Community development

Project work

“In the final analysis, community development is another form of welfare”. Discuss this statement critically reflecting on competing arguments.

Term “community” brings to our minds a series of words like “Common, group, agreement, together and interdependence. All these point to the basic underline of community that is “common ownership or common interests'. It also symbolizes the agreement as to goals or some other aspect. Scientifically if we put it, is a group of inter dependent organism inhabiting the same region and interacting with each other. (word web dictionary) . Community implies both similarity and differences. Similarity here refers to the common aspect that all members of the society share with each other (reason of their being in the same community).Differences refer to the characteristics that are specific to their group and which differentiate them from other such communities. (Cohen 1985: 12).This brings to light the concept of boundary (something which separates the community from others). It can be of different types (physical, emotional, rational).Each community can define itself ,the points of marking its members out from the crowd of people. So definition of community is a exclusionary act. (Blakely and Snyder 1997)

Community is always related to “value generation”. It is like a powerhouse with trust, mutuality, unity and commitment forming its four strong pillars.Frazer 2000.76

Value generated at any time always aids or promotes wellbeing and lead to state of happiness , health and prosperity and with all these the final result is something that can be beautifully described in a word “ Welfare” .With this I completely agree with the topic that “ Community is just another form of welfare”.

In about 1950 and 1960 the community work and development received a separate identity. If we specifically look at UK perspective it was the Youngusband Report (1959) that was the turning point. It described the term “community development” as task aimed at assisting people within a local area in identification of their social needs methods of fulfilling those , their implementation and availability of resources that will permit it.

Community can be looked on in various forms like community place, where is more specifically locality with people sharing geographical elements .Other way is by interest here the people share a common characteristic other than place like religion, sexual orientation occupation or ethnic origin. Thirdly we can also approach this as a sense of attachment and encounter with God and creation. This is referred to as communion.

Anthoney p. Cohens (1982-1985) work around belong and attachment is very symbolic in this sense and it describes “Communities of meaning” This type of community generate sense of belonging of people (Crow and Allan 1994-96).

Community development is in itself a very complex process. The complete complex procedure of community development can be described best in the following steps.

1. Assessing the community.

2. Selecting the development goal

3. Planning a strategy to reach goal

4. Carrying out activities to achieve goal.

5. Evaluating progress and including the result of evaluation in subsequent activities Looking at this series we can easily comment that any community development is with a specific goal or ambition that has to be attained and is the sole purpose of community development. For fulfillment of the ultimate ambition various plans are made and then a set of activities are decided which complements the plans and then finally leads to the achievements of the goals.

Gulbenkian foundation in 1966 in UK holds a great contribution to the structure of community development. After the realization of the presence and characteristics of the community development in United Kingdom , various new aspects were undertaken . Out of all these, this report was one of the aspects.

It included

* Helping of local people in realization of their need and then subsequent planning and actions required in the presence of available constant resources.

* Also increasing the efficiency, usability and accessibility of the local service.

* Keeping a particular record of interaction between difference services.

* Also in forecasting the required characteristics required to properly adjust in the ever changing environment.

* The major result of this community was the realization of the fact that community development includes direct neighborhood , work class relationship between service and people , inter group co-ordination , proper planning and decision of final policy.

These can be various goals of community development. One of the basic is approaching the most recent problem at a national level or a macro level. One very good example of this is what happened in United Kingdom in 1960 wherein community development program was launched to answer the problem of solving poverty. The programme was funded by government and major intention was promoting self help and gathering information about the presently existed social policies and also defining means of creating more responsive local service. This was very successful. This also led to the realization that the some issues were better to resolve at national level than at the local level because they required a particular degree of zeal and enthusiasm. This realization brought a great deal of change in the policies adopted by workers working for the issues. This also formed the basic of policy adopted by the Government during the oil crises of 1974. It brought about a widespread cut in the public expenditure.

These are three basic aspects of community development. First one is distributive aspect it is where the complete community with its function helps its members in various ways like giving them the knowledge about various methods, that can be adopted by them to solve their issues, which might involve the resources either held by them personally or with the other member of the community. Second is the one that involves the development of the political responsibility and the last but not the least is of that of the communal coherence which involves the state of logical and orderly union of different parts.

