Topic 1: Introduction to Community Development

Specific objectives
By end of this topic the trainee should be able to:

  • Explain the meaning of community.
  • Explain the meaning of community development.
  • Discuss the evolution of community development.

Meaning of community
A community refers to a group of people presiding in specific geographical location area sharing common culture, political system and resources.

Meaning of community development
Community development is a process that involves changing the living standards of a community from less desirable to a more desirable one.

Community development can also be defined as a joint rather than individual effort to empower peoples ways of life from a less desirable to a more desirable one using their own resources, skills and knowledge.

The overall result of community development is to ensure that communities become self reliant by using joint efforts, skills and available resources to change their situation to a better one.

It can also be defined as the coming together of people in a bid to change their living standards/transform /move the living standards from a less desirable to a more desirable one.

Community development has been perceived differently by different people as a form of betterment to community members. This is defined in the following ways:

  1. According to UN, it is a process by which the effort of the people themselves is united with those of the government to improve the economic social and political conditions of communities to enable them contribute fully to national progress.
    This definition emphasize is laid on participation of the people in their efforts to empower their standards of living with reliance on their own initiative, self help and mutual decision making.
  2. According to International co-operative Association I.C.A,Community development is a process of social action in which people of a community organize themselves for planning an action to define their common and individual needs with maximum reliance upon common resources and supplements from government and NGO`s.
  3. According to the Biddle and Biddle (1965) Community development is a social process in which human being become competent to life and gain some control of local aspect of frustrating and changing world .It is a government method of realizing personality growth which can occur when neighbors work together to save their growing concept of good for all.
  4.  According to Clifford in (1966) Community development concerns technical assistance at the village level that help people to work together for a better living. Its objective goal is to help people find methods of organizing self help and co-operative action on plans which they have developed to improve their own local circumstances.
    Further there have been different conceptions of Community development as a process, method, and programme and as a movement. It is a process ,because it seen as done in stages which permit movement from one stage which is less desirable to a more desirable egg shifting from a state of dependence of local people on outside resources such as relief food to that of reliance of their own resources.
    As a method Community development is seen as a means of accomplishing some end that is desirable by community members as well by the developing agencies.
    This conception holds that Community development is a means that permit a quicker attainment of developed goals that anything done by people themselves in a systematic way has lasting effects.
    As a programme, Community development is a set of activities whose implementation of properly done, facilitate the attainment of the objective e.g. construction of schools calls for a number of activities e.g. formation of committee obtaining materials and labour and actual construction. If these activities are poorly done then the objective of having a school won’t be realized.
    As a movement, Community development may be encouraged by a society and a community by aiming at progress i.e. community members can be empowered to perceive their role as that of improving their neighbor’s welfare for a good of all.

Evolution of Community Development
The origin community development can be traced in the USA, Britain and India as well as in British colonial territories.

Reasons for the emergence of community development
According to Dunhulm, Community development originated from the following events

i) Utopian ideology/ideal communities y Robert Owen
ii) Growth of local government
iii) Agricultural extension services
iv) Growth of social welfare programmers
v) Rural reconstruction of India

a) Utopian/Ideal Community
Robert Owen a British industrialist propounded /came up with the ideal communities on the basis of a religious principle. Principle that is perceived on an ideal community which community development needs to achieve as that that is characterized by industriousness, self reliance on its resources, skills and knowledge.
An ideal community should own goals in accordance with the set rules and moral development towards mankind.
It should have high standards of living which is equitable. In this context he saw Community development as a vehicle that can be used to achieve the ideal community. Community development scholars based their strategies on Owens ideas in a bid to achieve development.

b) Growth of Local Government
As societies developed, centralized administration was formed where rules and regulations were stipulated by a local government which provided social welfare service to the citizens. In U.S.A and Britain local governments provided social welfare services in order to do away with social problems such as overcrowding ,poor sanitation,illness,long working hours, poor working conditions which were caused by industrialization, changes in technology and rural migration.

In relation to community development, growth of local government through the provision of social welfare services aimed at improving the undesirable state of affairs in the Britain.

In USA local government sought reform in official housing codes, establishment of agencies for the care of dependent children, community policy and collection of data on population logistics, thus through effort of social welfare by local government to improve the poor living conditions of people, Community development started taking rots by employing the principles of social welfare so that it realizes self reliance sustainable developments.

c) Agricultural Work/Services
It emerged in USA in a bid to give out information to farmers on issues concerning agriculture. It comprises of instruction on technical aspects of agriculture, business management, farm management and the use of derived seed and fertilizers for better yields.

Through the extension work, the portion of community development evolved as farmers participated in planning and implementation of their farming activities. Leading improvement in agriculture production the extension. Work provided the growth for self reliance among farmers in rural areas leading to community development.

d) Rural Reconstruction Of India
After gaining independence from Britain pioneer leaders of India undertook rural development of Indian villages which were adopted by under-developed Mahatma Gandhi held that the evaluation of Indian villages had to come from the villages had to come from the villagers themselves through their self sponsored efforts. He noted that ignorance was the main problem of villagers and development would prevail if people were empowered

The reconstruction of rural India entailed empowerment. Of villagers to shun ignorance and adopt responsible lifestyle to achieve self reliance .it included improvement in agricultural infrastructure, health services, sanitation and drainage etc.

Training institutions were started to train village guides who had the task of assisting villagers to improve the conditions of their villages. All these efforts natured the spirit of mobilization of local resources, participation of local people in planning and implementation of their projects leading to self reliance and community development.

e). Growth of Social Welfare Programmes

Emergence of CD in British colonial territories in Africa
During the early years of colonization Britain entrusted supervision of most services to missionaries, while the government was pre-occupied with enforcement of law and order. After the railway roads school, hospitals were constructed and attention was directed to alleviation of the disease and illetaracy.The new approach was termed as mass education which later became community developed, mass education was aimed at enabling Africans to gain community education so as to better their living standards.

Mass education recommended the need for co-operation and self reliance among Africans in improving conditions of their communities, mass education was geared towards eliminating ignorance and illiteracy and influence innovative social existence.
All people at all levels of community were able to understand and appreciate the force which g\had and which continue to change their lives. Mass education that was geared to eliminate illiteracy was recommended for young and old to the community. The final development which influenced the emergence of community development was the experiment in mass education in social concretion agriculture and cooperation.

To initiate CD in its colonies Britain took several measurers:

  1. a new advisory committee on mass education (CD) was appointed by the secretary of state for the colonies in 1949.The committee was to oversee CD activates and solve problems of co-ordination between various departments in official agencies.
  2. Mass education clearing house was established in 1989 in the London university institute for tropical areas and headed by anthropologist Margaret mead. The clearing has provided a centre through which those interested with community development inform each other and acquire information on its principle and techniques.
  3. CD bulletin was established regularly by the clearing house that contained information on ongoing community development work in the department territories.
  4. Training of officers in CD technology was also undertaken through short courses in CD.
  5. Conferences on CD were concerned on early basis
    All their efforts provided information of foundation for CD and paved ways for its vast growth and popularity through 1950.Funds for implementation of CD activities came from the British government and from the government of territories.

Community Development Works In The Colonial Era In Kenya.
CD in Kenya as associated welfare work carried out by the society welfare organization established in the 1946 and headed by Mr. John Asquish as the commissioner of CD .The social work aim was to uplift the economy and social recreational activities. The service and facilities provided included illiteracy in English library and reading rooms and places of receation.These services were managed by CD assistants (CDA`s) with the help of the DO. Officers.

1. Explain the meaning of a community?
2. Explain the Social Welfare Programmes?
3. Discuss the evolution community development?

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