University’s Catalytic Effect in Engendering Local Development Drives: Insight into the Instrumentality of Community-Based Service Learning

  •  Marcellus Mbah    
  •  Charles Fonchingong    


The context of this paper is Africa, where communities have historically looked up to universities within their locality to maximize their intellectual capital and knowledge creation to foster regional development. How well these universities are actively responding to the demands of economic and social development require attention. This paper reports an instrumental case study involving in-depth interviews and focus groups within a bounded locality in Cameroon to address what universities can do to enhance their contribution to local development. Findings suggest that whilst a university’s community-based service learning (CBSL) scheme can be ascertained as an instrument that can engender local development, this requires the fostering of relevant education for informed participation of different stakeholders in the framing but also firming up of CBSL objectives and processes. Furthermore, in order to optimize the prospect for local development instigated by CBSL activities, relevant stakeholders should go beyond short-term planning and adopt futuristic sustainable strategies. There is need to promote deeper dissemination, as well as follow-up on field findings for sustained implementation and outcomes.

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