorities what you intend, also showing them how they benefit. . Make sure you are clear about what you want to sensitize them about, and plan your workshop (See Preparing a Workshop) accordingly. If you are not careful, you may raise unrealistic expectations which will work against your goals later.
Raise awareness, not expectations.

(Deutsch: Sensibilisierung, English: raising awareness, sensitizing. Español: sensibilización, Français: augmenter de conscience, Português: sensibilizando)

See Human Settlement, village, town, city.

The word "sex" has various meanings in different contexts. One way is as a category of distinction, between "males" and "females." We usually think that there are only those two sexes, but geneticists now tell us that there are at least five categories, according to distributions of "x" and "y" chromosomes, which are the genetic determinants of sex of individuals. More important to us, as applied sociologists, eg as mobilizers, is the concept of "gender." Unlike "sex" which has a biological and genetic definition, "gender" is defined socially –– the difference between "masculine" and "feminine." The distinction is social. a product of our culture, and determined by our communal understandings and evaluations of physical and biological differences –– not always accurate.
Another meaning of the word "sex" is as a reference to a physical act of coupling between males and females, the main method of producing offspring. The sexual act is one which is fraught with sensitivities in most cultures, and is therefore one which every mobilizer should seek to understand in the communities to be mobilized. Stepping outside what is permitted in a community can be a powerful hindrance to the effectiveness of any mobilizer. One of the most important instructions to mobilizers is to avoid looking within client communities for sexual partners. That will definitely hinder effectiveness of any mobilizer and, in some communities, even endanger life. See the training document: Age , Race and Sex.

(Deutsch: sex, English: sex, Español: sexo, Français: sexe, Português: sexo)

When a client, volunteer or staff member does some thing with which we disagree or that should never be repeated, we can respond without criticism or complaint. Please excuse the crude vocabulary, but we can serve what in management training is called a "sh¡t sandwich." (You might object to the term, but you will remember it now). In such a sandwich, on either side of the part we do not like is the bread (which we do like). See Mistake. It goes like this: (a) start with honest praise, pointing out the good things, (b) make a suggestion for improvement - and why, then (c) finish with more honest praise. The client or staff member is more likely to accept and listen to the unpleasant "(b)" if it is sandwiched in between the "(a)" and "(c)." Part "(b)" is not criticism or complaint, but a suggestion for improvement.
(Deutsch: Sandwich, English: sandwich, Español: bocadillo, Français: sandwich, Português: sanduíche)

Situation Analysis:
A "situation analysis" is a procedure during which the overall characteristics and priority problems of a community are identified. See PAR. Your job as a mobilizer is to ensure that all, or as many community members as possible, participate in the observation and analysis of the community situation.

(Bahasa Indonesia: analisa situasi, Deutsch: Situationsanalyse, English: situation analysis, Español: análisis de la situación, Français: analyse de situation, Ελληνικά: Ανάλυση της Κατάστασης, Malay:analisis situasi, Nederlands: situatie-analyse, Português: análise de situação, Romãnã: analiza a situatiei, اردو (Urdu): صورتحال کا تجزی)

These are the abilities, manifested by individuals, that contribute to the organization of the community, the capacity of it to carry out its projects, their technical, administrative, organizational knowledge, their capacity to mobilize.
Skills belong to the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. See: Elements of Community Strength. The ability, manifested in individuals, that will contribute to the organization of the community and the ability of it to get things done that it wants to get done, technical skills, management skills, organizational skills, mobilization skills.
The more skills (group or individual) that a community or organization can obtain and use, the more empowered is that community or organization. When simulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of skills in empowering that community or organization.

(Deutsch: Kenntnisse, English: skills, Español: aptitudes, Français: compétences et savoir faire, Português: habilidades)

The word "slum" refers to a neighbourhood of a city where average income is very low, where communal facilities are poor or non-existent, and where there is a high crime rate. Slums are where homeless people may find some makeshift shelter, where drug addiction is common and public, and where the streets are dirty and filled with trash. For the urban activist or mobiliser, this is your main target area.

