Why communities participate in Malaria elimination projects: case studies from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia

Y Masunaga, Joan Muela Ribera, TT Nguyen, DH de Vries, Koen Peeters Grietens

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


The importance of community participation in malaria elimination efforts has been trumpeted in various studies; however, the reasons why communities participate are often under examined. We explored the underlying socio-cultural environment of marginalized communities in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to ascertain why these groups participate in a malaria elimination project, through 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork, including in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, informal conversations, and observation. Findings show various reasonings and motivations of these communities to use participation. In Vietnam, the Stieng and M’nong ethnic minority groups used participation to protest ethnic inequalities and abuses. In Laos, the Brao ethnic minority group feigned participation to deter outside interference in their traditional spaces and identity. In Cambodia, marginalized Khmer and Cham communities actively participated in the project to tailor community development. The paper concludes that participation in health interventions was consistently manipulated as a strategy to protect or nurture community identity and further socio-cultural and political interests.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1670-1682
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • >
  • Community participation
  • Malaria elimination
  • Development
  • Ethnic minority
  • Hegemony
  • Marginalized community


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