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Community Development History of community development is traced back to World War-II. For the first time, in 1944 “Mass Education” was used by a secretary of State’s Advisory Committee in a report entitled “Mass Education in African Society”. In 1948, the word Community Development was properly used by British Colonial Office-Cambridge Conference on the development of African Society.
Definition Community Development is a young subject and changes in emphasis since its inception. Therefore, there is no a single definition of the term. Some of the definitions are: 1. Sanders (1953) suggests that community development is an organized effort to improve the condition of community life. 2. Ali (1970) stated that community development is one of the methods for involving people in the process of socio-economic development and the improvement of their own conditions by supplementing government efforts in this regards.
3. Edward and Jones (1976) opines that community development is a process in which the people of a community attempt a collaborative effort to promote what they consider to be the well being of their community. In our own words, we can define community development as a planned cultural change where the conditions of a community is improved through collective efforts based on self-help, governmental or voluntary organizations assistance and support.
Aims and Objectives of Community Development 1. To organize the people for sustainable development The main purpose of community development is to organize the people. This enable the people to collectively identify, prioritize and plan to solve their problems that ultimately leads to sustainable development. Through successful organization the community members overall develop their community. 2. Mass awareness The main objective of community development is working to make the people aware from various problems in a community. It helps them to provide knowledge and to know about the main causes that affects their social life. Moreover, it enables them to implement social action projects based on self-help or with the help of other governmental an non-governmental organizations.
3. To improve the living standards of people Community development aims to improve the living standards of the people. It enhances and promotes participatory democracy, sustainable development, rights, economic conditions, equality and social justice in a community through organizing and capacity building of the people. 4. To empower the people Community development seeks to empower individuals and groups of people with the skills they need to effect change within their communities.
5. Capacity Building The main purpose of the community development is to aware the people and build their capacities for the enhancement and improvement their communities. In capacity building, the management and leadership skills are enhanced of the community members. Moreover, the people are trained to manage the community resources by keeping its proper record. 6. To develop linkages with other communities and organization Community development through community organizations enable the people to develop their linkages with other government and nongovernmental organizations for the development of their community. 7. To enhance the notion of community ownership Community development aims to enhance the notion of community ownership among the people. The active involvement of community members in developmental activities ensure the notion of ownership among the people that leads to sustainable development.
Nature of Community Development is a process of change from the traditional way of living of rural communities to progressive way of living as a method by which people can be assisted to develop themselves on their own capacity and resources, as a programme for accomplishing certain welfare activities for rural people and as a movement for progress with a certain ideological content. Approaches to Community Development Sanders observed four major approaches for community development
1. Community Development as a Process implies transition from one phase to another. It means a process of change from a feudal society to industrialized society. Community development as a process moves by stages from one condition or state to the next i. e. change from a state where few or a small elite within or without a local community make decisions for the rest of the people, to a state where the people themselves make these decisions about maters of common concern. Similarly, from a state where few participate where many participate. Moreover, from a state where all resources and specialists come from outside to few people where local people make the most use of their own resources etc. Community development is based on the belief in the ability of every individual and community to grow and change for the better. They are helped to organize and work for the attainment of better life according to their ambitions. Community development seeks to change these conditions in the under developed countries through the participation of the people. Community development is concerned with the total development of man as an agent of change and growth. For community development, participation of all the community people is an essential factor which is not spontaneous in the initial stages except the few educated and experienced people. The rest of the community members will need motivation, encouragement, and enhancement of knowledge. Thus, it can be said that community development as a process emphasizes social and psychological change of people.
2. Community Development as a Method is that which emphasizes popular participation and direct involvement of a population in the process of development. Community development is a way of working to achieve some goals. Therefore, as a method the emphasis is on the ends/goals to be achieved by means of community development. New ways and techniques are used to deal with old problems with the active participation of the people. Community development calls for organized efforts at various levels for the improvement of socio-economic conditions of the community. Thus, community development as a method brings people together in a community program for their collective welfare.
3. Community Development as a Programme Community development method is a set of various procedures and activities. When community development activity is formally organized with a separate administration and staff, is known as a programme. Community development as a programme emphasis on the activities to achieve a wide variety of specific improvements in the community with the active involvement and consensus of the local people. Main community development programmes according to United Nations report are: 1. Physical improvements such as roads, housing, irrigation, drainage and better farming practices etc. 2. Functional activities such as the protection of health, education and recreation. 3. Community action involving group discussion, community analysis of local needs, the setting up of committees, the training personnel
4. Community development as a movement stands for the progress and welfare of the people in general of the underprivileged and marginalized communities in particular. Community development movement is impossible without the help, cooperation and active participation of the masses. As a movement, community development puts emphasis on human participation in various projects through brining change in their outlook and by creating dependence on self-reliance among them. This understanding of the people about ommunity development will ultimately result in spontaneous participation and they will look at a programme as their own. When they begin to identify the programme as their own, the process of social transformation starts and more people participate. In this way the process of community development takes the shape of a movement and the whole nation feels its impact.
Elements of Community Development Mc. Knight (1995) and Ronnby (1995&96) identified the following elements of community development: 1. Joint efforts to solve common problem democratically on a community basis 2. Activities must be related to the basic needs of the community 3. Collective action and the establishment of multi-purpose program 4. Effective local administration and supervision 5. Identification, encouragement and training of local leadership 6. Promotes self-help and self-reliance 7. Initiatives comes from the people themselves 8. Process of encouragement to change 9. Adoption of consistent policies, specific administrative arrangement, training of the personnel, mobilization of local and natural resources 10. Linkages development with voluntary NGOs to solve community problems