Community Development Programme
The community development programme was started in India just after independence (1952). It was a multi project programme with the aim of an overall development of rural people. This programme consisted of agriculture, animal husbandry, irrigation, cooperation, public health, education, social education, communication, village industries etc. In fact all these aspects of life relate to the 80 per cent of India’s farming population. There are officials for each activity at district level to plan, execute and evaluate the programme up to the village level.
Community development is an exclusive term. It is frequently used to encompass any and every effort towards the advance of community interests. A variety of interpretations are therefore easily available. Community development is a compound term. It is useful, therefore, to consider its components.
A community is a group of people, who live in a geographical area and have interests in each other for the purpose of making a living
It is a farm of social organization existing between the family and state.
A community, while in itself consisting of several parts, is also a part of a larger social system. It is a dynamic social unit which is subject to change of internal or external origin. Some of the important characteristics of the community are
1. Communities are close-knit
2. Their customs are interrelated
3. These communities are complexes of sub-group relationship and
4. There is a discernible leadership within the community.
The term development connotes growth or maturation. It implies gradual and sequential phases of change.
By understanding the above terms, we can say that community development programmes means a programme for gradual change in a group of people living in a geographical area and have interest in each other for the purpose of making a living.
Concepts of Community Development:
1. Community development is a movement designed to promote better living for the whole community with the active participation and on the initiative of the community.
- Community development is a balanced programme for stimulating the local potential for growth in every direction. Its promise is of reciprocal advance in both wealth and wealth and welfare, not on the basis of outside charity but by building on the latent vitality of the beneficiaries themselves with the minimum of outside aid.
- Community development is technically aided and locally organized self help.
- The term community development has come into international usage to denote the process by which the efforts of the people themselves are united with those the governmental authorities to improve the economic social and cultural conditions of the communities, to integrate these communities into the life of the nation and enable them to contribute fully to national progress.
- Community development is the term used to describe the technique which many governments have adopted to reach their village people and to make more effective use of local initiative and energy for increased production and better living standards.
- Community development is a process of social action in which the people of a community organize themselves for planning and action, define their needs and problems.
Community development has now set the pattern for the development of the rural people and the rural areas. The objectives of development and the new approach it makes to the solution of the problem of rural reconstruction, the comprehensive nature of the programme that it is promoting. The approach to the programme is two fold, educational and organizational. The rural people are to be educated in the art of better living, for bringing about a change in their attitude, for breaking away from primitive methods of production, unhygienic says of living based on tradition and for the adopting of progressive ways based on science and technology.
Size of Unit:
For each community project, as at present planned, there will be approximately 300 villages with a total area of about 450 to 500 square miles, a cultivated area of about, 1,50,000 acres and a population about 2,00,000. The project area is conceived as being divided into 3 development blocks, each consisting 50,000 to 70,000. The development block, is, in turn, divided into groups of 5 villages each, each group being the field of operation for a village level worker.
Location of Units:
The initial programme has been started with approximately 55 projects of rural development located in select areas in the several states of India, A certain degree of flexibility is allowed in the actual allotment of projects. Thus, while many are complete projects of about 300 villages each, some are also independent development bocks of about 100 villages each, depending upon the needs and conditions of the particular areas chosen for development
principles of Community Development
Canadians Michael and Julie Bopp described the principles of community development as follow:
1. Harnessing Community Tensions:
For changes to occur there must be a tension in people’s mind between the way things are and the way people want them to be. There must be a desire for change and a desire to work together to create the change.
2. Facilitating Consultation about Community Realities and Needs:
As noted in detail below, for community development to work successfully, there has to be awareness about community needs as decided upon by the community themselves, not as decided upon by outsides
- Maintaining Unity and Healthy Human Relations:
It is important to build respectful healthy relationship between members of the group and to work on managing conflicts as they occur so as to maintain a collective vision.
4. Developing a Common Vision of Sustainable Future:If community development is to work, it must be sustainable and the process must include everyone. Stories abound of development processes failing because the resources or the process were not sustainable or well devised or were done without consultation. We have all seen pictures of computers lying unused because the hardware or software broke or just because people in the community didn’t actually see need for computers.
5. Supporting Core Group Development:
It is essential to encourage and support your group. Get to know the people in your group. What are their interests and skills? How much time can they dedicate to the group’s activities? Everyone needs to be clear about their capacities and the limits to their time and energy that may exist. Encourage and build up a strong support base so that the group is not dependent upon only one or two people. Make sure the group is as representative of the community as it can be-that means including and listening to the needs of women and children as well.
6. Personal Revitalization and Healing:
Good community development processes provide an opportunity for people to become empowered, energized and to undo some of the harms of the past.
7. Facilitating Learning:
The entire development process is a learning experience. People can become aware of their environment, their social and political reality and can learn how to make the steps necessary to change and improve their situation.
8. Building Effective Organizations:
Formalizing the initial volunteer group is crucial part of the development process. Creating and implementing formal organization structures creates legitimacy and respect for the organizations and lets the community know that you are serious about your endeavours. It helps keep people unified and accountable and is part of the process of developing and implementing plans and activities.
9.Networking with Resources and Allies:
Creating the networks between like minded individuals who then form a group who then network with other groups in order to learn and share skills and resources and knowledge is a crucial part of the community development process. The most effective groups are those that are well networked and work on co-operation with others in their area. Find out whether your area has a friendship school or rotary club or other group that is already working.
It is important to have a clear programme. An as hoc approach to community development processes will not work. A programme must be developed in conjunction with the community and be about community needs and priorities. They must adhere to realistic timelines and have inbuilt monitoring and evaluation processes so that changes can be tracked. The prorgramme acts as a map to signal where it is the group going.
11. Reflection on the Process: Monitoring and Evaluation:
Monitoring and Evaluation is very important as it allows the group to track progress, identify problems, and improve upon community development processes.
12. Protecting the Process:
Community development processes are dependent upon a rant of other processes: the good will of those involved, the continuation of funds, a secure political environment, a lack of violence. Once any of these dynamics is disrupted, then negative change and conflict may occur. It is important to have risk management strategies built into your process Less well developed processes might have fallen victim to the conflict and insecurity.