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Macro-micro linkages in Caribbean community development: The impact of global trends, state policies and a non-formal education project on rural women in St. Vincent (1974-1994)

Peggy Antrobus, University of Massachusetts Amherst


A macroeconomic policy framework of structural adjustment designed to address problems of international indebtedness, adopted by CARICOM countries in the 1980s, has been associated with a major setback in the process of broad-based socioeconomic development that had been launched in the context of representative government and independence. The study examines the influence of these global/regional trends on state policy, with special reference to how the altered political vision of the state, inherent in structural adjustment policies, appeared to impact the welfare and livelihood of rural women and families in St. Vincent. The study also assesses the extent to which an innovative non-formal education project aimed at community development through the empowerment of women in a rural community, served to mitigate detrimental aspects of these policies and related state practices. The study utilized a feminist research methodology with a combination of interviews, focus groups and observation that provided multiple vantage points on macro and micro dimensions of the study. The author's personal involvement in various aspects of development and the non-formal education project during this period serves as an additional lens. The study argues that a policy framework of structural adjustment severely weakens rural and social development, and is inappropriate to goals of broad-based socioeconomic development in a small island state. The non-formal education project which linked university continuing education to community organizing, served to increase human, physical and social capital, as well as enhance community norms and people's capacity to cope in a deteriorating socioeconomic environment. While this intervention was circumscribed by application to a community's immediate context, it does provide clues as to the kinds of intervention required for a fundamental reassessment of policies. The study further argues that non-formal education interventions can be applied to both micro and macro level situations and that their effectiveness in addressing social change depends on their inclusion of political education about macro/micro links and gender conscientization. Such interventions can strengthen advocacy for policies prioritizing human development within a women's human rights framework.

Subject Area

Adult education|Continuing education|Social structure|Womens studies|Welfare|Public administration|School administration

Recommended Citation

Antrobus, Peggy, "Macro-micro linkages in Caribbean community development: The impact of global trends, state policies and a non-formal education project on rural women in St. Vincent (1974-1994)" (1998). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9841837.