Meaning of Community Development
Community development is a combination of community and growth. A community is defined as a group of individuals who share a collective identity. Thus, any event in a community is based on the interaction between people rather than individual action. On the other hand, evolution is defined as the process that increases choices. Development is applying new approaches to cope with specific issues, thinking differently about problems, diversifying, and anticipating change. Community development strengthens community health since it plays a significant role in improving living standards (Gilchrist, 2009). Although community development involves attitude, participation, flexibility, equity, and vitality, the approach may require the creation of wealth that people value not just in the form of money.
Community development is the process undertaken by members of a given community. The process involves job creation and improves infrastructure. Additionally, it plays a vital role in ensuring that the community can cope with daily changes. Community development promotes the building of infrastructure and enhances employment. Projects are easily achieved when locals change their attitudes and improve networking (Wilson, 2012). Public health is one of the main goals of community development programs. For health-based programs to be successful, the targeted community should be involved directly to determine the purpose and resources in the advancement of community health. Developing a healthy community usually represents a significant process for the improvement of the health of a given society. Health promotion mainly focuses on vulnerable groups, such as poor people, refugees, children, women, and adolescents. Health improvement program is achieved through sustainable partnership and integration within the community (Peterson, 1994). The goal of community development is to improve the lives of a community not only economically, but also to create a stable and functional society.
Financial, physical, social, and environmental, as well as human are five aspects that need improvement. Through participation in community work, people can expand and improve networks, view their problems differently, and most importantly, build social capital. Through community development engagements, people can develop and learn new skills. The community also learns to conserve the environment and adopt new ways that protect against degradation (Roseland, 2000). Therefore, people can enhance their ability to make better decisions, regarding the use of resources, labor, and infrastructure.
The essential for a thriving community development program is that it can be planned based on the community’s needs without being imposed by individuals funding the initiative. The economic activities of a given community can play a catalyst role in pushing for social and economic change (Wilson, 2012). In essence, such programs can also play a role in ensuring equal wealth distribution, especially to the marginalized part of society.
Community Development Project
The BFCD was registered and approved by the government in 2012 to offer support to a disadvantaged population. The organization realized that in Cambodia, about 36% of the population was below the poverty line, while 85% of them were farmers who had low incomes (Rattan, 2014). In addition, the low yields were because of natural disasters, inadequate support, and poor farming techniques. The living standards and poverty levels have affected the access to and use of family planning. Since each family has several children, it becomes difficult to access education opportunities. As a result, many families have resulted in begging in areas.
The community lacks hygiene and water sanitation, which affects their health. They have not understood how to work as a community. For instance, in case of a disaster, such as a drought or flooding, this society is not able to manage the situation. To improve the health situation in the community, BFCD identified the source of the health risk and employed the right solutions to solve the issue (Rattan, 2014). The organization developed clean water sources, including safe drinking and farming water, to improve hygiene. Thus, BFCD has developed a plan to assist the affected population through capacity building on health, education, agriculture, caring for the environment, and good governance.
Furthermore, the organization plans to distribute vegetables and fruit trees for planting to willing families. The distribution will be done to those prepared to plant for consumption and trade. The organization’s agricultural officer will be responsible for conducting an assessment, implementing and monitoring, and evaluating the project to achieve success. Additionally, wells and dams will be constructed to provide clean water for domestic use and farming, and hence reduce the risk of infections.
Moreover, the organization plans to support business operations and management training for several business startups in 3 villages. This will benefit families by increasing their sales, revenue, and profits. Some will be able to support their children to go to school, and the successful businesses will share knowledge with others and help expand the companies and wealth.
Working in a different environment provides an opportunity to interact with individuals from diverse backgrounds. The interaction offers social workers a chance to understand the people’s problems to initiate a course of action. Additionally, it gives practitioners problem-solving skills, which is crucial in their future projects (Campbell & Vainio, 2003). Given that each community may have different difficulties, the approaches also need to be modified by the social worker.
Community work is mainly based on values. The intended goal can only be achieved if it is consistent with community values. Thus, it is essential to understand the community’s needs. The project development is primarily determined by community priorities. Hence, the program may face delays since the social worker may be unable to decide on a clear direction for the intended project. Some community actions may be successful but lack the confidence to maintain a given project. Thus, to avoid such an issue, the leader should support the community by enhancing morale and confidence to guarantee project success. Another challenge is community perception concerning a given project (Eversole, 2010). Hence, to overcome this problem, the leader should interact with the community and educate them about the impact of the program.
As it is palpable from the analysis and promotion practice selected, community development programs are not meant to fix the issues facing a given community promptly. However, developments that have far-reaching effects take time to mature. Thus, given a robust and well-laid structure, proper monitoring, and good governance, the program is likely to bring beneficial outcomes. However, to ensure success and utilization of resources, the progress should be monitored closely to ensure that the benefits anticipated by the sponsors are realized. The monitoring process also ensures that the project achieves its set goals. Community development programs play a crucial role in improving the lives of the disadvantaged part of society. Just like BFCD, it is important for a community-based organization to identify and provide solutions to community health issues. The donors and funders help in uplifting the living standards of such people by giving them a platform for wealth creation. It is essential for health promoters to be more careful in the assessment of the health issues facing a given community to understand the best course of action in solving the problem. In essence, whenever a program is successful, people’s lives improve.
Campbell, L.M. and Vainio-Mattila, A. 2003. ‘Participatory development and community-based conservation: Opportunities missed for lessons learned?’, Human Ecology, 31(3), pp.417-437.
Eversole, R 2010. ‘Remaking participation: challenges for community development practice’, Community Development Journal, vol. 47, no. 1, pp. 29-41.
Gilchrist, A., 2009. The well-connected community: A networking approach to community development. Policy Press.
Petersen, AR 1994. ‘Community development in health promotion: empowerment or regulation?’, Australian Journal of Public Health, vol. 18, n. 2, pp. 213-217.
Rattan, U 2014. ‘BFCD integrated community development project. Buddhism Foundation for Community Development’, pp. 1-18.
Roseland, M 2000. ‘Sustainable community development: integrating environmental, economic, and social objectives’, Progress in Planning, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 73-132.
Wilson, TA 2012. ‘Supporting social enterprises to support vulnerable consumers: the example of community development finance institutions and financial exclusion’, Journal of Consumer Policy, vol. 35, no. 2, pp.197-213.