Community Development Strategic Management Assignments : Master of Social Work Program

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Introduction

We need to deals with the concept of community development Strategic Management Assignments in concern to an Australian based charity and an international organisation called Care Australia. Community Development is basically a long term measure or a plan that helps in the identification of the strengths and opportunities that the organisation avails leading it contribute successfully to human development and welfare in the local communities (Aras and Crowther, 2009). The study deals with stating the community development project and stating the vision, aim and purpose of the same. The study further moves on to describe some of the key concepts related to the community development strategy adopted by the chosen organisation.

1. Outline of Community Development

1.1 Name of the activity/ project

The present study deals with one of the social causes that the chosen charitable organisation is fighting against. The activity is named as Women’s Empowerment: Improving Resilence, Income and Food Security (WE-RISE) focuses on the women of East Africa, especially in the rural areas of Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania (www.care.org.au, 2014).

1.2 Statement of Vision

The organisation seeks to create a community based on hope, tolerance and social justice across the globe with the eradication of poverty, strengthening of the dignity and security of people.

1.3 Aims and Purposes

The woman empowerment program aims to empower women and remove gender inequality in the rural areas of Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania in East Africa.

The organisation is focussed on achieving the same by strengthening their capacity for self help, providing them economic assistance as well as relief supports in emergency situations, effectively addressing and adopting measures to eradicate discrimination at all levels of the rural communities in the chosen areas.

1.3 Background and Context

In the chosen rural communities of East Africa, the majority of the women are farmers and 70% of the farmers in turn are women. However the cultural norms and beliefs prevalent since long prevent these women farmers to fully own and access the land they farm and do all the hard labour (Callway, 2012).

It has also been observed that often the lands they own are small and even infertile leading to poor marginal income and thereby low profits. Furthermore the gender inequalities in the chosen areas also hamper the growth and healthy life of the women. These areas are also affected by great vagaries of weather conditions giving rise to poverty, insecurity of food as well as changes in climate.

The program is undertaken is expected to improve the lifestyle and sustenance of the women as well as the families associated with them in order to help them, overcome the greatest adversities that obstructs their progress and welfare (Dobson, 2009).

1.4 Community Involvement

The program is expected to address 200,000 households and will assist them in improving their household income, access to food and power of resilience when faced by environmental shocks.

1.5 Organisational Context

The Australian based charity and international organisation Care Australia provide humanitarian aid and is involved in several community development programs across the world to eradicate poverty and empower women as well as girls and create a lasting change in the communities. It depends majorly on the support of the Australian public for their work and has a total staff count of 1020 employees (www.care.org.au, 2014).

1.6 Beliefs, Political and Theoretical Orientations

Past and ongoing research studies have indicated that empowerment of women and education of them plays a vital role in contributing to the reduction of poverty and age old superstitions that affect the progress and growth of a nation. Dentchev (2009) has opined that women are like the agents that foster change and bring about a significant reduction in poverty.

It has been noticed that the womenfolk are capable of taking wise decisions regarding financial and sustainable strategies that affect all the members of a household. Goksoy and Ozsoy (2010) further supports the view and states that the investment in the health, education and financial wellbeing of women is significant and critical in steering an overall improvement in the poverty and food security crisis faced by the chosen nations.

1.7 Operational Objectives

  • To provide support to tackle the issues of food insecurity, poverty and climate change in Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania
  • To empower women by providing adequate training and economic support and eradicate gender inequality
  • To improve the lifestyle of the vulnerable people and help them in overcoming the social as well as climatic hurdles.

1.8 Key Strategies, tasks and activities

Key Strategies/ tasks and activities

 

Country and region Issue

 

Care Australia is working and collaborating   with local NGOs like SOS Sahel to carry out the program Sidama Zone In Ethiopia Food insecurity in majority of the households
The Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) is used by the WE-RISE program of Care Australia as a tool to assist the women in receiving the knowledge, services and goods they require to help them in their trade.

 

Central Malawi Extreme Climatic conditions and HIV/AIDS
Care Australia Has Entered Into Partnership With Local Organisations Like Aga Khan Development Network and many others/ Lindi And Mtwara Regions Of Tanzania Gender inequality and gender based violence

Table 1: Key Strategies, tasks and activities

(Source: www.care.org.au, 2014)

1.9 Sources of information

The Government of the respected nations and the local NGOs in the areas along with Care’s own base in the nations have acted as the sources of information to carry out the community development program.

  1. Exploration of key concepts related to Community Development

2.1 Empowerment:

Empowerment plays a major role in the development of communities. It is necessary to provide the weaker sections in the community with a scope for progress and development (Tamale, 2009).  It is crucial as it helps in bringing about a sustainable and positive change in the society. By bringing about a change in the community as a whole and empowering people in the community to lead a good life is a vital task on the part of a charitable organisation that requires sincere, consistent and dedicated efforts in that direction. Dobson (2009)  states that the word empowerment denote change that leads to the enhancement of people’s lives and their ability to take decisions that affect and influence themselves and their communities as a whole. The process of empowerment entails a transition from a powerless state to a state where the members of the community enjoy a state of more control and power in making decisions in their lives involving the fate of themselves and their communities (Cool and Schendel, 2010).

