Social Inclusion - Advantages and Limitations

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  • The method gives a provision for mainstreaming social inclusion within the project cycle and provides means for continuous monitoring and evaluation of a program to ensure active and quality participation of excluded groups and to strengthen the transparency and equity.
  • The method establishes the rights of the excluded groups to benefit from the program, i.e. utilization of program outputs.
  • The method helps clarifying the roles and working approaches, and identifying the characteristics of excluded groups. This supports a process of self-reflection and realization of the staff and helps them to become accountable towards the target groups and to act inclusively by responding appropriately.
  • The method helps the local people and other relevant stakeholders understanding the concept of social inclusion. It contributes to the creation of pressure groups and coalitions for change at different levels to address issues of social inclusion. This contributes to mainstreaming in the general development process.   
  • Periodic reflection on the project outcomes decreases the likelihood of unintended negative impacts of project work (i.e. reinforcing and maintaining social exclusion), and makes early re-orientation possible.
  • Socially inclusive development activities, even carried out in a small framework induce impact on economic and political level. Social inclusion often mobilizes “hidden resources” by empowering marginalized people, thus stimulating local markets, fostering peace and stability.
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  • Since processes for social transformation address power relations, the distribution of entitlements and the construction of social identities may initially cause elites groups to hesitate to get involved with target population groups in program planning and not give importance to the need and priorities of these groups in policy planning.
  • Due to the complexity and multidimensional facets of social exclusion the identified target groups may be heterogeneous in terms of social identity, geographical location, needs or capacity. As such, it may be difficult to design targeted programs to cater to all their specific needs and priorities.
  • Since the target groups have limited assets and income generation potentials, the options for livelihoods improvement are restricted. Therefore, program interventions need to build on existing potentials to overcome specific and achievable constraints.
  • The deep-rooted social norms, values and beliefs make it difficult to bring about expected social change in the short run. They can become a major obstacle to implement the strategy smoothly; most of these social structures will change only gradually over a long period of time, often beyond the scope of programs and projects.
  • The effective implementation of the method depends on the implementer’s capacity. It demands a high level of social and cultural sensitivity, a deep understanding of the respective context and the concept of social inclusion and its meaning. The implementation, moreover, relies on the good will of other stakeholders to closely cooperate, to increase funds specially targeted towards social inclusion, and to consider the trade-offs between efficiency and quick impacts on the one hand and long-term transformation of social systems on the other hand.

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