Creating space to understand school-based community development within a rural Malawian community

PhD Thesis

Jamieson, M. 2018. Creating space to understand school-based community development within a rural Malawian community. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Education
AuthorsJamieson, M.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameEdD

The setting for this research is a rural community in the central region of Malawi. As a qualitative case-study it explores attitudes towards development as well as the processes school-based community development might go through to achieve a permanent increase in adaptability (Taylor, 2005). This adaptability is the ability of local communities to finance and maintain interventions and then adapt to changes in the social and economic environment. This thesis explores opportunities the community may develop to avoid dependence on outside control as they become increasingly self-sustaining. The research questions explore these processes and unpack shifts in community power relations while exploring the impact that faith-based organisations bring to the development process.

The research positions the researcher within the lived experience of those researched and uses research instruments developed from qualitative research typologies consistent with Berkowitz, and Srivastava & Hopwood underpinned with a philosophical framework drawn from the ideas of Freire, Chambers and Wells. This research considers seven non-governmental organisations (NGOs), six schools and various authority structures within the research locality to explore their roles and the tensions each brings to the other. Drawing on a constructivist epistemology it explores current thinking and practice regarding school-based community development. Additionally, the thesis looks at teacher professionalism and identity, arguing that for teachers to develop a professional identity a degree of autonomy is needed where self-regulation and opportunity to contribute to training is necessary.

This exploration is achieved by gathering data using research instruments that include semi-structured interviews, focus groups discussions and reflexive consideration from journaling and regular reviews with assistant researchers. Reflecting on the empirical data gathered to allow theory to emerge it triangulates research methods to increase reliability. I explore the processes, obstacles and hindrances to establish how self-reliance within school-based community development is approached by NGOs, and use the data to support the argument that NGO activity may be contributing to the erosion of traditional authority structures such as the community chief.

It is suggested that the creation of space in which to explore common ground between developmental actors is a first step towards the creation of an empowered community whose ownership of the processes is central to a permanently adaptive development.

KeywordsSelf-reliance; sustainability; NGO; FBO; faith; community-development; education; training; dialogue; identity; participation; accountability
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Publication process dates
Deposited24 Jul 2018
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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