Community Development & Its Empowerment Principle
Task: The key purpose of community development is to build strong communities based on equality, justice and mutual respect by enabling ordinary people to take part in the issues that affect their lives. You are required to discuss:
1. What is community development and the importance of community development?
2. Why community members are encouraged to participate in the process.
3. Choose one of the principles of community development from the list below. Research a community development project and illustrate how that principle works in the context of that project.
Community Development as per Seering et al (2019), is a process through which the members of the community come together and find solutions to some group problems as well as take up some collective responsibility. The activists, civic leaders, involved citizens and professionals take up community development as a part of their work. They aim at enhancing the various aspects of the community, building a stronger community with highly resilient local community members. Community development is intended to improve the living conditions of the community, empower the weaker individuals and foster skill development. Community development facilitates promoting sustainable development, participative democracy, economic opportunity, education, social justice and equality and empowerment(Aquino, Lück&Schänzel, 2019). In this essay the focus will be on community development and its empowerment principle.
Importance of Community Development
Community development is of great significance to the members of a community or society. Community development lays the foundation for the building of a city, transitioning from rural to urban settings. Community development is important because it improves the quality of life of the community members (McLennan & Banks, 2019). In case of effective community development, the crime rate across the community reduces. The disparity among the community members is also less when community development prevails. When a community grows and develops, the chances of getting better jobs is easier. The workforce develops to become more productive in a developed community environment. The developed communities face fewer overall issues.
Role of Community Members in Community Development
In community development programs, the participation of the community members is very important. No policy maker or activist will understand the problems of a community like the way its own members do. In community development, the developers encourage the involvement of the members of the community (Ouyang&Scharber, 2017). They try to empower the members of the community with the skills and knowledge that is needed for bringing about a positive change within their community. The community members form social groups among themselves and try to develop the skills. The engagement of the community members helps in giving the desired direction to the community development programs. The exact problem and its appropriate solution are designed by these local community people. The community developers and local members of the community need to work hand in hand for generating effective development (Pasaribu, Vanclay& Zhao, 2020). The community members need to know how to communicate and convey to the developers their requirements. The community developers must know how to work with the community people, understanding their sentiments and problems.
Empowerment: Principle of Community Development
As per Haldane et al (2019), the term empowerment refers to the people having the power or authority to have a control over their lives. The community members can access the support which they need. The rights of the community members are not neglected. It is not possible to directly empower someone or make an individual empowered. Through the ways of working, one can make someone feel empowered. The people need to feel that they can control their lives. The deprived or weaker sections of the society should be empowered through community development programs.
Empowerment is a very important part of community development and welfare. According to Durán-Díaz et al (2020), empowerment provides the community or the specific section of the community to influence the policies and structures. The aspects which affect the lives of the community members can be dealt by its members when they are empowered. The empowerment process takes place when the individuals in power try (community developers) to form partnership with those in need of power (community members).
Women empowerment is a very crucial aspect of community development. The women in the society, especially in developing and underdeveloped nations, for long have been deprived and dominated (Peeters&Ateljevic, 2017). Thus, it becomes important for them to feel empowered. Women empowerment can be made possible through certain community development programs. The main problem that the women in a community or society us facing must be identified first. In most of the cases, like in Indian society, the women are suppressed, dominated and deprived. They are also subject to domestic violence. The main reason for this is the lack of financial stability of the women. The financial dependency on the men, make the women weaker. The women need self-sufficiency and earning opportunities (Alemu, Van Kempen& Ruben, 2018).
The small-scale handicrafts industry aims at empowering the women. The women of a particular community are guided by the community developers. They help the women to acquire skills and gain minimum education. Through the application of skills, making the handicraft items and putting it for sale, the women of the community can be economically empowered. The women can create a group within the community and apply for loans at cooperative banks to start their business. With this initial capital, they can start the business. These empowering projects will make the women independent entrepreneurs.
Not only business, but the women of the developing or underdeveloped nations are even deprived from education. Thus, the community developers need to ensure education for all the women. This will help them to become more independent. The practices like dowry, etc. make the women feel like mere items being exchanged for money. These ill practices within the society or communities must end. The men should make the women feel empowered by allowing them rightful and complete control over their lives. The Project Shakti is a community development project for women empowerment sponsored by Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL). The other programs in India include Women Empowerment Program by ITC Limited, Social and Economic Welfare by Bajaj Finance Limited, etc. which aim at empowering women, promoting education, healthcare, providing shelter and creating opportunities of livelihood for women in rural as well as urban areas (Kelly, 2020).
The economic independence and skill acquisition can foster women development and women empowerment. The women in various spheres are holding significant positions. They are contributing greatly to the society. Therefore, making them feel empowered is very important. The policies, sponsors, aids and grants for the developing and other developed nations, should target uplifting the living conditions of the women. The women need education, healthcare facilities, proper shelter, protection from violence and access to all rights. The women empowerment principle of community development tries to emphasize that all women rights are human rights and cannot be denied, irrespective of the place, position and time.
Alemu, S. H., Van Kempen, L., & Ruben, R. (2018). Women empowerment through self-help groups: the bittersweet fruits of collective apple cultivation in highland Ethiopia. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 19(3), 308-330. Aquino, R. S., Lück, M., &Schänzel, H. A. (2018). A conceptual framework of tourism social entrepreneurship for sustainable community development. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 37, 23-32.
Durán-Díaz, P., Armenta-Ramírez, A., Kurjenoja, A. K., & Schumacher, M. (2020). Community development through the empowerment of indigenous women in Cuetzalan Del Progreso, Mexico. Land, 9(5), 163.
Haldane, V.,Chuah, F. L., Srivastava, A., Singh, S. R., Koh, G. C., Seng, C. K., &Legido-Quigley, H. (2019). Community participation in health services development, implementation, and evaluation: A systematic review of empowerment, health, community, and process outcomes. PloS one, 14(5), e0216112.
Kelly, O. (2020). The Empowerment Paradox: Exploring the Implications of Neoliberalized Feminism for Sustainable Development. Sociology of Development, 6(3), 296-317.
McLennan, S., & Banks, G. (2019). Reversing the lens: Why corporate social responsibility is not community development. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 26(1), 117-126.
Ouyang, F., &Scharber, C. (2017). The influences of an experienced instructor's discussion design and facilitation on an online learning community development: A social network analysis study. The Internet and Higher Education, 35, 34-47. Pasaribu, S. I., Vanclay, F., & Zhao, Y. (2020). Challenges to implementing socially-sustainable community development in oil palm and forestry operations in Indonesia. Land, 9(3), 61.
Peeters, L. W., &Ateljevic, I. (2017). Women empowerment entrepreneurship nexus in tourism: Processes of social innovation. In Tourismand entrepreneurship (pp. 94-109). Routledge.
Seering, J., Wang, T., Yoon, J., & Kaufman, G. (2019). Moderator engagement and community development in the age of algorithms. New Media & Society, 21(7), 1417-1443.