Democracy from the Bottom-up: the 3C-Model of Grassroots-led Development in Egypt
|Starts:||17:00 18 Mar 2014|
|Ends:||18:00 18 Mar 2014|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Arts, Languages and Cultures|
|Speaker:||Dr Solava Ibrahim|
Fourth Seminar in MES Research Seminar Series
The recent political turmoil in Egypt has revealed the weak foundations of participatory democracy and grassroots activism in the country. Elections and referenda have failed to institutionalise democratic practices or to nurture inclusive citizenship. Whilst creating democratic institutions from the top-down might be necessary, it is however insufficient. Without adequate local institutional changes at the grassroots-level, the foundations of this top-down democratic model will remain weak. This paper argues that a true Egyptian Revolution is not merely a political transition, but rather an opportunity for fostering long-term social, economic and cultural transformations at the grassroots level.
Using Egypt as a case study, the paper presents a new model for grassroots-led development and grassroots democracy. This 3C-model is based on three crucial processes; namely (1) Conscientization; (2) Conciliation and (3) Collaboration. The Freirean process of conscientization encourages citizens to think critically about their realities and to nurture their 'capacity to aspire' for better lives. The conciliation process is important to blend in individual and communal interests and to build a common vision. Collaboration is crucial for building a working partnership between the local communities and other actors, such as the state, local NGOs and donor agencies.
Drawing on three case studies, the paper applies this model in two rural villages and one urban slum area. The first case study is a rural village in Lower Egypt in which a local leader used moral discourse to encourage conscientization and conciliation in addition to collaborating with the state to successfully build Azhari universities in the village. The second case study is from Menia, Upper Egypt, where a local NGO uses community awareness programmes to encourage rural women to fight the practice of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) in their villages. The final case study is from Manshiet Nasser in Cairo, where the GIZ, a donor agency, failed to promote conscientization, conciliation and collaboration thus distorting grassroots-led development in the area. The three case studies demonstrate how the three processes (conscientization, conciliation and collaboration) are crucial not only for promoting sustainable communal development, but also for building a true democratic model at the grassroots level in Egypt.
Dr Solava Ibrahim
Role: Lecturer in International Development
Organisation: University of Manchester
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