Jan 24, 2012

Community-Managed Schools (CMS) and their effects in Guatemala and Honduras

In contrast to more pessimistic studies, the authors find evidence that civic participation in one domain of public life can lead to more participation elsewhere, what they call spillover effects. The authors’ findings are based on a large survey—among the broadest in its class—of participants in community-managed schools throughout rural Honduras and Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Despite various obstacles to spillovers, once initiated, participation can engender further participation. Many participants acquire and apply new skills, and some join new organizations. These spillover effects are stronger if participants receive state support and perceive the participatory arena to be democratic. The authors’ optimism, however, remains guarded: Even where spillovers abound, new groups’ autonomy and scope of action remain limited. In short, participatory governance is not a dead-end affair, but its capacity to strengthen civil society locally is not guaranteed.
That is from the abstract of the paper "The Spillover Effects of Participatory Governance: Evidence From Community-Managed Schools in Honduras and Guatemala," published in the latest number of Comparative Political Studies. An earlier draft of the paper is hereThe book, Decentralized Decision Making in Schools, gives a pretty good worldwide overview of CMS. 

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