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It is argued that community development can contribute to national development, in conjunction with other phenomena. Village-level development efforts depend on the dynamism of community groups. The populations of the Cameroon grass fields possess the creative capacity to adapt new techniques and knowledge to their local realities. The paper identifies the critical factors that influence the effectiveness of their self-help development efforts. Issues discussed are: the socio-political setting; the concept of mutual help; rural leadership and authority; socioeconomic factors; socio-cultural and institutional factors; and self-help development initiatives and gender. Abstract supplied by kind permission of CABI.

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