Community Organization in Social Work

What is Community?

The word 'community' is derived from the Old French' comunete', which means the things held in common and, in more explicit terms, it is called fellowship or organised society. It also indicates a large group living nearby. The term 'Community' refers to an aggregation of individuals and families living together and sharing common values in a particular geographical area, sharing government and often having a common cultural and historical heritage. Intent, belief, preferences, resources, needs and risks are the conditions that affect the identity of the community and the degree of cohesiveness.

Community is a concept to describe a social organization that is considered fundamental to traditional to a society, which is often regarded as natural grouping based on ties of shared blood, language, history, territory and culture (Upadhya, 2006). Community refers to an informally organized social entity which is characterized by a sense of identity (White, 1982).

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9 Types of Community

Dr K. Arockia Raj (2016) mentioned the following community types of community in his article' Concept of Community Organization: Meaning, Definition, Types of Community and History of Community Organisations.' 

a) Community-based on Location: It can be classified into rural, urban and tribal communities, which range from the local neighbourhood, suburb, village, town or city, region, and the nation as a whole. It also includes a municipality, a local administrative area composed of a clearly defined territory and a community referring to a town or village. 

b) Community-based on Organisation: These communities are informally organised around family or network-based guilds and associations and associations to more formal incorporated associations, political decision making structures, economic enterprises or professional associations at a small, national or international scale. It can also be called an intentional community. 

c) Community based on occupation: Communities can be classified by their occupation, such as Agricultural Community, fishermen community, washermen community, etc. 

d) Community-based on caste: Community can be classified into many types based on caste, such as Chettiar community, Vannier Community, Nadar Community. These classifications are made based on birth.

e) Community based on Identity: It rages from the local clique, sub-culture, ethnic group, religious, multicultural, pluralistic civilisation, or the global community cultures of today, which may be included as communities of need or identity, such as differently-abled persons or frail aged people. It would have more defined and formalised guidelines for their group living. 

f) Community based on class: The living style, including the status, wealth, power and position, can be the indicators to classify communities as upper class, middle class and lower class. 

g) Community-Based on Ideology: Based on the faith and practices, the communities can be classified as Islamic community, Christian Community, Hindu Community, communist community, socialist community, etc. 

h) Community-based on composition/combination: Communities can be classified into Homogeneous communities and Heterogeneous communities. 

i) Community-based on developmental Index: Communities can be classified as developed or undeveloped communities, mostly done on the indexes created to assess the economic, health and education aspects of the people living in a geographical location. 

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What is Community Organisation?

Lindeman's book in the year 1921 was the first to appear in what became known in North America as Community Organization. He defined community organisation as "those phases of social organisation which constitute a conscious effort of a community to control its affairs democratically and secure the highest services from its specialists, organisations, agencies and institutions through recognised interrelations."

Murray G. Ross (1967) defines Community organisation as a "process by which a community identifies its needs or objectives, gives priority to them and develops the confidence and will to work at them, find resources (internal and external) to deal with them, and in doing so, extends and develops co-cooperative and collaborative attitudes and practices in the community".

In a more contemporary context, Murphy and Cunningham (2003) have defined community organising as "the systematic process for mobilising and advocating by using communal power". They opine that "Organising for Community Controlled Development (OCCD) combines community organisations' mobilisation and advocacy power with neighbourhood investment strategies to build a strengthened and revitalised community". They stress community organising as it relates to the small place communities. Further, they characterise `place-based community organising' as "a process in which local people, united by a concern for renewing their own small territory, plan and act together to form an organisational base that they control. It is a practice involving collective human effort centred on mobilisation, advocating, planning and negotiating resources". In this practice, `mobilisation' includes the building and maintaining an organisational base, `planning' includes fact gathering, assessment and strategic and tactical thinking and `negotiation' refers to persistent pressure and bargaining for sufficient resources to achieve goals.

C.F. Mcneil in 19544 defined it as “Community organisation for social welfare is the process by which the people of the community, as individual citizens or as representatives of groups, join together to determine social welfare needs, plan ways.

