Community Development Journal, vol. 43, 2007, p. 79-92
The pilot study on which this paper is based was intended to aid the development of a model community mental health programme in an informal neighbourhood on the outskirts of Cairo that would incorporate existing services and involve active participation on the part of service providers, community leaders and lay persons alike. However, achieving this will require the elimination of some deep-seated problems within the community. Firstly the community consists of three groups at odds with each other: Egyptian Muslims, Egyptian Christians and Sudanese refugees. The community also suffers from feelings of inferiority vis-à-vis mainstream Egyptian society and as a result members are handicapped by a sense of powerlessness. Finally, the lack of social cohesion leads to over-reliance on external service providers that may be ill-equipped to meet the needs of the community.