Steps for Initiating Community Development

Steps for Initiating Community Development

Each community has its own special characteristics which makes it different from another community. The differences may take the form of availability and utilisation of resources, culture, attitude, behaviour and social development needs. The following are the major steps for initiating community development.

Step 1: Goal setting : Goal setting is the first step in the initiation of community developmental activities. It comes before planning and implementation. During goal setting, the CDW should consider the socio, economic, cultural and demographic aspects of the community. In addition, they should also look at availability of resources like, manpower, planners and implementers. The goal should be “simple” in nature.

Step 2: Understanding the people in the community : Before planning and implementing a community development programme, it is important to learn about the people in the community. You can do this by finding out the following information:
ü  Their needs,
ü  Educational levels and requirements,
ü   Cultural and religious compositions,
ü  The problem and issues they face,
ü  Their history,
ü  Political setup and political leaders
ü  Attitude of the society,
ü   Issues relating to health,
ü  Quality of life,
ü  Socio-economic situation,
ü  Employment opportunities,
ü  Availability of co-operative sectors,
ü  Self help groups.
Step 3: Identify the opportunities, problems and issues on community development : The information you gather about the community will also help you identify the opportunities, problems and issues related to community development. It is important to list them out before you plan and implement developmental activities.

Step 4: Prioritize issues and problems : Once you prepare a list of issues and problems in the community, the next step is to identify the ones that need to be tackled first. This should be done in consultation with the community. The issues that demand urgent attention should be addressed first. Thus, prioritizing the needs and problems of the community according to their necessity and urgency is an important step in community development.

Step 5: Resource mapping : Once you have identified and prioritized the needs and issues, the next step is resource mapping. What is resource mapping? It is the identification of all the available resources, such as, manpower, material and finance, required for particular development plans. It is very important to analyse the quality and quantity of each resource and how it can be used to address community development needs.

Step 6: Plan and prepare the activity : Once the goals have been set, the needs identified and resources mapped, the CDWs should plan and prepare activities for the achievement of the goals. They can do this with the help of social workers, decision makers, policy makers, implementers and organizers, who are supposed to play an active role in the planning and preparation of community development activities.

Step 7: Prepare the Design for implementation : This process will help the planners and implementers to understand the theory and practicability in implementing the activities/programmes. Special focus is to be given to the strategies of implementation while preparing the design. Environment creation, ensuring resource support and people support will become the part and parcel of the design.

Step 8: Prepare Time and cost estimates : Time and cost estimates are two important aspects that you should consider when planning and implementing community development activities. A reasonable timeframe should be given for each sub-activity and main activity. The cost estimate should be prepared carefully and you can seek help from people who have the expertise and experience. By utilizing community support and other resources, the cost of implementation can be reduced to the maximum.

Step 9: Implementation of community development activities and programmes : After planning, preparing activities, designing and preparing your workplan and budget, the next step is implementation. The aim of this step is to tackle the priority problems and issues that you had identified. This requires effective coordination and preparation of the important activities in implementation. The process of implementation should be systematic, scientific and time bound.

Step 10: Documentation of the activity : Documentation simply means creating a record of all the processes involved in the programme, from the beginning to the end. You should remember to document the successes and challenges of the programme as clearly as possible. This will be circulated to community people and experts for collecting feedback and opinion. It will help you get the support of the people and to develop a positive attitude among community members.

Step 11: Monitoring : Monitoring is another important step in community development. During monitoring, you continuously track the progress of the activities you are implementing in order to ensure that they are going as planned. Monitoring enables you to analyse the challenges and successes of the activities you are implementing, so that you can take corrective measures in good time. Monitoring involves the following tasks:
         Recording what is happening as well as what is not happening
         Checking or observing the activities
         Collecting facts and figures on activities and results
         Assessing whether implementation is going in the right direction or is achieving the desired results.

Step 12: Evaluation : Evaluation allows you to make a judgement about a project’s achievements. It measures how well the program’s activities have met the aims, goals and objectives of the project. Proper evaluation demands:
o    Accuracy and attention,
o    External – outside agency, the external evaluation is nothing but the evaluation carried out by someone who is not directly involved in the process implementation
o    Internal– implementing agency, the evaluation carried out by some from the actual project team.

Step 13: Recycle the planning and implementation processes : The feedback you receive from monitoring and evaluation is very important. During this step, you use data from monitoring to address those activities that need adjustment in order to achieve the intended outcomes. Similarly, you use data from evaluation to help you improve the design, planning and implementation of subsequent programmes.

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