“Community” in the sense in which it is used here, refers to two major groupings of people. Firstly it may be all the people in a specific geographic area, i.e., a village, a town, a city, a neighbourhood, or a district in a city. In the same manner, it could refer also to all the people in a province or a state, a nation, or the world. Secondly, it is used to include groups of people who share some common interest or function, such as welfare, agriculture, education, and religion. In this context, community organisations may be involved in bringing these persons together to develop some awareness of, and feeling for their “community” and to work at common problems arising out of the interest or function they have in common.

Marie Weil has been instrumental in popularising the broader term 'community practice' instead of community organisation. Community practice includes "work to improve the quality of life and increase social justice through social and economic development, community organising, social planning and progressive social change". She visualised it as "a cooperative effort between practitioners and affected individuals, groups, organisations, communities and coalitions". It is also interesting to delve a little deeper into the four central processes of (a) Development, which focus on empowering citizens to work in united ways to change their lives and environments regarding their living conditions, economic conditions, and social, employment and opportunity structures; (b) Organising which includes the processes of community organising that engage citizens in projects to change social, economic and political conditions. It includes neighbourhood organising, development of local leadership and coalition development; (c) Planning, which relates to social planning engaged in by citizens, advocacy groups, public and voluntary sector planners to design programmes and services that are appropriate to given communities or regions. It also involves the design of more effective services and the reform of human service systems; and (d) Progressive change, encompassing the actions taken by groups to effect positive social, economic and political change. (Weil, 2004).

Scholars and practitioners like Rubin and Rubin,¸ in 2005, added another dimension to the definition of contemporary community organising. As well as other definitions based on the consensus models of community organising, their definition has sought theoretical grounding and support from scholars like Putnam. They have studied social networks and 'social capital. Putnam studied associational behaviour and proposed that "joining enabled people to build social capital, much like economic capital. People could rely on social relationships and use them as an exchange for support and assistance". (Putnam, 2000) Putnam's work was quickly adopted by those working with communities, and 'social capital' has subsequently been the core of community organising.

Notable Community Organizers  are * Jane Addams * Saul Alinsky * Daniel Berrigan * Dorothy Day * John W. Gardner * Samuel Gompers * Jesse Jackson * Mother Jones * Martin Luther King, Jr. * John L. Lewis * Ralph Nader * Barack Obama * Wade Rathke * Pat Robertson

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Guiding Purposes of Community Organisation

To engage with community groups, community workers must also be able to define specific purposes for such engagement. These purposes should be developed in conjunction with those with whom the practitioner works and provide the central motivation for practitioners and community members to move toward a common mutually supported goal. Weil and Gamble have provided a set of eight purposes that provide the basis for most community practice engagement. (Weil and Gamble 2004). These purposes are:

1. Improving the quality of life of the members of the community. 

2. Extending human rights by developing participatory structures and opportunities and deepening democracy for excluded citizens who feel powerless to influence policies that affect their lives. 

3. Advocacy for a community of interest, such as children; for specific issues such as political and social rights for women and marginalised populations.

4. Human social and economic development to assure social support, economic viability and sustainability by expanding participation and building grassroots leadership; building economic, social and political assets for the poor in impoverished urban and rural areas. 

5. Service and programme planning for a newly recognised or re-conceptualised need or to serve an emerging population. 

6. Service integration developing local to national and international means of coordinating human services for needy populations. 

7. Political and social action builds political power for the economically and socially marginalised, protects the weak and the poor, fosters institutional change for inclusion and equity, and increases participatory democracy and equality of access and opportunity in local, regional and international efforts. 

8. Social Justice to build toward human equality and opportunity across race, ethnicity, gender and nationality. 

In conclusion, the community worker who focuses on values and purpose and makes those explicit with community groups will have a greater capacity to develop mutually respectful relationships with the group members and work as a facilitator to find sufficient common ground for collaborative action.

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Objectives of Community Organization

Hussain and Alauddin (1970) mentioned the following four aims and objectives of community organisation. The primary aim of community organization is to bring about and maintain a progressively more effective adjustment between scarce resources and the multiple needs of the community. The aim of community organization suggests that it is concerned with: 

Identification of needs;
Planning for meeting these needs;
Pooling the resources; and
Channelizing these resources to solve the problems. (Hussain and Alauddin, 1970)

In addition to solving the above primary objectives, the following six secondary objectives have been suggested by Robert P. Lane in his article- The Nature and Characteristics of Community Organization - A Preliminary Enquiry

To secure and maintain an adequate factual basis for sound planning;
To initiate, develop and modify welfare programmes and services, in the interest of attaining a better adjustment between needs and resources;
To improve standards of social work and to increase the effectiveness of individual agencies;
To improve and facilitate interrelationships, and promote coordination between organizations, groups and individuals concerned with social welfare programmes and services;
To develop a better public understanding of welfare problems and needs, and social work objectives, programmes and methods; and
To develop pubic support of, and public participation in social welfare activities. 
 
