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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2010): Community regeneration and development - overseas

Community action: supporting children and families affected by HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

G. Foster, P. Laugharn and S. Wilkinson-Maposa (guest editors)

Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, vol. 5, 2010, Supplement 1, 100p

The plight of children in Sub-Saharan Africa whose lives have been blighted by the impact of HIV/AIDS seems still to be 'under the radar' of national and global policymakers. It has been left to informal networks to provide the families of children affected by HIV/AIDS with financial and material support. Communities, together with families, provide affected children with some 90% of the support they need. This collection of articles profiles community initiatives that support children affected by HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. They place community action within the larger 'ecology' of child well-being, including government co-ordination, services and policy. They underline the particular strengths of community-based organisations, such as addressing adverse cultural practices, or providing social and emotional support to stressed caregivers.

Is participation having an impact? Measuring progress in Winnipeg's inner city through the voices of community-based program participants

S. MacKinnon and S. Stephens

Journal of Social Work, vol. 10, 2010, p. 283-300

In 2005, a consortium of eight community-based organisations involved in neighbourhood-level preventative work with families, children and young people in inner city Winnipeg, Manitoba sought to develop indicators to measure the impact of their work. Increasingly pressed by governments and other funders to produce such indicators, they believed that those generally in use missed many of the human gains they were confident they were making with low-income inner-city residents. In 2006 they embarked on a journey to develop and implement a research design that would explore the meaning of successful outcomes through dialogue with participants in inner-city community-based programmes. This article describes the methodology and reflects on the research process and lessons learned.

Rethinking empowerment: evidence from local empowerment zone programs

M.J. Rich and R.P. Stoker

Urban Affairs Review, vol. 45, 2010, p. 775-796

The legacy of the US federal government's Empowerment Zone (EZ) initiative is contested. As the principal federal urban policy of the 1990s, the EZ and Enterprise Communities initiative was intended to create economic opportunities in distressed communities. Although several evaluations concluded that the changes in neighbourhood conditions that were observed in EZ communities could not be attributed to the initiative, others have concluded that the combination of market-oriented tools and block grants produced measurable benefits. However, the evidence undergirding the legacy of federal EZs has been primarily based on econometric models designed to estimate the initiative's national effects. In contrast, this article examines the local programmes and outcomes in the original six round I EZs. It finds that, although several programmes did produce improvements that likely can be attributed to the initiative, the results are not constant across outcomes or cities. Rather than producing a consistent national effect, EZ programmes produced disparate local outcomes.

Threatened or empowered? The impact of neighbourhood context on community involvement in Antwerp, Belgium

M. Loopmans

Urban Affairs Review, vol.45, 2010, p. 797-820

Using a citywide register of community involvement, this study tests two competing theories for explaining active citizenship through neighbourhood context: one that emphasises the opportunities available in the area, whether at the level of the individual, the social environment or the physical environment, and one that regards involvement as a reaction to threats in the neighbourhood. The analysis reveals that both explanations apply, but in different parts of the city. In the inner city, participation is more problem-related, but in the suburbs it is explained by the opportunities available.

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