…calls for re-orientation
By Adeola Badru
A renowned international education expert, Dr Bisi Akin-Alabi, has expressed dissatisfaction over lack of commitment being shown my some well-individuals to the development of their community while calling for all hands to be on deck in making case for community development initiatives.
The education expert, who was the former Special Adviser on Education, Science and Technology in the immediate-past government of Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, bemoaned that many well-to-do people always neglect the development of their immediate community when the need arose, adding that community development seeks to empower individuals and groups of people with the skills they needed to effect change within their communities.
While delivering her speech at the weekend titled: “Community Self Help Initiatives: A call to action,” during a remark as the chairperson of a maiden community reunion day tagged: “Delesolu Descendants Re-Union Day,” she described community development as “a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems.”
Bisi Akin-Alabi noted that it is a broad concept, applied to the practices of civic leaders, activists, involved citizens, and professionals to improve various aspects of communities, typically aiming to build stronger and more resilient local communities.
“Community developers must understand both how to work with individuals and how to affect communities’ positions within the context of larger social institutions,” she added.
The educationist, however, highlighted numerous overlapping approaches to community development, which include community engagement, women self-help group, community capacity building, community-driven development initiatives and participatory planning.
“Community development helps to build community capacity in order to address issues and take advantage of opportunities, find common ground and balance competing interests. It doesn’t just happen – capacity building requires both a conscious and a conscientious effort to do something (or many things) to improve the community.
“The community development process takes charge of the conditions and factors that influence a community and changes the quality of life of its members.”
“Community development is about community building as such, where the process is as important as the results. One of the primary challenges of community development is to balance the need for long-term solutions with the day-to-day realities that require immediate decision-making and short-term action,” Dr. Bisi Akin-Alabi stressed.