Yesterday I spoke about my interest in Anthropology and the successes I've had in using it throughout my life. But it has also set me up for successful community development. I have worked with a lot of grassroots organizations and individuals trying to use my background in Anthropology to build sustainable development in organizations by addressing certain issues as they arise.
Community Development is the capacity of people to work collectively in addressing their common interest. This is what it looks like building from the grassroots to political will.
1.Proactive People: Goal: People work together. Action:Creating clubs, groups, organizations that furthers their specific needs and goals. Such as afterschool groups, seniors groups, etc.
2.Leadership: Goal: Building leadership and skills development for community members. Action:Using human capital, community education. Such as group facilitation, project leadership, self-help groups.
3.Community Action: Goal:Being aware of a need and taking action. Community development and community organizing. Action: Communities taking action on the sustainable development goals such as climate or poverty.
4.Strenthening Community Connectedness: Goal: Creating connections between people, building connecctions and developing community identity. Action: Using social capital to create community and neighbourhood activities as well as participating in other community's and neighbourhood's activities.
5.Building Service Networks and Organizationa Infrastructure:Goal: Strong services network, via network building service systems (i.e. referrals), staff skill development, development of the network as a whole. Action: Develop interagency, multi-lateral partnerships; staff peer support projects; and, restructuring roles and responibilities across organizations.
This now becomes the community capacity building part of community development. Building community capacity is engaging community members in identifying challenges and building on the strengths that exist withing their community.
6.Community Building through Community Service Partnerships: Goal: Build community through partnerships: learning, gathering, idenfitying issues and community assets, dreaming to planning, action and outcomes. Action: Create partnerships, value participation, shared power driven by organizations and community equally
7. Economic Development: Goal: Economic capital, economic growth and justice driven by business and/or by people. Action: attend to poliltical needs or political community needs such as a new shopping development needed in the area, or a housing cooperative.
Community building works by building community in individual neighbourhoods -- neighbours learning to rely on each other, working together on concrete tasks that take advantage of new self-awareness of their collective and individual assets and in the process, creating human, family and socal capital that provides a new base for a more promising future and reconnection to the larger community.