Third World Planning Review

Social Planning and Access to the Social Services in Developing Countries: The Case of Sierra Leone

Third World Planning Review (1982), 4, (1), 74


Tbird World Planning Rene", Vol 4, No I, Februarv 1982 SOCIAL PLANNING AND ACCESS TO THE SOCIAL SERVICES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES The Case of Sierra Leone by MARGARET HARDIMAN and JAMES MIDGLEY ~ Kespecuvelv: Semor Lecturerand Lecturer In Soaal Admnnstrauon, London School ofEconomics, UK T he belief that governments should playa major role in the provision of health, education, housing, social security and other social services is widelv accepted in the industrial countries today. Although there are obvious differences in the extent to which governments have assumed this responsibility, the social services consume a substantial proportion of public revenues in both the socialist and capitalist nations of the developed world. Modern social services have been established also in the developing countries where many governments have adopted social planning procedures designed to expand their scope and coverage. Most national development plans now contain chapters dealing 'with the social services, and increasinglv professional social planners are being trained to work in central and sectoral planning agencies to formulate social service policies and plans. The foundations of modern social services in many developing countries were laid by Christian missionaries and colonial administrators. During colonial rule limited social services were introduced by colonial governments, but they catered primarily for the needs of European civil servants, employees of foreign enterprises and settlers. 1 On the other hand, missionaries worked among native people chiefly in the rural areas and provided health and education as an integral part of their efforts at proselytisation. These developments created new demands: although missionary education and health services may have been regarded with initial suspicion, local people soon made extensive use of them. As it was realised that those who had been educated by the missions could find \\'age employment and increase their income and status, demand for western education increased. Similarly the very-' inaccessibility of the colonial social services created a demand for their extension; since these had been reserved primarily for Europeans, many nationalist independence movements committed themselves to providing modem health, education and other social services to all. Towards the end of the colonial era, metropolitan governments began to expand the social services. Education was given greater priority, community development and mass education programmes were begun in several British territories, the French introduced health and social security and additional funds for the social services were made available through aid programmes such as the British Colonial Development and Welfare Acts.:' During the nineteen sixties the United Nations and its constituent agencies took a particularly active part in the promotion of the social services in developing countries. The United Nations sponsored numerous expert missions to the Third World to advise governments on social service ~ Copyright (c) 2006 ProQuest Information and Learning Company Copyright (c) Liverpool University Press -'

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Author details

Hardiman, Margaret

Midgley, James