How to Develop and Implement a Community Development Plan

By Jeff Palmer, CEO on June 12, 2017 | Print

At this stage or phase, the community has identified several problems and settled on one or possibly two that they are going to try and solve. Community members have brainstormed and identified a number of solutions to the problem. They have analyzed the problem well and have chosen, through a culturally appropriate method, their course of action to solve their problem. Now it’s time to develop a plan that is workable, practical, and achievable.

More importantly, not only do they need to come up with a plan, they need a course of action to begin implementing and seeing it through to completion. Here are three ways to make a community development plan easier to implement:

1. Formation of a simple action plan.

This may seem obvious, but at this stage the community answers the following questions in relation to the things that need to be accomplished in order to solve its identified problem. Putting these all together, step by step, will form a basic action plan that will plot their course to achieving their goals.

  • What needs to be done? (action)
  • Who will do it? (actor)
  • When does it need to be completed? (time frame/deadline)
  • How will it be accomplished? (step-by-step actions)
  • With what resources will this be accomplished? (materials/goods needed)

2. Formal and Informal Agreements.

At this point, it probably is good to have agreements among the community members and those partners helping them to accomplish their plans. Here are a few examples:

  • A simple Memorandum of Understanding (if appropriate in the host culture) explains the particular roles and obligations of involved parties.
  • A community covenant, while not legally binding, reinforces the seriousness and necessity of each member of the community playing their part to accomplish their overall goal.
  • An agreement with an outside resource provider, whether it be a government or non-profit organization, outlines the various expectations of each.

3. Public posting and/or reading of the expectations and plan to accomplish their project.

We have found it to be helpful for the community to somehow make known their plans and intentions to the wider community. It can be in the form of a larger community-wide meeting where they go over their plans, including the process of how they arrived at their decision(s). It could be that they draw out a diagram of what they are planning on doing and post it in a community venue such as a government office, etc. This tends to place a degree of accountability back on the group (and a bit of pressure) to “work” their plans.

Maybe you have some other ideas or experience of helping a community develop and implement their plan of community betterment? We would love to hear you ideas as well as your comments regarding the contents of this post.