(Deutsch: Slum, English: slum, Español: barrio de chabolas , Français: le quartier pauvre, Português: favela)

Social Animation:
Social animation means to put some life ("anima") into a social institutions such as a community. Usually called "Animation" (not to be confused with making animated cartoons for the cinema). See Animation. (Deutsch: Soziale Animation, English: social animation, Español: animación social, Français: animation sociale, Malay: animasi sosial, Português: animação social, Romãnã: animare sociala)

Social Change:
Society is always changing. Changes in any dimension affect all other dimensions. The role of the mobilizer is to try to influence social change so that it is towards development.
In sociological theory, Karl Marx wrote that changes in the economic and technological dimensions (independent variables) caused changes in the beliefs and values dimensions (dependent variables).
Max Weber, in contrast, said that changes in beliefs and values (independent variables) caused changes in technology and economy (dependent variables). Both Marx and Weber put social and political dimensions in between. Modern theories of social change combine both and others.

(Deutsch: Sozialer Wandel, English: social change, Español: cambio social, Français: changement social, Português: mudança social)

Social Class:
Social class is a social institution. It is a way of dividing up a society into different levels of power, prestige and wealth (the three elements of inequality). In simpler societies, such as those based on gathering and hunting, it is usually absent or minimal. In agrarian society, where there are land owners and serfs, for example, it tends to be fairly simple, with limited numbers of identifiable classes. In urban industrial societies it tends to be very complex, with many levels of class.
Marx saw only two classes as being important in industrial societies, the workers and the owners. Later sociologists added more classes, and today sociologists differ on how many classes are in an urban industrial or post industrial society.
Communities (for the mobiliser) are more identifiable in small societies without well formed distinctions of class, or within similar class levels in more complex societies.
Social class is more important, and more a consideration of social interaction, in the UK than in other English speaking societies, such as in North America.

(العربيّة (Arabic): , Deutsch: , English: social class, Español: , Français: , हिन्दी (Hindi): , Italiano: , Kiswahili: , Português: , Romãnã: , Pyccкий: , Somali: )

Social Engineering:
Where the pure science is chemistry, its practical applications are in chemical engineering. Where the pure science is physics, the practical applications are in civil engineering. We might be predisposed to extrapolate and say that where the pure science is sociology, the practical applications should be called Social Engineering.
A farmer can tell you that if you want a wheat plant to grow upwards, you do not mechanically pull it upwards. You provide it with sunlight, water, some minerals and good soil, and it will grow –– organically –– from within. Pulling from the top is mechanical, crude, rough, and ineffective. Social engineering is like that. A social institution such as a community grows from within in an organic manner.
You can provide stimulus in the form of your mobilization interventions, but it develops itself. Using force, such as the "villigization" attempts during the erstwhile Mengistu regime in Ethiopia (forced concentration of dispersed rural groups into nucleated settlements) belong to the category of actions called social engineering.
Encouraging communities to become stronger, develop their capacity, is one of many practical applications of sociology, but it should not be called social engineering.

(Deutsch: Sozialingenieurwesen, English: social engineering, Español: ingeniería social, Français: génie social, Português: engenharia social)

Social Fact:
Emile Durkheim, one of the founders of sociology, wrote of "social facts" as observed characteristics that are social. It is necessary to have a "sociological perspective" in order to recognize a social fact. See: Durkheim.

(Deutsch: Soziale Tatbestände, English: social fact, Español: los hechos sociales. Français: les faits sociaux, Português: fatos sociais)

Social Institution:
In everyday language, the word "institution" usually means a bureaucratic organization with persons in it who do not have full legal control over their lives. It is therefore usually applied to such things as a prison or a hospital for insane persons. In sociology, it has a very different meaning. It means a recognized pattern of social interaction. A "family" is such a pattern of social interaction. A "mother-in-law," as well as being a social role, is also an institution. An institution comes with a set of attitudes, behaviour patterns, expectations and meanings. A community, which is the object of a mobilizer's intervention, is a social organization and a social institution.

(Deutsch: Soziale Institution, English: social institution, Español: institución social, Français: institution sociale, Português: instituição social)

Social Interaction:
Social interaction is the behaviour and beliefs between people that is dependent upon the behaviour and beliefs of each other and of other people. See social perspective. Human beings are social, which means that they do not think or act in total isolation as individuals. They do so in response to other human beings. They/we do not merely act; they/we interact. See Interaction.

