The African Village and Mexican American Community



4750 N. Sheridan Road

Chicago, Illinois 60640

1. Throughout the world, local people are demonstrating a new concern for effective engagement in their communities. After decades of tension related to the worldwide economic decline, increasing strife, unemployment and yearning for independence, a new image is apparent. It can best be identified as a new willingness to build a worthwhile future. This spirit has taken hold in new village movements in India, Korea, Kenya and the Philippines. At the heart of this new mood is the widespread understanding that local citizens themselves must directly engage in the development of their communities. Critical to this process is their awareness that such development must involve both economic and social factors simultaneously. Out of this context, the Institute of Cultural Affairs has developed a framework of inclusive community development and is making this development available to communities in a variety of locations throughout the world.


2. The Institute of Cultural Affairs is an intra­global training and demonstration organization concerned with the human factor in world development. Originally Incorporated in the state of Illinois as a not­for­profit corporation, the Institute presently is headquartered in Brussels, Bombay, Chicago, Canberra, Hong Kong and Nairobi and is registered in some 19 nations. The ICA is supported by private foundations, corporations, government program grants and concerned individuals. Support has ranged from large foundation and corporation grants such as Rockefeller and the Bank of America to a large number of local corporation gifts for support of individual Town Meetings. Government agencies including AID, HUD, LEAA and HEW have supported various programs. One of its major programs is comprehensive socioeconomic development at the local community level. Practically, this means demonstration projects are presently being conducted in 42 urban and rural communities around the world. These projects are located in 19 different nations. Four such projects are located in the United States. The overall intent of each project is to allow each community to become self­sustaining both socially and economically within a four year period.

3. IT&T is invited to participate in the revitalization of two communities which represent the masses of people who lack the technical know­how, education, health, resources, wealth and the general essentials for well­being to be self­reliant. This proposal is an outgrowth of the concern today of the private sector, particularly corporate and Industrial enterprises, to discover effective means of re­investing a portion of their profits into projects which yield tangible benefits to the quality of life of the people in their geography. The sponsorship of a comprehensive economic and social development project would entail the provision of Initial capital funding, In­kind goods, and resources of expertise and technical assistance.

4. In addition to this financial assistance to the project, it is intended that corporation personnel at all levels could elect the opportunity for community involvement. The involvement could stimulate professional creativity among corporate personnel as their efforts visibly affect the quality of life in a community previously denied its potential. Because the two communities are a part of an increasing network of projects, the investment of the corporation and its personnel will have an even greater impact than if the two communities stood In Isolation. The Institute of Cultural Affairs invites IT&T to become primarily identified with the Human Development Project In Ijede, Nigeria and with one to be established among the Mexican­American people in the United States.


5. The most critical­ issue confronting community development is giving a large number of communities the opportunity to participate in such an effort. This requires a geographically rational design for the demonstration of rapid replication. The ICA is currently testing methodologies for replication in the state of Maharashtra, India, where most of the state's 50,000,000 people live in 35,000 villages. Maliwada, the demonstration village project in Maharashtra, immediately attracted the attention of villagers and private and public officials across the state. Subsequently, a committee of government officials, private citizens, and ICA staff was set up to develop a systematic plan for replication. The first phase of this plan entails setting up projects in each of the 25 districts of the state in 1977, sixteen of which have already been initiated. During the following year each of the 232 counties will have initiated projects. Upon completion of these, it is anticipated that the government will ensure implementation in the next 2500 villages and include the next 25,000 in Maharashtra's next five year plan. A crucial component of the replication plan developed by the ICA is a Human Development Training School which has been underway for one year in the village of Maliwada. The school is highly functional, dealing with practical know­how of villagers through seminars, workshops, laboratories, site visits and work days. Special emphasis is placed on methods of actuating plans, motivating people, and corporate action toward occasioning rapid social change. More than 450 trainees to serve as catalytic forces in the new projects have attended the eight week school in its first four sessions. Several thousand local people will be trained in the school over the next few years.