According to Social Work Dictionary (1995): the objectives of Community Organization are included.

1. Identifying the problem areas;
2. Analyzing the causes of the problem;
3. Formulating a plan;
4. Developing a strategy;
5. Mobilizing necessary resources;
6. identifying & recruiting community leaders; and
7. Encouraging inter-relationship.

The Encyclopedia of Social Work mentioned the following Objectives of Community Organization, as such 

Improving the quality of life;
Advocacy Services (Counsel, Motivation, Guidance);
Human, Social & Economic Development;
Service & Programme Planning;
Service Integration;
Social & Political Action; and
Social Justice.

Principles of Community Organization

Principles of community organisation, in the sense in which the term is used here, are generalized guiding rules for sound practice. Principles are expressions of value judgments. The principles of community organisation, which are being discussed here, are within the frame of reference and in harmony with the spirit and purpose of social work in a democratic society. We are concerned with the dignity and worth, the freedom, the security, the participation, and the wholesome and abundant life of every individual. This implies the practice of following principles of democracy, such as betterment of the marginalized, transparency, honesty, sustainability, self-reliance, partnerships, cooperation, etc. In the literature on community organisation, we find various sets of principles. 

Dunham, in 1958 suggested a set of twenty-eight principles of community organisation broadly categorised under seven headings:

1. Democracy and social welfare.
2. Community roots for community programmes.
3. Citizen understanding, support, participation and
professional service.
4. Cooperation
5. Social welfare programmes.
6. Adequacy, distribution, and organisation of social welfare services, and
7. Prevention.

In identifying these principles, Dunham broadly conceptualised community work as a process of delivering social welfare services in a community. The community that formed the context for evolving his regulations set was a typical urban middle-class neighbourhood in western society. Thus, this community was vastly different from a specific Indian community in which a professional community worker is expected to work. As observed from the previous headings, Dunham visualises the ideal type of social service network and highlights the benefits of democracy, participation, cooperation, and adequacy of programmes to meet the community's needs. In essence, the principles formulated by Dunham were really a broad-based set of guidelines or ideal conditions rather than specific principles of community organisation.

8 Important Principles of Community Organization

H. Y. Siddiqui (1997) mentioned the following principles of community organization.
 
1. The Principle of Specific Objectives 
2. The Principle of Planning 
3. The Principle of Peoples Participation 
4. The Principle of the inter-group approach
5. The Principle of democratic functioning 
6. The Principle of flexible organisation 
7. The Principle of Optimum Utilization of Indigenous Resources
8. Principles of Cultural Orientation 

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10 Basic Principles of Community Organization

According to Hussain and Alauddin (1970), There are ten basic principles such as: 

1.     Communities, like individuals and groups, are different;
2.     Communities like individuals have a right to self-determination;
3.     Social need is the basis for the organisation
4.     Community welfare rather than agency interest is the first consideration in determining the programme;
5.     Community Organization structure should be flexible and straightforward;
6.     Services should be distributed equitably;
7.     Diversity in the programme should be practised;
8. Coordination of different social welfare agencies;
9.     Communication barriers should be broken down; and
10.   Help from professional people is needed.