(Deutsch: Soziale Interaktion, English: social interaction, Español: interacción social, Français: interaction sociale, Português: interação social)

Social Organization:
The concept "social organization" means that a society is much more than a collection if human individuals, but is composed of systems which each have "organs" that are the social equivalent of biological organs. The mobilizer is concerned with organizations and with communities, both of which are part of the broader social organization. For a community mobilizer to be effective, she or he must be able to recognize the elements of social organization in the community, and to know how these act or operate.

(Deutsch: Soziale Organisation, English: social organization, Español: organización social, Français: organisation sociale, Português: organização social)

Social Perspective:
The "Social Perspective" is a way of looking at society. It sees society as something over and above the very people who are in that society. It has a life of its own –– a sociological life. In anthropology, this is sometimes called "superorganic," where culture (society) transcends the individuals that constitute it. Society is not seen as a mere collection of individuals, but as a system of behaviour, interaction, ideas and values, all transmitted and stored by symbols rather than by genes or chromosomes.
It is a scientific construct –– social science. As a construct, it is like a model of the atom or of a solar system. You can not see society as a whole, but only some elements of it at a time. (See the Elephant Story). It requires analysis of you, the observer. A community, which is the object of your intervention (as a mobilizer) is a social organization, equally a construct, and which requires the social perspective to see and understand. If you want to effectively empower a community, or stimulate its development, you need to have the social perspective. {(Deutsch: Soziologische Perspektive, English: social perspective, Español: perspectiva social, Português: perspectiva social)

Social Problem:
A social problem is qualitatively different from an individual problem. What makes it social is that the problem is “systemic” meaning that it is a problem in the system, not merely an anomaly. The “system” here is society itself. It may be possible to alleviate specific manifestations of the problem, but to solve the whole problem requires social change, and that implies the need for social intervention.

(Deutsch: Soziales Problem, English: social problem, Español: problema social)

Social Schism:
No community is a natural unity. There are schisms and disunities in every community. All actions you take must help to increase the unity of a community. (See Unity). Where you offer suggestions as to how to obtain resources for a community project, you must not insist on a particular strategy that the community must take; some strategies may contribute to disunity. We must suggest and advise, and ensure that we listen to what the community members say (especially the quiet ones) and uncover negative hints about any strategy that might provoke disunity.
Divisions in any community may be based on many factors: clans, religions, class, income, education, land ownership, ethnic origins, age, gender, and so on. The level of tolerance between these divisions may also vary for several reasons. It is our job to work in such a way as to minimize the differences, improve community unity and loyalty, and overcome community schisms.

(Deutsch: Soziales Schisma, English: social schism, Español: división social, Français: schism social, Português: cisma social)

Social Services:
The "social services" of a government or agency are services to disadvantaged persons. Paradoxically, they are usually handled on an individual case basis, and seldom are practised with a methodology that is based on social dimensions, or social organization. The handling of individual problems on a case bases is an inefficient, non sustainable and costly approach, and is usually only practised in wealthy countries or by wealthy agencies. A communal or social approach is more common among poor countries and areas. The best methodology to adapt is CBSW (Community Based Social Work).

(Deutsch: Soziale Dienste, English: social services, Español: servicios sociales, Français: services sociaux, Português: serviços sociais)

Social System:
The concept "social system" is one that recognizes that the social level, where social organizations are seen as more than a mere collection of individuals, is systemic. At the inorganic or physical level, the solar system or an automobile engine is a system. At the organic or biological level, a tree or dog or ant colony is a system. At the superorganic or cultural level, a community or agency is a system. Recognizing the systemic characteristics of society, that things interact with each other, at the social or cultural level, is important in knowing how communities work and how to influence them.

(Deutsch: Gesellschaftssystem, English: social system, Español:sistema social, Français: système social, Português: sistema social)

Social Worker:
A social worker usually works for a social services department, which is a contradiction because most social services are delivered (by case work) without reference to social organization, and certainly seldom through community mechanisms. See: CBSW. Most social administration departments in universities, however, include the training of individual case work with what is more appropriate to this web site: ie techniques and theories of community development.

(Deutsch: Sozialarbeiter, English: social worker, Español: Trabajador social, Português: assistente social)

Socialization is the process, which begins at birth (some say earlier) in which we, as biological organisms, become human –– become social. Being social means going beyond (transcending) being biological organisms; it means becoming parts of social systems. The process, like learning, continues until we are dead. See Enculturation. During this process, we learn our language, we learn our values and beliefs, we learn the symbols we need to participate in the economic, technological, political and interactional dimensions of society. See Dimensions of Culture.

