Community Development - Some Practical Approaches

Article excerpt

By recognizing that underprivileged communities have less rights and are forced to suffer loss of self-esteem makes tall the more difficult to protect them particularly at times of crisis. But once it can be determined that the local men and women have made a choice to improve themselves, the possibility of helping them salvage their lives becomes real. it is then that the need to hold meetings to mobilize and motivate them to exchange views on mohallah issues become essential as a pre-requisite for social change and development. It seems obvious then that community leaders should act as catalysts. What is most significant is that there should be simplicity of language and clarity of concerns and issues which should characterize their discussions. We must also remember that the ethics of caring and dialoguing is the cornerstone of people's relationship with one another and particularly more so in times of crisis.

Community Centres

Every regional programme encompassing a population of 20,000 to 30,000 should have a community center. Existing premises such as schools, mosques, and homes of community leader's could be used until the community is reasonably prepared to rent or construct its own collective premises. In the event of community readiness to construct a suitable center, representatives of all groups specially women should participate actively in the planning and its implementation stage.

Field Visits

Field visits to countries with analogous programmes are essential to arouse the spirit of learning and creativity. In this connection, visits, by community leaders and local organisers to observe and study projects in neighbouring communities and even in other neighbouring countries would prove to be very effective in disseminating accumulated first-hand knowledge experiences of their field projects. Pakistani workers and leaders, too, could learn at first-hand from the experiences gained in countries of the region and particularly the ASEAN countries. This could serve a dual purpose of broader improved technical understandings and also of improved relationships between the communities of the region as well as that of the ASEAN countries. Here to fore visus abroad has been confined to bureaucrats and senior level administrators of corporations or heads of big named agencies.

Health Services

Health services at the level of the community require close cooperation between the health workers, community development organisers, and the beneficiaries which should be constantly reviewed and monitored. Experience has shown that close cooperation can be achieved if health services are adequately integrated into the overall developmental programme of rural communities and of underdeveloped urban mohallahs. Accordingly services for the protection and promotion of the health of mothers and children, the prevention and control of communicable diseases, education for the conservation of health, improved sanitation and sewerage the treatment and rehabilitation of the infirm and the totally or partially disabled, all require to be urgently addressed and attended to. A Committee comprising health specialists, nurses, doctors and other health experts should be appointed by the provincial governments to work closely with the community development organisers toward a programme of community health education and health care.

Maternal and

Child Health

A Maternal and Child Health Centre (MCH) should be attached to each medical facility in the District along with domiciliary midwifery services.

Indigenous Health

Personnel

In addition to the training of health visitors, there is an urgent need for the training of dais or indigenous midwives, within the project area. Residential accommodation near the hospital or the MCH Centre should be made available for the resident health visitor and the dais or midwife. …