Local Community Development

Local community development is defined as the process of empowering individuals within a community with an aim of effecting change through provision of skill and information to enable them meet the challenges faced in the locality. This process the involvement of community leaders, local professionals, the common citizens of the locality and other stake holders like local Government.

The process involves various processes that include: Active listening to identify challenges facing the communities; prioritizing the challenges to be tackled; capacity building for the participants on how to tackle the challenges; implementation of lessons learned in projects: monitoring of the impact of projects initiated and evaluation to determine if the project were a “wins” or “loses.”

Most organizations which envision to carry out local development however fail to follow this criteria resulting to directly intervening in mitigating challenges by offering handouts to problems that the community can independently handle albeit with minimal support. This hinders the sustainability of development as community overly rely on donors of such projects leading to failure once this donors exit.

To provide tangible and impact-full development it is the prerogative of development organize to allow the locals identify the challenges, let them identify ways tackle the problem, allow them to identify local resources that are available that can be used to solve the problems and then coach them through the implementation process. The role of such organizations should be to facilitate communities run their own development.

To achieve the above mentioned objective the community development facilitators should take a nonviolent direct approach by providing alternative solutions and allowing the community identify one that suits them. They can encourage development by targeting economic and financial development approach to help communities uplift their economic status and ability buy essentials for themselves for example by providing them on income generating skills. The social approach allows groups of individuals to work together to derive benefits through cooperation or pooling of resources. Policy change approach helps the communities advocate for policies that will improve their livelihoods. Organizations can seek to grow the advocacy ability of individuals through capacity building approaches to identify leaders who can effectively push the communities’ agendas and be able to mobilize them as well as local resources.

The most important factor that is important for the success of local development is commitment from all stakeholders including the funding organization. As such to avoid frustration communities should envision to start out with small goals and projects to keep momentum and ultimately progress to larger progress depending on their successes. This ensure that they do not get overwhelmed.

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