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13 Guiding Principles of Community Organization

Murray, G Ross also developed an elaborate set of thirteen principles to guide community organisation. According to him, community organisation requires some kind of structure and social organisation. The task or problem is expected to be dealt with by some group, committee, council, commission, or another form of organisation, formal or informal. Since this association becomes the main channel through which the community organisation process moves, the principles that guide the development and work of this association become the relevant principles of community organisation. The thirteen principles identified by Ross were:

1) Discontent with existing conditions in the community must initiate and/or nourish the development of the association 

2) Discontent must be focused and channelled into organisation planning and action in respect to specific problems 

3) The discontent which initiates or sustains community organisation must be widely shared in the community 

4) The association must involve leaders (both formal and informal) identified with, and accepted by, significant subgroups in the community 

5) The association must have goals and methods of procedure of high acceptability 

6) The programme of the association should include some activities with emotional content 

7) The association should seek to until Sethe manifest and latent goodwill which exists in the community 

8) The association must develop active and effective lines of communication both within the association and between the association and the community 

9) The association should seek to support and strengthen the groups that it brings together in cooperative work 

10) The association should be flexible in its organisational procedures without disrupting its regular decision-making routines 

11) The association should develop a proper pace for its work and relate it to the existing conditions in the community 

12) The association should seek to develop influential leaders 

13) The association must develop strength, stability, and prestige in the community.

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8 Common Principles of Community Organization

In working with actual practice situations in India, Siddiqui (1997) also evolved a set of eight principles to guide community organisation practitioners. These are briefly described below:

1) The Principle of Specific Objectives

2) The Principle of Planning

3) The Principle of People's Participation

4) The Principle of the Inter-Group Approach

5) The Principle of Democratic Functioning

6) The Principle of Flexible Organisation

7) The Principle of Optimum Utilisation of Indigenous Resources

8) The Principle of Cultural Orientation

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3 Approaches to Community Organization

A. Murray. G. Ross (1955) preferred to use the term 'approach'. He identified three main approaches to a community organisation. These are:

General Target Approach

This approach focuses on the coordinated and orderly development of services in the community. This approach incorporates two sub-approaches viz. (a) the strengthening of the existing services and (b) initiating new services. The general objective is practical planning and organisation of a group of services in the community. 

The Specific Content Approach

This approach comes into operation when an individual organisation or the community itself becomes concerned with some specific issue of concern or some requisite reforms and consciously launches a programme to achieve the stipulated goal/s or objective/s. Thus, this approach involves the specific issue-oriented organisation of services. 

The Process Approach

This approach does not focus so much on the 'content' as on the initiation and sustenance of a 'process' in which all the community's people are involved, either directly or through their representatives. It consists of identifying problem/s and taking purposeful action concerning the same. The emphasis is more on building the capacity of the community for self-help initiatives and collaborative enterprise. Four factors are significant for this approach. These are (i) Self-determination of the community; (ii) Indigenous plans; (iii) People's willingness to change; and (iv) Community pace.

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4 Approaches to Community Organization

Robert Fisher (1984) presented a much broader perspective of approaches. He identified "three dominant approaches" to neighbourhood organising. These are as follows: 

§  The Social Work Approach.
§  Political Activists' Approach.
§  Community Development Approach

Hussain and Alauddin (1970) and Ghafoor and Manna (1968) added the 'Gandhian Approach of Community Work' as the fourth type of approach in community organisation.

Social Work Approach

In this approach, society is viewed as a social organism, and all efforts are oriented toward building a sense of community. The community organiser plays the role of an enabler, an advocate, a planner and a coordinator, who helps the community to identify a problem in the neighbourhood, attempts to procure the requisite resources by gathering the existing social services and by lobbying those in power to meet the needs of the neighbourhood. This approach is consensual and gradualist in nature. The goals were the Social Settlement Movement in the US and the War on Poverty Programme of the Johnson administration in the sixties.

The Political Activist Approach 

This approach is characterised by militant confrontation and heavy pressure on the power institutions of society. Power-sharing is an important goal. This method is based on advocacy, conflict and negotiation. It is used by mass-based organisations such as those initiated by Saul Alinsky, who is also considered the founder of this approach. The organiser is a mobiliser and leadership developer, and the problem condition is social and economic oppression arising out of powerlessness. The ultimate goal is the elimination of social, economic and political disparities (a direction with political emphasis). 

Neighbourhood Maintenance Approach

This approach arose from both previous approaches and is characterised by middle-class residents and their small business and institutional allies who seek to "defend" their community against change and perceived threats to property values. The "problem conditions may include the decline in municipal services, deterioration in neighbourhood sanitation, water supply, or increased crime. The organiser might be a volunteer community leader or a trained specialist in urban planning, community development etc. The method used may be peer group pressure or a civic association/ neighbourhood association. In the initial phase, peer group pressure may convince the officials to deliver services to the community. Still, later it could assume the form of the political activists' approach as they realise that goals can only be achieved through confrontation.