(Deutsch: Sozialisierung, English: socialization, Español: culturización, socialización, Français: socialisation, enculturation, Português: socialização)

Society (Sociocultural System):
The concept of society is easily misunderstood, in that many people think that a society is a collection of human individuals. In sociology, in contrast, a society is something that continues even though all of its individual humans come and go, through birth, death or migration, thus society transcends the very individuals through which it is manifested. If society is not its individual human members, what is it? It is the systematic behaviour, actions, reactions and interactions, and the beliefs and shared attitudes that relate to those actions. It is carried on by symbolic communication, not by genes. See Culture.

(Deutsch: Gesellschaft (Soziokulturelles System), English: society, Español: sociedad, Français: société, Português: sociedade)

Sociological Perspective:
This is a way of looking at human behaviour and thoughts as comprising an entity called society. While the concept of society is a model, we can not see, touch or directly sense it, like an atom or a solar system, it is the fundamental basis on which the science of sociology is built.
Persons without the sociological perspective see human behaviour and ideas as separate and individualistic and not forming a greater whole. In our study of community and how to strengthen it, the community itself is seen thus as a social construct, composed of behaviour and ideas of human beings, but not the human beings themselves.

(العربيّة (Arabic): , Deutsch: , English: sociological perspective, Español: , Français: , हिन्दी (Hindi): , Italiano: , Kiswahili: , Português: , Romãnã: , Pyccкий: , Somali: )

Strange Fish:
The term "strange fish" is slang for someone who is aware of culture. It comes from the proverb, "It is a strange fish that knows the existence of water." We live within our culture, which we also carry about with us. To be a fish is to be unaware of water. Perhaps the fish can move through different kinds of water, such as going from a river to the ocean, but it is still water. A fish that jumps out of water to rid itself of lice, experiences non water briefly. For us to be aware of culture, which is what makes us human, we need to remove ourselves from culture.
Moving from our culture that we usually live in, to an exotic or different culture, does not take us out of culture, but is just a move between different kinds (like the river and ocean, both water). Even that makes us odd, especially if we shift our values and behaviour. Remember we use the sociological concept of culture, which is equivalent to the total socio-cultural system (not just art and dance), composed of everything we learn, and what gives us our humanity. A community, for example, is a social or cultural entity, not the individuals which may compose it at any one time.

(Deutsch: Komischer Fisch, English: strange fish, Español: pez raro, Français: Poissons Étranges, Português: peixe estranho, Japanese: おかしな魚)

Empowerment. Increasing capacity or ability to achieve objectives. Make stronger.

Struggle and Effort are Necessary to Become Stronger
(Deutsch: Empowerment, Macht, die stärkung, Stärken, English: capacity development, empowerment, power, strengthening, Español: capacidad, potenciación, Français: capacité, empowerment, हिन्दी (Hindi): षमता विकास अधिकारिकरण, Italiano: empowerment, Kiswahili:kujengea uwezo, Malay: menguatkan, Português:capacidade, desenvolvimento de capacidade, fortalecendo, Romãnã: dezvoltarea capacitatii, intarire, Pyccкий: Рaзвития, Somali: xoojinta).

Subsistence Production:
Production that excludes both surplus and profit. The producers consume the goods they produce. See Peasant.

(Deutsch: Subsistenzwirtschaft, English: subsistence production, Español: producción de subsistencia, Français: production de subsistance, Português: produção de subsistência)

The word "superorganic" sounds a bit odd at first. It is used to summarize a model of looking at the nature of society. It is based on a sociological concept that a social organization, such as community, transcends the biological organisms that compose it. Inorganic sciences include physics and chemistry; organic sciences include botany and zoology; super-organic sciences include sociology, economics, anthropology and political science. Just as an organic system (like a tree or a dog) transcends the inorganic chemicals that compose it, so a super-organic system (such as a community) transcends the organic beings that compose it. See the training document, Superorganic

(Deutsch: Superorganisch, English: superorganic, Español: superorganismo, Français: superorganic, Português: superorgânico)

The word "sustainability" is important in development assistance. (The word is not found in most dictionaries). It refers to the "ability" of something to be "sustained" (carried on) after outside support is withdrawn. For the community that builds a water supply, the repairing, cleaning and using the pump after it is constructed, is the desire. .. For an external donor, it is the continuation of the project or its outputs after the donor withdraws. For you, the mobilizer, it is the continuation of the community strengthening social process after you move on. For environmentalists and ecologists, sustainabilty requires that an activity can be sustained (eg biologically) by the physical environment, that non-renewable resources are not used up.

