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Community development, a drive to uplift rural communities

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th October 2015 04:48 PM

Community development according to United Nations is the process of where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems.

Community development, a drive to uplift rural communities

Diana Tibesigwa Diana Tibesigwa

Community development according to United Nations is the process of where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems.

By Paul Muleme

Community development according to United Nations is the process of where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems.

It seeks to empower individuals and groups of people with skills they need to effect change within communities which are created through the formation of large social groups working for a common agenda.

Community development as a process involves changing the relationships between ordinary people and people in positions of power, so that everyone can take part in the issues that affect their lives. It starts from the principle that within any community there is a wealth of knowledge and experience which if used in creative ways can be channeled into collective action to achieve the community desired goals.

We have experienced several community based organizations and government local agencies work alongside people in communities to help build relationships with key people and organisations to indentify common concerns there by creating opportunities for the community to learn new skills and by enabling people to act together that fosters social inclusion and equality.

Some of the organizations to mention but a few are CIDI , World vision , Plan International ,Vedco and Bulemezi Youth Integrated Development Initiative (BYIDI) that have centered to build capacities in the rural communities by working hand in hand with the grass root village communities through coordinating programmes with their village health teams termed as VHTS that have played a leading role in mobilizing communities to uplift their living standards by supplementing to cover missing gaps in basic social economic activities like agriculture , animal husbandry , water sanitation , education and health programmes.

Some of the approaches that have been adopted as a drive to uplift living standards of rural communities through community development are women self help groups ,community capacity building, social capital formation focusing on cooperation between individuals and groups,  faith based community development which utilizes faith based organizations to bring community development outcomes , community based participatory research that involves community members organization representatives and researchers in all aspects of research process to have ownership and share expertise in the process for community development outcomes  , participatory planning that includes community based planning  involving the entire community in strategic and entire management of community level planning, sustainable development  taking into consideration social development and environment protection outcomes.

There are a number of International organizations that support community development like Oxfam ,UNICEF, The Hunger project and freedom from hunger run community development programs based upon community development initiatives for relief and prevention of malnutrition .These have supplemented social economic programmes in areas of need for example Oxfam supports around 230,000 people to rebuild their livelihood through provision of essential services such as water , sanitation ,supporting agricultural development and other livelihood initiatives through provision of agricultural inputs ,extension support ,trainings and pr support production which have had a positive impact on improving livelihoods in areas of operation like northern Uganda most especially the war affected areas by Kony insurgency.

The government of Uganda has recognized the importance of non state actors in accelerating a countries development process. Governments Economic recovery Program ( ERP )and the Poverty Eradication Plan( PEAP ) are predicated on promotion of private sector led growth. Uganda’s 1995 constitution guarantees the right of every Ugandan to engage in peace full activities to influence the policies of government through civic organizations. It also recognizes the role Non Governmental organizations play in service delivery especially to marginalized groups and improving accountability of public institutions.

The contributions of NGOS in spearheading community development in areas of advocacy ,democracy, good governance and community empowerment is beyond debate which is strengthened with the Local Government Act 1997 that specifically provides civil society organizations with an important role in service delivery at community level.

With all the above attributing factors community development as a tool and approach if taken seriously, harnessed by the population and other stake holders in the process of empowering our communities it can play a leading role in uplifting peoples living standards in rural communities.

 pmuleme@lycos.com
 

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