Gandhian Approach to Community Work 

Gandhi has not given a clear-cut definition of the term community. For him, the village is the basic community with its geographical limitation where several families come together and co-operate to build a common life. According to Gandhi, the basic elements of a community are mutual cooperation and common sharing. 

The Gandhian concept of community work emphasises the reconstruction of the community rather than organising an unorganised or disorganised community or the development of an entirely new community. Therefore the Gandhian objective of community work is to reconstruct the village communities spread all over the country. This construction is based on constructive programmes designed to meet the social welfare needs of the community. Through the construction of the village community, Gandhi aims to realise the goal of reconstructing the "Sarvodaya social order". Gandhi has not given any specific or fixed pattern for the reconstruction programme but left it to the capacity of those community organisers working to suit different conditions and social situations.

The role of the worker in this approach is very distinct. Here, the worker deals with those groups of people or communities who seek his guidance. Still, he would also approach those communities that do not ask for help because his prime work is to reconstruct society anywhere. In this approach, the worker takes the initiative and gradually stimulates the community. It demands regularity and sincerity of the worker in the reconstruction programme in his area of work.

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3 Models to Community Organization

In the year 1968, Jack Rothman introduced three models of community organisation. These were: 1) Locality Development 2) Social Planning 3) Social Action. These three models were revised and refined by him in 2001 (Rothman, 2001), taking into account the changes in practices and conditions in communities. Instead of referring to the three approaches as the 'Models', he preferred referring to them as the 'Core Modes of Community Intervention'. Moreover, these three approaches or modes are described as ideal-type constructs, which to a considerable extent do not exist in the pristine, full-blown form in the real world but are useful mental tools to describe and analyse reality.

According to Rothman, these three modes of intervention to purposive community change can be discerned internationally in contemporary American communities. Community intervention is the general term used to cover the various forms of community-level practice. It has been used instead of community organising, as it is an applicable overarching term. The three modes of intervention are:

Mode A: Locality Development 

This approach presupposes that community change should be pursued through broad participation by a wide spectrum of people at the local community level in determining goals and taking civic action. It is a community-building endeavour with a strong emphasis on mutuality, plurality, participation and autonomy. It fosters community building by promoting process goals: community competency (the ability to solve problems on a self-help basis) and social integration (harmonious inter-relationships among different ethnic and social class groups). The approach is humanistic and intensely people-oriented, aiming to "help people to help themselves". Leadership is drawn from within, and direction and control are in the hands of the local people. "Enabling" techniques are emphasised. Some examples of locality development include neighbourhood work programmes conducted by community-based agencies and village level work in community development programmes.

Mode B: Social Planning/Policy 

This approach emphasises a technical problem-solving process regarding substantive social problems, such as housing, education, health, women's development etc. This particular orientation to planning is data-driven and conceives of carefully calibrated change being rooted in social science thinking and empirical objectivity. The style is technocratic, and rationality is a dominant idea. Community participation is not a core ingredient and may vary from much to little depending on the problem and the circumstances. The approach presupposes that change in a complex modern environment requires expert planners who can gather and analyse quantitative data and manoeuvre large bureaucratic organisers to improve social conditions. There is heavy reliance on needs assessment, decision analysis, evaluation research, and sophisticated statistical tools. The concern here is with task goals: conceptualising, selecting, arranging and delivering goods and services to people who need them. In addition, fostering coordination among agencies, avoiding duplication and filling gaps in services are essential concerns. Planning and policy are grouped together because both involve assembling and analysing data for solving social problems. Two crucial contemporary constraints impacting this mode, according to Rothman, are: (1) Planning has become highly interactive and diverse interest groups rightfully go into the defining of goals and setting the community agenda. It involves value choices that go beyond the purview of the expert or bureaucrat; and (2) the Impact of reduced governmental spending on social programmes due to economic constraints, leading to lower reliance on the elaborate, data-driven planning approach.

Mode C: Social Action 

This approach presupposes the existence of an aggrieved or disadvantaged segment of the population that needs to be organised to make demands on the larger community for increased resources or equal treatment. This approach aims at making fundamental changes in the community, including the redistribution of power and resources and gaining access to decision making for marginal groups. Practitioners in the social action domain aim to empower and benefit the poor and the oppressed. The style is primarily one in which social justice is a dominant ideal (Karp, 1998).