(العربيّة (Arabic): الاستمرارية, Deutsch: Nachhaltigkeit, die nachhaltigkeit, English: sustainability, Español: sostenimiento, Français: durabilité, हिन्दी (Hindi): निरंतरता, Italiano: sostenibilita, Romãnã: dezvoltare durabila, Português: sustentabilidade, اردو Urdu: سسٹينيبِلٹ)

Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. From time to time (eg annually) you can assist a CBO in its self monitoring and self evaluation by setting up a SWOT session, obtaining lists of each from all participants, and consolidating them on a board or sheet of paper in front of the group. If the CBO takes this up as a regular feature of its activities (even after you, the mobilizer, leaves), it will help to empower or strengthen the group. See SWOT. See Acronyms.

(Deutsch: SWOT-Analyse, English: SWOT, Español: FDOR, Français: MOFF, Português: FFOA)


The word "target" is used two ways in development jargon. Both come from its orthodox meaning, as in training for warfare, shooting arrows, the "target" being the device that is set up which you shoot towards and try to hit. One way it is used, perhaps the earlier, is as "target group," meaning the beneficiaries to which some benefit (or project output) is aimed. The second use of "target" is as a quantitative number meaning how many (of some output) are desired. The second derives from factories where a target number of manufactured goods are set in the plans. Some professionals object to the word target used either way because of the military and/or materialistic implications.

(Deutsch: Zielbereich, Español: destinatario, Français: cible, Português: objetivo)

Technological Dimension of Community:
The technological dimension of community is its capital, its tools and skills, and ways of dealing with the physical environment. It is the interface between humanity and nature. See "Community." Some persons assume that "development" means only the increased sophistication of technology; that is only one of the six cultural dimensions that change as a community develops.

(Deutsch: Technologische Dimension, English: technological dimension, Español: dimensión tecnológica, Français: dimension technologique, हिन्दी (Hindi): समुदाय के प्रौद्योगिकी परिमाण , Pyccкий: Tехнологическое измерение)

Thank You:
The most important two words in obtaining funds, and non monetary support, including guidance and advice, and running a successful NGO, CBO or community project, are the words, "Thank you." Many NGO staff wondered why enthusiasm for their activities dried up, and funds, support and advice cease to roll in; the simple cause is that they forgot to acknowledge and thank donors.

(Deutsch: Danke, Español: gracias, Français: merci, Português: obrigado)

Top Down:
The term "top down" implies decision making that originates from highly placed officials in centralised agencies, ministries or departments. The effect of mobilization and the empowerment of low income communities is supposed to be a decrease in "top down" decision making processes. Where the decision making process is seen to be less democratic, starting from high officials or central agencies, working its way down the official channels to the common people in the communities, it is deemed to be "top down."

(Deutsch: Von oben nach unten, Español: de arriba a abajo, Français: de sommet vers le bas, Português: de topo assentar)

Tourist: The word "tourist" is used in a derogatory way to describe VIP visitors from headquarters, politicians, officials from international donor agencies and others who visit the area of a project, and expect to be shown the progress of a project. In general their visits take away resources (human effort, transport, time) from ongoing operations. Senior members of the project are expected to stop their usual work in order to act as tour guides. While any one such visitor is welcomed, it becomes a serious burden when many visitors choose to see the field.

(Deutsch: Tourist, Español: turista, Français: turista, Português: turista)

Training for Action:
Training, as an element of strengthening community based groups, is not just the transfer of information and skills. It is training AS mobilization, not just training ABOUT mobilization. If you want to learn something just for the sake of learning something just for the sake of learning, go to a philosophy professor. We train for action.
The six purposes for community management training are:
1. Awareness raising (there is a problem);
2. Information imparting (there is a solution);
3. Skill acquisition (how to solve the problem)
4. Encouragement (do it; do not get discouraged),
5. Organizing, and, most importantly: 6. Mobilization (Bringing people together, organizing for unity, determining priorities of the whole group [not only the leaders], deciding upon action, planning and then implementing that action; in short, training as organizing for effectiveness and transparency of decision making and actions). A mobilizer trains in order to mobilize. See Training for Action, and see Training for Mobilization.

