We show in this article how modernization, disguised as "community development," continues to fail rural villages in Solomon Islands despite the supposed movement toward a more people-centered, bottom-up philosophy in development education and practice. We focus on the case study of a Kwara'ae (Malaita island) rural, locally owned and operated project aimed at giving unemployed male youth a stake in the community and preventing their off-island migration. Successful for a decade, the project was destroyed by the intervention of a retired government official who, because of his education, training, and work with outside development agencies, imposed a modernization framework, including centralization of leadership and the valuing of Anglo-European knowledge over indigenous knowledge. While agreeing with the theoretical argument for indigenous knowledge in development, we argue that it is equally important that development be guided by people's indigenous epistemology/ies and indigenous critical praxis for (re)constructing and applying knowledge.
The Contemporary Pacific – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jul 1, 2002