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Community Organization as a Method of Social Work

According to Ross, community organisation derives from a unique frame of reference, which assumes a distinct form due to a particular value orientation that stems from traditional religious values which have been expanded to form the basis of social work philosophy; a specific conception of the problems confronting a modern man in the community and certain assumptions that influence the method (Ross, 1955). While we have covered the first component in the previous section, and we will cover the second component in another unit, let us look at the assumptions that influence the method of a community organisation which derive in part from the value orientation of, and in detail from experiences in social work. Some of these are as follows:

1. Communities of people can develop a capacity to deal with their own problems. This implies that the community people may confront situations where they feel disenchanted and hopeless. Still, they can nevertheless develop attitudes and skills which permit them to work towards shaping their community appropriately to meet their needs. 

2. People want change and can change. This implies that communities of people constantly change their ways of life and are interested in making their lives better. The will to change is often paralysed by challenging social forces, but if blocks to free-thinking and feeling are removed, all people will participate in changes that aim to meet their needs more adequately. 

3. People should participate in making, adjusting, or controlling the significant changes in their communities. This assumption implies that people should have the opportunity to organise to achieve their own common goals, plan the adjustments that must be made in response to specific changes beyond their control, and regulate their own communities as far as possible.

4. Changes in community living that are self-imposed or self-developed have a meaning and permanence that imposed changes do not have. In the community, people, as they strive towards achieving their goals, modify and develop capacities consistent with these goals. In the process, the culture adjusts to the changes that are taking place. Changes such as these are self-imposed and determined last longer than those externally imposed. In the latter situation, the community does not feel any sense of participation or conscious planning for adjustment to such changes. 

5. A 'holistic approach' can deal successfully with problems with which a 'fragmented approach' cannot cope. This implies that social issues can be dealt with by adopting more coordinated approaches rather than piecemeal initiatives by the separate social agencies working apart from each other. Most problems have multiple causations, and a single specialised approach to the problem will have limited value. 

6. Democracy requires cooperative participation and action in the affairs. In the community, people must learn the skills that make this possible. There must be active participants in developing and using an effective communication process, which facilitates the identification of shared objectives and implementation of collective action. People may require practice and the help of experts to establish and maintain democratic community institutions. 

7. Frequently, communities of people need help organising to deal with their needs. This help may be of diverse types, ranging from advice to resources/inputs, programme designing etc. While people may possess their own resources and capacities, they may often require professional help in mobilising them effectively. 

The assumptions mentioned above condition the nature of community organisation, the methods used by the community organiser in the field, and the principles applicable in the process.

Importance of Community organization

Community Organisation is a means and not an end: As discussed earlier the community organisation is a process by which the capacity to function as an integrated unit is being enhanced. In this sense, it is a method or a means to enable people to live a happy and fully developed life. It refers to a method of intervention whereby a community consisting of individuals, groups or organisations are helped to engage in planned collective action in order to deal with their needs and problems.

Community Organisation is to promote community solidarity and the practice of democracy: It should seek to overcome disruptive influences, which threaten the wellbeing of the community and the vitality of democratic institutions. In community organisation discrimination and segregation or exclusion should be avoided and integration and mutual acceptance should be promoted. 

The clear identification of the Community: Since the community is the client of the community organisation worker, it must be clearly identified. It is likely that there are several communities with which he/she deals at the same time. Further, it is important that once the community is identified the entire community must be the concern of the practitioner. No programme can be isolated from the social welfare needs and resources of the community as a whole. The welfare of the whole community is always more important than the interest or the well-being of anyone agency/group in the community.

Fact-finding and needs assessment:  Community organisation programmes should have their roots in the community. Proper fact-finding and assessment of the community needs are the prerequisite for starting any programme in the Community. It is generally desirable for local community services to be indigenous, grass-roots developments rather than imported from outside. Whenever possible, then, community organisation should have its origin in a need felt by the community or by a substantial number of persons in the community. There should be vital community participation, and essential community control, of its development. While facilitating the process of community organisation, the programmes should be initiated, developed, modified, and terminated on the basis of the needs of the community and on the basis of the availability of other comparable services. When a particular need for a service is met, the programme should be modified or terminated. 