(Deutsch: Praxistraining, Français: former pour action, Español: adiestramiento para la acción, Português: treinando para ação)

To transcend is "to go beyond," and to look at something from a higher level of perspective. Whereas a tree, for example, is made up of lifeless elements, most in the form of atoms, the life of a tree, its living, goes beyond the mere composition of atoms. The laws that govern the actions of atoms are not sufficient to describe the action of trees, as living things, as they grow. Similarly, while communities are made up of biological entities (human beings) they go beyond the natural laws that make up the biology of human beings.
The "biological" or "organic" level of nature is made up of the inorganic elements, but transcends them. That they have "life" which they would not have unless they are combined in the way they are, means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Similarly, the "cultural" or "superorganic" is made up of organic elements (human beings) but transcends them. The addition of "culture" or "society" similarly means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

(Deutsch: Transzendieren, Español: trascender / trasciende, Français: dépassez, transcender, Português: transcenda)

Transfer of Money:
When money is given to someone, it is merely passed on from one owner to another. No wealth is generated by this. Some people mistakenly think that when money is given to poor people that there has been income generation. If there is no value added, there is no generation (creating) of wealth.

(Deutsch: Geldtransfer, Español: transfiera de dinero, Français: transfert d'argent, Português: transfira de dinheiro)

Transparency is a very important element of strengthening a community (see elements of empowerment). The word "transparent" here means the ability to see through something. When civil servants try to do things (ie make decisions, allocate resources) in secrecy, hiding their activities from the people, they are not being transparent. They are giving the people the "mushroom treatment."
This promotes mistrust, apathy, and marginalization (important factors of poverty and community weakness). Your job as a mobilizer is to promote transparency. You do it by explaining what it is, and that the people have a right and a responsibility to know what is going on (awareness raising).
You also do it by ensuring that it is a key element of the community organizations that you form or re-organize. Laws, such as the "Freedom of Information Act," or similar laws which ensure that details of government spending must be of public record, available to the people, are intended to promote governmental transparency, although some officials will attempt to subvert the spirit of such laws.
If you hide a problem, cover it up or deny that it is there; you surely hinder its solution. If, instead, you uncover it, admit it, and honestly examine it, you are well on the way to solving the problem. Transparency strengthens.

(Bahasa Indonesia: transparansi, Deutsch: die transparenz, English: transparency, Español: transparencia, Français: transparence, Ελληνικά: Διαφάνεια, Italiano: transparenza, Português: transparência, Romãnã: transparenta, Somali: Waadix, ردو (Urdu): شفاف)

Trust is one of the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. See: Elements of Community Strength. It is the degree to which members of the community trust each other, especially their leaders and community servants, which in turn is a reflection of the degree of integrity (honesty, dependability, openness, transparency, trustworthiness) within the community. More trust and dependability within a community reflects its increased capacity. (Dishonesty, corruption, embezzlement and diversion of community resources all contribute to community or organizational weakness). When simulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of trust in empowering that community or organization.

(Deutsch: Vertrauen, Español: confianza mutua, Français: confiance mutuelle, Português: confiança)

Two Bulls:
Two bulls came over a hill and spotted a hundred cows in the valley. "Oh, Uncle." said the young bull. "Let us run down and do a few." "No." said the old bull, "Let us walk down and do them all."
This story, from Northern Ghana, is good to tell at community meetings. It is a way to teach the lesson that we should not be in a hurry, but take time and do things right. See the training document, Stories and Proverbs.

