If the key to community development is the process communities go through to develop projects, what is that process? Basically, we say there are five stages of the community development process:
- The community becomes more aware and identifies problems
- The community analyzes and prioritizes the problems
- The community identifies and prioritizes solutions to their problems
- The community develops and implements their plan
- The community monitors, evaluates, celebrates and moves on to their next problem
I encourage you not to think of this as a simple step-by-step process. Rather, think of it as a circular process. One that is organic and growing. One in which a community starts by addressing one or two simple and achievable problems and then gains confidence and skills to move on to more and more complex issues hindering their development.
Think of it as an ongoing cycle. As the community addresses each problem and the process of solving that problem, they are constantly becoming more aware of other problems, so they identify appropriate solutions and implement their plans to solve those problems. They gain abilities and build capacity with each new problem solved. Not only do they begin to chip away at the issues curtailing their development, they gain momentum to address more and more complex issues facing them as a community.
What issues do you see that can be addressed using this community development process?