Thomas (1983)

All the above mentioned three objectives involves something good and constructive leading to a state of new development be it a mentally, physically or emotionally and this symbolizes the birth of a new being and spread of happiness and thus the spread of welfare.

David Thomas in her work about community development has brought about 5 new approaches. These are.

1. Community action-

This focus on that part of organization that is affected by existing socio-political and economic processes or by work of public or private groups. This successfully clears out the critical perspective of the status quo and also showed the alternative state of power and action.

2. Community Development-

This is the one focusing the interaction and interdependence for facing the challenges in other way this promotes the collective action and fight and is in fact based on the bottom line “Unity is Strength”.

3. Social planning

is the part that focus on reorganizing the present problems and development of strategies, plans and services to solve.

4. Community organization-

This brings to light a new perspective of the issue that is coming together of different communities and joint ventures.

5. Service extension-

This basically deals with providing the staff and services which work and face the challenges, a physical presence in the community.

Any typical, core community work involves all of the above mentioned points and is a combined function of all the above issues.

Other way in which community development is used in the development of centrally planed initiatives like the community care though this involves high degree of harnessing still the basic purpose of the effort is the same that is the attainment of ultimate goal that is welfare.

One other perspective of community development is “capacity building”. Skinver (1997:1-2). defines capacity building as development work that strengthen the ability of community organizations and groups to build their structure systems people and skill so that they are better able to define and achieve their objectives and engage in consultation and planning manage community project and take part in partnerships and community enterprises” .The most important feature of capacity building is that is moves towards the greater cause and concerns with focusing on the economic development and planning. Along with this it is inscribed with technical orientation which is very different from the radical concern of all the members of the community. Moreover it also represents the principles of empowerment and equality. To put in points , some of the benefits of community development are (according to Putnam Marshal)


Trust and social network within the family, friends ,peers and society cause a great effect on the opportunities , thought process , attitude , belief and thus cause a change in the development and behavior.


The characteristics of these are very different and better from their counterparts in the general areas. They are safer, cleaner and healthier. Also points like poverty, crime rate these are lesser in the community than their counterparts.


Tolerance, Reciprocality and Trust are the three most important characteristics of any community and lot of research have proven that where these flourish even nations flourish economically.


Previous research has already proven that one's health improves due to presence in a group .According to a thumb rule, if u are not part of any group and then decide to join one , your chances of death decrease by half . Regular visits to clubs, visiting parties or just a regular visit to church is a source of happiness equivalent to due to doubling of salary (ibid.: 333). Civil connections are the most important predictors of life happiness. With all these we can clearly say that the ultimate motto that community development (whichever mode it is whether it focuses on macro level or micro level issues) has is the attainment and spread of welfare.

There are various examples supporting this view point. Like in England the emergence of “tenant management organizations” has lead to a state of happiness for the local people there and with these gave them new enhanced increased capacity to develop their own organizations. However, this achievement has not been easy and has seen many ups and down but however in the end tit was successful.

Other is the new “deal for communities programme “in England. This is actually focused to solve the issues pertaining with the neighboring states and emphasizes on the involvement of the local groups in the issue.

Third is the “sure state programme ” 1998 which aims at improving the health and the well being of children by enhancing the quality and availability of health care in the different parts of England. This also involved providing the adequate support to the parents. This programme also focused on active participation by the local group. It is like any other programs of the community developments because the real aim was to solve the problem from the root level and not just involve the middle class people. Though all these programmes took time and the government was in the mood of rapid implementation of childcare programme. So it also brought various children's central where in interdisplinary teams were developed and all this was termed as the children trust approach.

Other example is that a great number of churches use a community centre model for taking out there various activities.

So with this I would like to conclude the statement that in the final analysis is just another form of welfare. It defines a new frame of reference for all the policy makers , gives them a new approach to solve various issues and face different challenges along with this conception work is solely and ultimately concerned about the development of flourishing and happy society with a perfect state and wellbeing.


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