6. In order to prepare for replication in the United States a plan has been conceived to start demonstration projects in communities across the nation which have a diverse sociological composition. Four pilot projects have already been initiated. Fifth City, a community on Chicago's West Side was the first project started. Since 1964, it has been a research and training site for developing the methodologies of comprehensive community development. The second is Ivy City, an urban ghetto in the nation's capitol. The third, the Inyan Wakagapi Human Development Project, is in the village of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, within the boundaries of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. The fourth is Delta Pace, a rural farming community in Mississippi. In each of these communities, employment opportunities have increased, new commercial ventures have been begun, formal and informal training for everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, has been initiated, and a new spirit of hope and determination is evident. These four communities have demonstrated the readiness of local people across the nation to reengage in socioeconomic development. Twelve additional projects will be initiated in 1977­78 in order to provide a base from which rapid replication can take place. The project plans call for three communities each in the Midwest, the East, the South and the West. These will be communities of apparent need and include rural, black, Appalachian, Native­American and Mexican­American.


7. In order to maximize the visibility of the twelve demonstration communities, and to prepare for replication, twenty­five additional communities around each project will be Invited to conduct Community Forums. This program which was designed, tested and refined by the ICA over the past three years, has already been conducted in 1,500 communities around the world. The Community Forum, known as Town Meeting in the United States and as Village Meeting throughout Africa, is a one­day community meeting in which local people work together to determine the challenges which they face and create practical proposals to deal with these challenges. Proposals generated In both Town Meetings and Village Meetings have been Implemented locally using the human and natural resources already available in the community. The methods of this program allow diverse elements within communities to work together for the common good, and observably increases community initiative toward its own revitalization.





8. One of the first priorities for expansion in the United States is a Mexican­American population has long been a concern in this nation. In Texas, California, and states of the Southwest, communities of Mexican­Americans live in conditions of extreme poverty. In addition, entire communities of migrant farm laborers drift northward each summer following the harvest and encounter frustration and defeat when they seek stable employment. A self-sustaining and visible demonstration community in the MexicanAmerican populace could then be used as a model for future development. A number of communities across the Southwest have been

visited and several Identified as possible sites for the demonstration project. Final site selection will be based on four criteria: obvious need, the readiness of local people, accessibility and conditions which are typical of Mexican­American communities. The final selection will be made during the fall of 1977 and a week-long consultation will be held to initiate the project. All programs will be initiated the week following the consultation.





9. Since 1974, the ICA has conducted training seminars in community development methods in East and West Africa. Participants of these seminars have requested a Human Development Project in West Africa to demonstrate the effectivity of the methods locally and to provide training for villagers across Africa. Ijede, a small kingdom near Lagos, Nigeria was selected as the demonstration site. In Ijede, 3,000 residents live in dwellings of clay with corrugated tin roofs, surrounded by a wall of dense brush. The village has no electricity and water must be hand­carried. The primary trade is fishing. The soil is suitable for growing kola nut, palm oil, bananas, paw paw, yam, cocoa and cassaba. Small shops in homes dot the area, but services and resources are increasingly being centralized in the city and the ability of the village to support itself continues to diminish. In response to new patterns of family support, the youth and the men of Ijede travel to Lagos to seek jobs. In most instances, they find severe congestion, few employment opportunities and minimal basic services. The objectives of the Ijede Project are in accord with the current objectives of the Federation of Nigeria for rural development: to improve housing conditions, to ensure the availability of essential commodities, to increase food production, to develop new rural industries and to reduce urban congestion by decentralizing resources and population.

10. The most direct and dramatic benefits of this program will be increased health and vitality of villagers, enhanced industrial and agricultural productivity and increased leadership and cooperative abilities of local people. By the end of the four years, the community will be economically self-sustaining and socially self-sufficient. Within the first six months, tangible benefits will be visible. Less directly, the communities which have held Town Meetings will have experienced something of the power of working together and will have engaged in practical methods which allow such corporate activity to be effectively directed toward improving their communities. Whole nations will derive practical benefits as the local communities experience a renewed vitality and their residents a new hope. The business community will receive tangible and Intangible benefits which come from contributing toward the upgraded quality of life.