The chosen NGO is focussed on working to promote the empowerment of women and the backward communities in the chosen nations of East Africa to eradicate poverty, gender inequality and food insecurity. The NGO is making dedicated efforts to empower the rural, poor and backward households and improve their style of working. The provision of training in the crucial areas of agriculture, micro-finance and women’s advocacy in the empowerment program is expected to help the affected people who are trapped by the vicious cycle of poverty and have become vulnerable alot (www.care.org.au, 2014).

The empowerment of women is very much essential a process to eradicate the gender differences, poverty and food insecurity that affects these nations to such a high extent. It has been noticed that women tend to make wiser decisions in matters related to better management of the household like finance, food procurement and poverty (www.useful-community-development.org, 2014).

Empowerment through appropriate training, education will help the communities to realise growth and sustainable development and influence the lifestyle of their members. The basic condition of people in the chosen rural countries of East Africa is affected by the evil of ignorance, illiteracy, and poverty and malnutrition.

Care Australia has made sincere efforts to empower the rural communities of the chosen nations through their integrated network and has collaborated with various local organisations in those areas to help the people lead a healthy life. These regions are affected by huge vagaries of weather and extreme climatic conditions leading to poorer agricultural yields and an increase in poverty (www.care.org.au, 2014).

Furthermore the people of these areas are into farming and the majority of the women are farmers, however due to gender differences and gender based violence womenfolk are not allowed to fully own their lands and in most of the cases, they are handed with less fertile plots of lands. Often gender based violence has been the root of many accidents.  Empowerment in these areas is thus absolutely necessary to illuminate the darkness that has engulfed the nations and the rural communities especially. Education is very much crucial to make them understand the problems and evils that hamper their further progress (Henkin, 2009).

Training as a means of empowerment to make them more efficient in their profession and provide them with the required expertise also plays a major role. The knowledge they gain through the education and training helps them to take better decisions in their life and profession and thereby change the fate and condition of their communities and nations.

Hoskisson (2009) is of the view that economic support is also important to assist the poorer nations and backward communities in achieving growth and lead them to the path of progress. Often the poorer nations do not have the required funding to take initiatives towards achieving the required level of development. In support the above view Langwith (2009) opines that economic support from the NGOs comes as a great source of relief and empowerment to such backward communities. The chosen charitable organisation provides these nations with the required financial and economic help to assist them in improving their lifestyle and enabling them to emerge stronger in situations of adversity like adverse weather conditions and food insecurity.

2.2 Human Rights:

Human Rights and Sustainability are virtually unavoidable while working for community development in an area or across the globe. The charitable, social work includes the interaction of people with their immediate environment. Any form of social venture thus should always focus on including the areas of environmental justice and must foster ion the creation of a safe, clean and healthy social environment with the proper fulfilling of the basic human rights (Ohmer and DeMasi, 2009). The most vulnerable and oppressed people often live in the most degraded environment and have no such economic or other useful resource to change the situation.

Human rights focus on giving and imparting all individuals in a group, community or a nation the equal right to live in and enjoy a healthy life avoid of any form of discrimination. They form the set of moral principles or set of specific norms that state certain aspects of human behaviour and lays down standards for each of them. All the norms are protected on a regular basis by the national as well as the international law (Phillips and Pittman, 2009). Any charitable organisation doing social work needs to abide by these norms and also include them in its functioning. All individuals regardless of their nationality, caste, creed, sect, sex, language, religion or any other barrier is entitled to these rights just because they have been born as human beings. Freeman (2010) is of the opinion that Human Rights are universal and inherent in all human beings. Violation of the human rights protected by national and international laws is a punishable offence and is regarded as a crime.

The chosen organisation has implemented these fundamental laws in all its programs that it carries out across the globe as a determinant of the growth and social progress of the nations. In the chosen nations of East Africa, where there permeate huge differences of gender and violence related to that. Care Australia works tirelessly to eradicate these gender differences that are prohibited by the law and lead to the violation of the human rights. The basic rights and status that are to be enjoyed by all individuals regardless of their sex are implemented through its education and training programs in the chosen countries. Women empowerment and education leads to the eradication of these social evils and prejudices and also result in imparting an equal status to the women (Henkin, 2009).

Conclusion:

Community Development is a much crucial process as it leads to the empowerment of the communities and individuals and foster the knowledge required for the progress of the backward nations. It is useful in the creation of a positive force that drives out the darkness of evils like illiteracy, ignorance and poverty and leads to the building of a stronger community that can effectively make their own decisions that will eventually impact the fate of their members.