Research Paper By Pauline Mkala
(NGO coach, KENYA)
This article is looking at how community development has continued to progress from a place where models of development treated the intended beneficiary as passive observes to newer empowerment approaches that are characterized by focus on the strengths of the individuals, groups, or communities, and promoting their capacity for growth and development. This change was necessitated by rate of project failure in the previous phase. The article then looks at how coaching principles can be applied in community development to strengthen unleashing the potential of individual and community groups to ensure the achievement of desired goals.
What is Community Development?
The United Nations construed the term development in the late 19th century, towards the end World War II. There has never been a consensus on the word “development”. According to Sachs cited in Regan and Ruth (2002), “The lighthouse of development was erected right after the Second World War … [it] provided the fundamental frame of reference for that mixture of generosity, bribery and oppression which has characterized the policies toward the South … Today the lighthouse shows cracks and is starting to crumble”. Generally the term development brings to mind expressions such as change, growth, progress. The intention is to bring about prosperity and happiness and eradicate poverty for all in the global south (also referred to as third world countries) where levels of poverty are high.
According to the business dictionary, development is the process of economic and social transformation that is based on complex cultural and environmental factors and their interactions, while according to Wikipedia, it’s a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems. These later definition is narrows down accurately to clarify the process of communities working together to address the root causes of their problems that include poverty. Community members need to be rallied to work towards achieving the envisioned prosperity in the process of development as collective action can improve poor people’s access to quality schools or health clinics. The problems that development intends to tackle in this context under discussion focuses on basic needs such as access to education, health, shelter, water, security, food and so on.