(Deutsch: Zwei Wölfe , Español: Dos Toros, Français: , Português: )



The degree to which a community or organization has unity, is the degree to which it can make decisions as a whole. It is not the same thing as homogeneity (all the same), but where people recognize and respect each others' differences, yet recognize a common bond.
It is a shared sense of belonging to a known entity (ie the group composing the community), although every community has divisions or schisms (religious, class, status, income, age, gender, ethnicity, clans), the degree to which community members are willing to tolerate the differences and variations among each other and are willing to cooperate and work together, a sense of a common purpose or vision, shared values. Unity is one of the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization.
See: Elements of Community Strength. When a community or organization is more unified, it is stronger. (Unity does not mean that everyone is the same, but that everyone tolerates and understands each others' differences, and works for the common good). When simulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of unity in empowering that community or organization.

(Deutsch: Einheit, Español: unidad, Français: unité , Português: unidade).

Unity Organizing:
No community is naturally unified; there are always conflict and competition, if not social schisms that tear every community apart. See the training document, Unity Organizing. That is why it is the task of every mobilizer to engage in activities that promote unity, so that a community decision (eg to choose a particular plan of action) is truly the choice of the whole community rather than only a choice of a particular faction.

(Deutsch: Einheit fördern, Español: organización de la unidad, Français: organisation d'unité, Português: ~).

The attribute "utility" is the degree to which something is "useful." This attribute, utility, is one of the two essential elements of wealth or value (the other is relative scarcity). A "Public Utility" (eg electricity) is something useful to the public or society as a whole.

(Deutsch: Nützlichkeit, Español: utilidad, Français: utilitaire , Português: utilidade).


In mobilization we have two different meanings of “value" which are used in two different contexts. (1) When we “evaluate” (eg project progress) we make a value judgement: right vs wrong, good vs bad, or beautiful vs ugly. (2) When we promote income or wealth generation, in the fight against poverty, we say that money is not wealth as such, but wealth is any good or service that has value, ie is both scarce and useful. When we add value, we create (generate) wealth.

(Deutsch: Wert, Español: valor, Français: valeur, Português: valor)

Values-Aesthetics Dimension of Community:
The aesthetic-value dimension of community is the structure of ideas, sometimes paradoxical, inconsistent, or contradictory, that people have about good and bad, about beautiful and ugly, and about right and wrong, which are the justifications that people may cite to explain their actions. Ideology. A dimension of culture. Basic unit = symbol. See "Culture." Learned; not transmitted genetically.

(Deutsch: Wertvorstellungen- und Ästhetik-Dimension der Gemeinde, Español: dimensión ideológica, Français: dimension d'esthétique - valeurs, Português: estéticas, Pyccкий: Ценностно-эстетическое измерение)

Value Added:
If you take anything of value, say some seeds harvested from your farm, and add some value to it, say by crushing and squeezing the seeds to produce oil and pulp. You have added value. The seeds have more value when you convert them to oil. Similarly, when you take some wood, which has some value, and convert it into a chair, it obtains more value. What value that you have added is wealth that you have created or generated. Any income generation scheme must create wealth rather then merely transfer money or other resources.

(Deutsch: Wert hinzufügen, Español: añadir valor, Français: valeur ajoutée, Português: valor somou, valor adicionado).

Venn Diagramme:
A Venn diagramme is a diagramme consisting of several circles, each circle representing a sub set of a whole. Some of the circles may overlap, indicating that some of the sub sets overlap in some characteristics.

Venn Diagramme (two circles, farmers and Catholics)

In community work and sociology, the whole can be the community and each circle can represent a group within that community. Some of those groups may overlap, and that is represented by where the circles overlap.

(Deutsch: Venn-Diagramm, Español: diagrama de Venn, Français: diagramme de Venn, Português: diagrama de Venn)

Vested Interests:
Whenever there is social change that appears to benefit some people, but others fear they will lose something, there will be resistance to change. When you mobilize a community to change its level of self reliance, there will be some resistance to change. Some of it will merely be because some people are more comfortable with the old way and fear new ways. Others will fear that they will lose (financially, politically) by the change; they have a vested interest in the old way.
Here is a very simple example. Say there is a group which has only two classes, very rich and very poor. If you tried to change the group so that all would be the same, the poor would agree (to getting richer) but the rich have vested interests (in staying rich) and would resist the change.

