Social Sustainability and Community Participation: Capacity Building in Developing Countries like Haiti

By Mahnaz Sadri and M. Saeed Mirza.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Sustainable development must address the interactive economic, environmental, social, cultural and institutional issues and problems confronting the planet as a whole (UNESCO 2010). Capacity building programs, especially in developing countries like Haiti, should involve the local community through community driven development with considerably strengthened human resources and institutional capabilities.
Any social development strategy must be sensitive to cultural assets of the community, and it must embrace the operational principles of inclusion, cohesion and accountability, which can be achieved through a responsive, reliable and resilient environment. The following components are essential in developing a social sustainability framework:
1. Social capital;
2. Social infrastructure;
3. Social justice and equity; and
4. Engaged governance.
The proposed paper will discuss the implementation of the key components of a social sustainable development program through capacity building and community-driven development. The paper will also review how the lack of such programs in Haiti led to the disastrous loss of life in the January 2010 earthquake, and the hazardous conditions following it.

Keywords: Social Sustainability, Social Sustainable Development, Community-driven Development, Capacity Building, Inclusion, Empowerment, Accountability, Haiti

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 379.901KB).

Mahnaz Sadri

Graduate Student, Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics, McGill University, Montreal, Québec, Canada

Education: B.Sc. (Civil) from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, Graduate Certificate (building engineering–project management) from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, M.Eng. (Civil–in progress, with a focus on social and cultural sustainability) from McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Teaching Experience: Teaching assistant (Infrastructure and Society Course), McGill University, Montreal, Canada, Lab instructor (Surveying) Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, Tutor, Math Help Centre, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, Canada. Leadership Activities: VP Social, Women in Engineering Society, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, President, Iranian Student Association, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, Canada.

Prof. M. Saeed Mirza

Professor Emeritus, Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics, McGill University, Québec, Canada

Winner of several awards for outstanding teaching, research and international professional contributions, Dr. Mirza is considered a world authority on structural concrete behaviour, physical modelling, nonlinear structural analysis, and design of durable and sustainable infrastructure. He has published extensively in journals and has co-authored books, special publications and reports on these topics. He is a Past-President of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE), and is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, Engineering Institute of Canada, CSCE, American Concrete Institute and the Institute of Engineers Pakistan. Dr. Mirza has lobbied strongly for renewal of Canada’s deteriorating infrastructure and related technical, environmental, socio-economic, and financial, management and policy issues. Peers consider him to be “an outstanding engineer, researcher and educator who has made a tremendous impact on many infrastructure issues over the past two decades”. Since 1999, Dr. Mirza has played an active role in developing an Environmental Policy for McGill University, and its implementation to ameliorate the environment and sustainable practices on all campuses. In 2008, his dedicated leadership and “long time commitment and valuable contributions” were recognized by a Special McGill Environmental Award and planting of a tree to honour his many contributions.