Identification, mobilization and utilization of the available resources: The fullest possible use should be made of existing social welfare resources, before creating new resources or services. In the absence of resources/services, the worker has to mobilize the resources from various sources such as community, government, non-government agencies, etc. While utilizing the indigenous resources it must be recognised that these resources may sometimes need extensive overhauling before they will meet certain needs. Apart from mobilizing physical resources, indigenous human resources should be put to optimum use. 

Participatory planning: The community organisation worker must accept the need for participatory planning throughout the process of community organisation. It is important that the practitioner prepares a blueprint at the beginning of what he/she intends to do with the community. This is done with the community taking into consideration the needs of the community, available resources, agency objectives, etc. Planning in a community organisation is a continuous process as it follows the cycle of implementation and evaluation. The planning should be on the basis of ascertained facts, rather than an expression of guesswork, “hunches,” or mere trial and error methods. In order to foster greater participation, it is necessary to analyse the impeding factors and take timely steps to remove them. Instead of forcing people to participate in all the issues, they should be encouraged to participate at a level, and about issues, in accordance with their capacities. It must be noted that people will participate if they are convinced of the benefits of the programme. 

Active and vital participation: The concept of self-help is the core of community organisation. The community members’ participation throughout the process of community organisation should be encouraged from the standpoint both of democratic principle and of feasibility— that is, the direct involvement in the programme of those who have the primary stake in its results. “Self-help” by citizen or clientele groups should be encouraged and fostered.

Community right of self-determination should be respected: The Role of the community organisation worker is to provide professional skill, assistance, and creative leadership in enabling people’s groups and organisations to achieve social welfare objectives. The community members should make basic decisions regarding the programme and policy. While the community organisation worker plays a variety of roles in different situations, he is basically concerned with enabling people’s expression and leadership to achieve community organisation goals, and not try to have control, domination, or manipulation. 

Voluntary cooperation: Community organisation must be based upon mutual understanding, voluntary acceptance, and mutual agreement. Community organisation, if it is to be in harmony with democratic principles, cannot be through regimentation. It should not be imposed from above or outside but must be derived from inner freedom and will to unite all those who practice it.

The spirit of cooperation rather than competition, and the practice of coordination of effort: Community organisation practice should be based on the spirit of cooperation rather than competition. The community organisation practice has proved that the most effective advances are made through cooperative effort. It is by the coordinated and sustained programmes attacking major problems rather than through sporadic efforts by different groups. The emphasis on collaborative and cooperative attitudes and practices does not imply the elimination of differences, tension, or conflict. In fact, we have to recognize that these latter forces give life and vitality to a movement. It must be understood that such conflict can be disruptive and destructive, or it can be positive and creative. What is important for the community organisation worker is that he/she identifies such forces and appropriately modifies them to what is beneficial to the community as a whole. 

Recognition and involvement of indigenous leadership: Community organisation as it has been described requires the participation of the people belonging to the community. However, everyone in the community cannot be involved in face-to-face contact with all others in the community; therefore it is important to identify and recognize the leaders (both formal and informal) accepted by various groups and subgroups in the community. Inclusion of the respected and accepted leaders with whom the major subgroups identify provides a major step in integrating the community. This further makes possible initiation of a process of communication that, if it becomes effective, will nourish and sustain the process of community organisation. 

Limited use of authority or compulsion: Invoking the application of authority or compulsion may sometimes be necessary for community organisations. But it should be used as little as possible, for as short a time as possible and only as a last resort. When compulsion must be applied, it should be followed as soon as possible, by the resumption of the cooperative process. 

The dynamic and flexible nature of programmes and services: This principle is basic to sound community organisation. Social welfare agencies and programmes must be responsive to the changing conditions, problems, and needs of community life. Community is a dynamic phenomenon, which constantly changes and thus the needs and problems also keep changing. Therefore, it is necessary that the programmes and services are flexible enough.

Continuing participatory evaluation: As programmes are developed to meet community needs, some time must be set aside for evaluation of the process. Regular feedback from the community is important. Criteria must be set up for evaluation of the programmes, to see how effective the action has been and what has been accomplished. 


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