(Deutsch: Persönliche Interessen, Español: intereses creados, Français: droits acquis, Português: interesses adquirido)

A human settlement (habitat) that is characterized by small population, low population density, and social simplicity (eg homogeneity, little division of labour). There are no universally agreed measurements for these three variables, so dorps, hamlets and villages lay near one end of the spectrum and cities and mega-cities lay near the other end, with towns and peri-urban settlements in between. These three variables affect methods of community strengthening. (See "city,")

(Deutsch: Dorf, Español: pueblo, Français: village, Português: aldeia)

In ordinary vocabulary, to have "vision" means to be "able to see." In our developmental jargon, to have "vision" is almost spiritual or psychic, being able to see the future, the possibilities of how things could be.
A "visionary" is a leader who sees great possibilities.
While community members do not all have to be visionaries in that sense, they need to have some idea of what they would like to see their community become. They need a "destination." They need to think of where they would like to go. Before they can plan where to go, they have to know where that "where" is. The job of the mobilizer is to counteract attitudes of complacency, apathy and fatalism, to instil in community members an idea that they can have some control over their destiny, and that they should imagine where they could go.

(Deutsch: Vision, Español: vision, Français: valeur, Português: visão)

"Vulnerable" in general means "unprotected" or "exposed," implying that someone or something is weak and unable to completely care for itself. In relief work, vulnerable often is used as a collective of children, disabled (physical and mental) and sometimes women. Very often relief work, using the charity method, identifies vulnerable people as the main beneficiaries. In development work, in contrast, we have to resist the idea of giving something for nothing, because that in itself weakens the recipients.

(Deutsch: Verletzlich, Español: vulnerabilidad, Français: vulnérable, Português: vulnerável)



Wealth is anything (goods or services) that has value. The amount of value is based on it being relatively scarce and relatively useful. Shifting money about (transfer), in itself, does not create wealth, nor reduce poverty. Giving money to a poor person, repeated any number of times, does not solve the social problem of poverty. Wealth is created when value is added to the economy.

See IG, Poverty & Wealth.

Wealth belongs to the sixteen elements of strength, power or capacity of a community or organization. The degree to which the community as a whole (in contrast to individuals within it) has control over actual and potential resources, and the production and distribution of scarce and useful goods and services, monetary and non monetary (including donated labour, land, equipment, supplies, knowledge, skills). The more wealthy a community, the stronger it is. (When greedy individuals, families or factions accrue wealth at the expense of the community or the organization as a whole, that weakens the community or organization). When stimulating a community to organize and act, the mobilizer needs to be aware of the role of wealth in empowering that community or organization.

See: Elements of Community Strength.

(Deutsch: Wohlstand, English: wealth, Español: riqueza, Français: richesse, Português: riqueza)

Whole Language:

A reading approach that encompasses many different ways of teaching students to read.

The emphasis of the approach is on reading for meaning using good literature. See Large.

Whole language is a good example of learning from the “whole to its parts”. (Jac Slik)

(Deutsch: Ganzwortmethode, English: whole language, Español: lenguaje completo, Français: l'approche globale, Português: ~)

Work Plan:

A work plan is a document describing how a project will be implemented, listing all actors and their responsibilities and roles, and all required tasks in the order and timing of their execution.
(A Work Plan is different from a Plan of Action or CAP).

(Deutsch: Arbeitsplan, English: work plan, Español: ~, Français: ~, Português: trabalhe plano)

A "workshop" is a session that may be one or more days long.
Do not confuse it with a conference (which is to confer or discuss). A workshop is intended for work, and must have a planned output. In a training workshop, the work is training, and the output should be among the five purposes of training indicated on this web site.
See "Preparing a Workshop."

(العربيّة (Arabic): ورشة العمل, Deutsch: Workshop, English: workshop, Español: taller, Français: atelier, Português: seminário)

Workshop Handout:
A "workshop handout" is a source of knowledge, skill and information that parallels a textbook for an institutional course of studies. A handout is a training document, usually one or two pages long, which is a source of information for the participants to learn something.
We note that mobilisation is not something that can be learned once and for all, as when getting a degree or certificate. Because of that, people who already are working in the field can upgrade their skills and knowledge by attending a workshop.

(Deutsch: Arbeitsblatt, English: workshop handout)

A dimension of culture. See Beliefs Conceptual Dimension.

(Deutsch: Weltbild, English: worldview, Español: dimension dogmática y conceptual, Français: dimension croyance conceptuelle, Português: cosmology, Pyccкий: Измерение мировоззрения и верования)


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Glossary entries