DOING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT WORK (Basic Principles and Practice):
What is development?
Development is the quantitative and qualitative increase in the resources (services and goods) that match the population. According to UNDP (1990), development is a process of enlarging peoples’ choices to lead long and healthy lives with decent standards of living. It embraces wider concerns of the quality of life like education attainment, nutritional status, access to basic freedoms and spiritual welfare. (Life sustenance, self-esteem and freedom).
What is sustainable?
Approaches that target long-lasting solutions with ability to be maintained.
What is sustainable development?
The United Nations defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Sustainable Development is that development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It looks holistically at the depth and scope of these social, economic and environmental concerns.
It is a framework by which communities begin to:
- address expressed needs,
- Utilize their own resources efficiently
- Build on the strength of the people
- Create more sustainable infrastructures
- Enhance quality of life
- Create new business opportunities to strengthen economies
(Empowers people by giving them the skills, knowledge and information on how to discover their needs/challenges, mobilization skills & resources to address the challenge)
It strengthens the ability of the people to engender their development by:
- Transferring of skills, knowledge and information to the people.
- Working on something of their priority – this encourages them to continue with or without you.
- Providing only those resources that cannot be found in the community in a manner that is sustainable.
- It emphasizing that communities analyze their own experiences, make decisions about how to best solve their problems and overcome challenges, as a result, feel empowered to overcome challenges.
(The development worker is just a facilitator).
Basic Principles of International Sustainable Development
- Partnership, participation, poverty reduction
- Sustainability, capacity building, accountability,
- Addressing root issues such as human rights, gender, environmental issues, health and nutrition, micro-finance, impact of conflict, education, etc
- Ethics, empowerment, tolerance, non-discrimination
Sustainable development takes into consideration an array of contexts:
- Culturally sustainable: Does the basic approach or concept fit within and build on local beliefs and traditions?
- Politically sustainable: Does the political will exist to continue efforts?
- Economically sustainable: Will there be sufficient local resources, or the capacity to generate them?
- Managerially sustainable: Will there be the local management capacity to carry on the work?
- Environmentally sustainable: As the project grows, will there be enough environmental resources to sustain activities?
(It is also crucial to incorporate tenants of human rights into sustainable development practices to fully reach the breadth of true sustainability and the empowerment of peoples and communities in their own development).