The Role of Rural Development Interventions in Creating a Sustainable Society
Abstract: The inter-related social and ecological facets of global sustainability imply that the way society develops will impact the environment. Development presents complex, multifaceted challenges. Interventions in the developing world in the form of projects created by the agencies, organizations and agents of the international development community increasingly appreciate and seek to address these challenges. Yet, to do so effectively, interventions need to shift from fragmented, sector-specific approaches based on formal data reports to approaches that anticipate, adapt, transform, and learn. This research aims to complement and support the practical and theoretical knowledge of rural development agents with insights from practitioners using approaches that consider complexity in other fields, in order to explore how development interventions could play a role in moving society toward sustainability. A prototype guide for rural development interventions synthesizes results gathered from interviews with rural development agents within Latin America and learning experience designers into three levels: system, interaction, and personal. The Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD) provides a systems perspective and unifying definition of sustainability. The interaction level presents key recommendations, rationale, and methods for action, and the personal level presents reflection questions. This research hopes to inspire mutual learning between development actors and communities.
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