The term community is a group of people, who live in a geographical area and have an interest in each other for the purpose of making a living.
“A community, while in it consisting of several parts, is also a part of a larger social system. It is a dynamic social unit which is subject to change of internal or external origin”.
The development connotes growth or maturation. It implies gradual and sequential phases of change. According to MacIver “Development” to signify an upward course in a process “that is, of increasing differentiation.
Analysing the term- Community Development
Community development is a continuous process of social action by which the people of a community:
- Define their common and group needs;
- Organize themselves formally and informally for democratic planning and action;
- Make group and individual plans to meet their needs and solve their problems;
- Execute their plans with maximum reliance upon their own resources;
- Supplement their resources from outside the community, when necessary with services and material.
According to Carl Tylor, “community development is a method by which people in villages are involved in helping to improve their own economic and social conditions and thereby they became effective working groups in the programme of their national development”. This carries the assumption that people became dynamic if they are permitted to make their own decisions end are helped to carry on the programme.
Community Development Programme
The community development programme was started in India, just after independence (1952). It was a multi project programme with the aim of an overall development of rural people. This programme consisted of agriculture, animal husbandry, irrigation, cooperation, public wealth, education, social education, communication, village industries etc. There are officials for each activity at district level to plan execute and evaluate the programme up to the village level.
Essential Elements of Community Development
The Successful Community Development program stresses the following basic elements:
- Activities undertaken must correspond to the basic needs of the community. The first projects should be initiated in response to the expressed needs of people.
- There should be concerted action and the establishment of multi-purpose program.
- Change in the attitudes of the people is as important as the material achievement through
Community Development during the initial stages of development.
- Community Development aims at increased and better participation of the people in community affairs, revitalization of existing forms of local government and transition towards effective local administration where it is not yet functioning.
- The identification, encouragement and training of local leadership should be a basic objective in any program.
- Greater reliance on the participation of women and youth in community projects invigorates development programs, establishes them on a wide bases and success long-range expansion.
- To be fully effective, community self-help projects require both internal and external assistance from the government.
- Implementation of a C.D.P. on a national scale require adoption of consistent policies, specific administrative arrangement, recruitment and training of personnel, mobilization of local and national resources and organization of research, experimentation and evaluation.
- The resources of the voluntary non-governmental organization should be fully utilized in community development programs at the local, national and international level.
- Economic and social progress at the local level necessitates parallel development on a wider national level.
Objectives of the community development program
In India, the objective behind the community development program is to develop the resources of the people numbering about 640 millions who form the rural population. The elements of development are:
- General: Farm, home, public service and village community.
- Specific: To bring improvement in the production of crops and animals, living conditions, health and education of the people.
- Elements which need change are: People-men, women and youth.
- Change agents: The change agents are:
- Voluntary local leaders-members of Panchayats, village and Block Advisory Committees etc.
- Professional community development workers- Village Level Workers, extension officers, block development officers etc.
Philosophy behind Community Development Program
The philosophies on which the Community Development Program should be based are as follows:
- ‘Work based on felt needs’: The programme should help the community to solve some of the problems which it fells are existent.
- Work based on assumption that people want to be free from poverty and pain: It is assumed that the members of the community want a standard of living that allows them to be free from pain caused due to lack of sufficient, food, lack of sanitary conditions, lack of clothing and shelter.
- It is assumed that people wish to have freedom in controlling their own lines and deciding the forms of economic, religious, educational and political institutions, under which they will live.
- People’s values given due consideration: It is presumed that cooperation, group-decision, self-initiative, social responsibility, leadership, trust worthiness and ability to work are included in the program.
- Self-Help: The people actually plan and work on the solution of their problems themselves of the problems of the community are entirely ameliorated through the efforts of some outside agency, then the development of such things as group decision making, self-initiative, self-reliance leadership etc. will not be forth coming and it cannot be said that the community is developing.
- People are the greatest resource: It is by getting the participation of the people in improvement activities that they become developed.
- The program involves a charge in attitudes, habits, ways of thinking, relationships among people in the level of knowledge and intellectual advancement of people, changes in their skill practices of agriculture, health etc