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The development of a strategic plan for an African village can seem a daunting task, especially if the village is one created from diverse beginnings and different cultural origins, where ethnicity, language and custom are not homogenous. In this article the authors explore the outcomes of the traditional top down approach. They contrast this with a collaborative approach, bottom up, and propose the use of management strategies more commonly found in an industrial environment. Deploying a case study approach the development and implementation of a strategic plan for a post-leprosy rehabilitation village near Elmina in Ghana, West Africa is described and evaluated.
Learned helplessness is often an outcome of intervention aid. By approaching a project with a top down approach, the dependency of a community can become ingrained. However a partnership approach with the villagers is hoped to engender a sense of ownership in the community, motivating optimism. The authors believe that the possibility of engagement with the village is greatly strengthened using collaborative approach, and that this is key to a successful outcome. The concept, strategy and initial results as well as the ongoing sustainability of the strategy are described. The underlying hypothesis is that by empowering an impoverished and disenfranchised community with tried and trusted, modern management methods, engagement as well as success can be achieved.
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