Composing a New Song: Stories of Empowerment from Africa

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Commonwealth Secretariat, 2002 - Social Science - 177 pages
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Independent African countries have faced many challenges on the road to economic and social development. The heritage of colonialism has weighed heavy on their shoulders, and the promises of post-colonialism have not always been fulfilled.

The nature and trajectory of the development project is determined, in large part, by governments. Where they have been limited in - or neglectful of - their capacity to improve the lives of their people, non-government organizations have been quick to respond.

Composing a New Song comprises portraits of five such NGOs, from Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Each was spurred by a moral concern for those sectors of society that were marginalized or ignored completely, by the march of mainstream development, but each has chosen its own route, its own tactics and its own methods.
These stories, told by founders and senior managers of the organizations, offer a rare insight into personal motivations, social reactions and political choices - indeed, the real world of development, one that is too often glossed over by more orthodox texts.
 

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Contents

Dare to be Different
1
Beating the Community Drums
35
ORAP and the Spirit of Zenzele
67
Levinas Song Supporting Women in Tanzania
95
Women for Change and its Work with Rural Communities
129
Conclusion
161
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About the author (2002)

Chigudu is a gender specialist and co-founder of the Zimbabwe Women's Resource Centre. She has published widely on gender and civil society development. She is the African member of the Commonwealth Foundation's Citizens and Governance Programme team.

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