Dr. Naseer 6/25/2020 Kabul
The community development can be achieved through following a three-phase process in short:
Phase One: Entry
The first phase of the community development process is very critical and important. It is your entry point to the community and creating a good first impression is very important. This phase will allow you to get introduced, know about the community, identify the key stakeholders, and conduct a thorough environmental and other feasibility studies. This phase is also important for building trust through clear communication, clarifying your intentions to the community and its growth. The most important aspect will be to involve the community in your planning. The following works involve in this first phase of the community development initiatives:
- Introduction to the community, both introducing yourself, your intentions and knowing the community
- Identifying key stakeholders from the community i.e. community elders, resource persons, etc (good and bad guys)
- Carry out all the initial studies including but not limited to the following based on your needs
- Community Needs Assessments, problem tree analyses
- Assessing the potential community resources, skills, and manpower, etc which can be developed
- Community Vulnerability Analyses
- Feasibility studies
- Environmental/situation assessment
- Involve the community in your planning to create a sense of ownership
- Clearly describe your organization policies on transparency, anti-bias, etc
- Picture yourself as non-political etc
Things to avoid in this first phase:
- Avoid professional terms, use clear communication the community can understand
- Do not associate yourself with bad powerful people
- Understand the local culture, values, and traditions and strictly follow them and avoid any clash
This phase of the community development process can take from 3 months to one year or more. However, it will depend on the ability and pre-understanding of the target community, and other factors such as access to the community, security, cooperation from different stakeholders, etc.
Phase Two: Create some results
This phase all about piloting your projects based on your planning from the first phase. You will start small initiatives and projects in the community and gradually monitor the performance and results. This phase will help you a lot in creating a better understanding of the community and their interest and willingness to cooperate. Some of your initiatives might be very successful while others might not do as good as expected. So lessons learned from this phase is very critical and applying them in the planning will help a lot in aligning your initiative with the community needs. You will do the following in this stage of community development:
This phase of the community development will involve working inside the community as well as exploring external stakeholders and understanding their works and try to match them with your work in the community. This will help you to expand your initiatives and make them more robust in the third phase of community development.
- Planning and executing small projects/initiatives such as creating community working groups and many more.
- Focus on delivering capacity building and transfer of knowledge and skills in this phase
- Try to participate as much as possible and use tools such as Community Participatory Appraisal, Community Based Project Management, and Community Based Monitoring, etc.
- Focus on creating a sense of ownership
- Attract community sense of ownership through promoting volunteerism, implementing the project through the community, attracting community contributions and others
- Use a bottom-up approach to follow initiatives planning and execution
- Maintain transparency especially focus on downward accountability
- Manage grievances
- Focus on the quality of your project/initiative through effective monitoring
- Promote your successes and efforts in order to attract more stakeholders to support you
- Direct your efforts towards youths and women
This phase will give you plenty of data and resources to work with and explore external stakeholders for expansion, inclusiveness, and sustainability. The second phase is the lengthiest phase of community development it may take from one up to 3 or more years of hard work.
Things to avoid in this phase:
- Avoid bias
- Avoid wrongdoings and corruptions
- Avoid favoritism
Phase Three: Sustaining your outcomes
You will start observing the results of your phase two initiatives and now it is time to focus on the sustainability of these outcomes through expanding the scope of your approach. This phase will focus on the sustainability of your outcomes in the community either internally in the community or considering the external factors that can help. The sustainability of any outcome will require a diverse approach, consultation, and linking the dots. In this phase, you need to look to the big picture by connecting the community, its potential, and resources with the major development players, private sector, and national programs.
You will use the information gathered in the second phase of community development i.e. external stakeholders, market opportunities and linkages and other technical support required. This phase will also help you to define and apply your exit strategy.