Topic 3: Community Organization

Specific objectives
By the end of this topic the trainee should be able to:
 Discuss the characteristics of a community;
 Describe the of organization;
 Discuss the challenges of community organization;
 Discuss the impact of community activities on an organization.

It means bringing people together to combat/deal with shared problem and their say about decision that affects their lives. Is a proves of organizing time, people and resources.

It is often with community development because both are social processes but community development occurs when people from their own organize to provide long time capacity for problems solving therefore community organization is a process that facilitates community development.

Community organization strategy
There is no single preferred method for community organization .There is 3 main models /strategies and methods of community organization.
a) Specific content strategy/method/model
Under this strategy any individual/agency recognizes the community specific needs and launch a programme to meet this needs in form of reforms
It focuses on achieving specific activities by involving selected people, authority and individuals.
The success of this strategy is measured by the agree of a set objectives
Most have specific time frame and be completed in the shortest time possible.
b) General content strategy
In this method the effort is made to co-ordinate the existing services to extend present and initiate state services to meet the community needs
The objective is not a single reform but more general objective of a specific group in the community.
This strategy requires involvement of considerable groups of interested people in learning ways and means of coordinating and expanding services in a particular area.
c) Process or content/social action strategy
This strategy emphasize on process in which community people are involved through their representative in identifying and linking action with respect to their problem. The emphasis is on cooperative and collaborative work among the various groups to the community
It is useful in helping to organize the disadvantaged segments of the population. It involves trying to redistribute power or resources which allow for institutional and community change. It is useful during civil rights movements and where people have been oppressed, it’s low but effective and long-lasting as the community learns to solve its problems by utilizing its own resources.

Principles of community organization
1. Start from the community’s felt need-the community recognizes areas of discontent with the existing situation, thus expressing the need for change.
2. Discontent must be understood by the community-as many as possible of the community members should be aware /conscious of the needed change
3. Principle of proper communication-the community members should get to know of the process for the desired change through the community used and accepted channels in the community
4. Principle of involvement-community member’s involvement in the change process should be made as free as possible without any restriction.
5. Principle of agreed upon goal-the change process should be agreed towards the goal/objective that have been agreed on by the members (prioritized goals)

 Provide satisfaction of member’s social needs and a sense of personal identity and belonging
 Enhances effective communication within the community
 Promotes team work
 Provides a feeling of stability, security and through informal norms f behavior exercise a form of control of the members.
 It provides a means of highlighting efficiencies of weakness of the formal organization.

Characteristics of community

 Residence in a rural locality
 They have informal relationships
 They share common feelings and a sense of belonging
 Permanency-not passing like a crowd
 Members share common language
 Leadership based on interpersonal qualities
 Have natural boundaries.

Process of Community Organization
Mc Kenzie and Smeltzer synthesized the works of other several scholars and came up with a 10 step approach to community organization
1. Recognition of the problem
The process of community organization begins when somebody recognizes the existence of a problem and decides to do something about it. If those who initiate the process are members of the community, this is referred to as grass root or citizen initiated or bottom up approach
Where the process is initiated by individuals from outside the community, this is referred to as top-down or outside –in approach, not every one can be an effective organizer who has a rare combination of attributes and skills.
2. Gaining entry into the community
After recognition of the problem the community must be properly informed. This is the most crucial step in the whole process that must be accomplished through the community’s most influential members (gate keepers/opinion leaders)
These are the individuals who control both formally and informally the political climate to the community, they also know their community how it functions and how accomplish task within it e.g. politicians, religious ledges, activist groups, education leaders etc.
Before approaching these individuals, one must study the community well; you should know where the power lies what type of politics must be used to solve a problem and whether the particular problem to be solved has ever been dealt with in the community.
3. Organizing the people
Obtaining the support of the community interested in seeing the problem should (executive participants, as they will end up doing the majority of the work).It’s also important to involve those individuals directly affected by the problem.
The work of this particular group is to recruit more members of the community to the course, this helps spread out of the work load and generate more resources to deal with the problem in expanding their constituencies, the organizers should be sure to
• Identify people who are affected by the problem of concern
• Ensure a reward for the volunteers
• Keep volunteers assignment with their ability and expertise
• Consists providing appropriate training to make sure volunteers are okay with their task

4. Identify the specific problem
This is the isolation and defining more carefully the problems that need to be solved.
Community problems are complex and the reality is that somebody usually benefits if the problem remains unsolved.

5. Determine priorities and setting goals
More often than not, the resources needed to solve all the problems are not available and thus need to prioritize. Prioritization is achieved through general agreement or consensus so that some of ownership, participants will not be wiling to give their resources, time, energy etc towards disowning the problem.
Once the problem is prioritized, goals need to be identified to serve as a guide for problem solving.
6. Arriving at the strategy and selecting intervention activity
These are the alternative strategies or consideration o various alternatives for solving the problem. Strategy involves selecting one or more intervention activities. Each type of intervention activities, again the group must work through consensus and compromise.
7. Implementing the plan
This entails identifying and collecting the necessary resources for implementation and creating appropriate work plan (time schedule) for implementation. It is the carrying out of the activities that has been agreed on in the previous step that is embarked on at this step.
8. Evaluating the outcome of the plan of action
This is the comparing of the outcome of the process to goals and objectives that have been set initially. The achievement that was realized the factors that contributed to their realization or failure to realize that they are considered /ascertained. This provides for a learning opportunity and a motivation process for all who participated in the process.
9. Maintaining the outcome in the community
This is the most difficult step in the entire process. It is at this point that the organizers need to seriously consider the need for the community development i.e. the creation of an organization to provide a long term capacity for problem solving.
10. Looping back
This is the review/reconsideration of what transpired in the entire process before proceeding on the stake holders reflect on all activities that took place from the beginning and derived lessons for future intervention from them.

Challenges of community organization

The process of community organization is influenced by a range of internal and external factors.

Internal factors
• Misunderstanding among the members
• Lack of clear goal and objectives (different need)
• Communication barriers among members
• Poor patterns of work in the nature and variety of activities and the extend of autonomy and freedom of action
• Lack of social interaction with the organization/community
• Individual differences e.g. social economic status
• Cultural diversity differences

External factors
• Advance in information technology
• Changing roles in a society
• Conflicting interest from other stake holders
• Government policy
• Changing population trends
• Lack of political goodwill

1. Discuss the characteristics of a community?
2. Describe the process of organization?
3. Discuss the challenges of community organization?
4. Discuss the impacts of community activities?

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