PURPOSE: The purpose of this article is to critically discuss issues that pertain to the operationalization of community participation in community-based rehabilitation (CBR). METHOD: Data were drawn from an international, questionnaire-based survey of occupational therapists involved in CBR conducted through the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. A search of CINAHL. PsychInfo and Medline databases for articles on CBR was performed and both descriptive articles and analytical ones were included. RESULTS: Although there are guidelines on the nature of CBR these do not always match its application in practice. Active involvement of local communities in CBR projects is often limited, threatening the sustainability of CBR programmes. Furthermore, the failure to acknowledge the sociopolitical underpinnings and the cultural nature of disability is likely to compromise the nature of disabled people's involvement in CBR. CONCLUSIONS: There is confusion and lack of clarity about the nature of CBR. Educational modules on CBR should be made available to professionals. These should consider the importance of community involvement and context-specific and culture-sensitive programmes in practice
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