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Community engagement (CE) provides a means to develop graduates who are community minded and have a lived appreciation of the principles of social justice. The literature presents mutuality and reciprocity as essential elements of any CE initiative. In recent years there has been an increased focus on mutual benefits for communities participating in community engagement projects. The following article examines the importance of mutuality and reciprocity in community engagement including the processes and conditions related to these variables. This is achieved through analysing the Future in Youth (FIY) soccer project, a Sport for Development (SFD) project in Baucau, Timor Leste (East Timor). The processes involved in developing reciprocal and mutually beneficial community engagement projects are also considered through using Lewin's (1936) Life space and Vygotsky's (1978) Zone of Proximal Development as theoretical lenses to illustrate the phenomena. This analysis gives attention to how people in developing nations face challenges related to poverty, infrastructure, health, and social cohesion and need to gain considerable benefits from projects such as FIY.


School of Exercise Science

Document Type

Journal Article

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