Community Mobilisation in a CBR Programme in a Rural Area of Sri Lanka

Masateru Higashida


Purpose: This article examines community mobilisation in a model administrative division of the national community-based rehabilitation (CBR) programme in Sri Lanka.

Method: After comprehensively analysing local human resources related to the CBR programme at the study site, the focus of the study was on volunteers (n = 17), youth club members (n = 7), and local government officers from multiple sectors(n = 33). A semi-structured interview, focus group discussion and case information provided data, which was collected through social work practice in line with a previously developed one-year action plan. Narrative data was analysed using a qualitative procedure.

Results: The findings suggest that the local supporters, including people with disability, made a positive contribution to the CBR programme, and felt satisfied with the activities. Although the local resources and opportunities for people with disability are limited, the analysis points to the importance of coordination, attitudes, and mutual support rituals by villagers, in promoting community mobilisation.

Conclusions: Although it is an exploratory study with a limited sample of stakeholders at one study site in Sri Lanka, the study contributes to a growing body of literature that suggests the significance of community mobilisation in CBR. Future studies could explore some of the issues identified here, such as promotion of community-based inclusive development (CBID). However, since a limited sample of stakeholders was involved, findings can be generalised only to a similar context and setting.


Community-based rehabilitation; community mobilisation; social work; qualitative research

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