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Community Development: Where Active Support And Self-Help Converge

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Nestlé Nigeria commissions multiple community development projects – Global  Patriot Newspapers

After the second world war, the British officers were concerned with a new trend at that moment: community development. To develop the colonies under the British empire, the administration began to popularize the new concept. Their emphases centered on agriculture, literacy, and health service, using the means of local self-help. This trend was also noticed in the British expansion into America well before the slave trade started. The British colonizers were more interested in the poor rural development in North America. Community development has always remained a vital part of human development. 

According to the United Nations, community development is seen as “a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to a common problem. Community development is a process that makes communities more organized and well-to-do.

The main drive behind community development is to enrich individuals or the whole community enough to effect positive change within the community. Also, it is geared towards improving aspects of concern in a community. For such to take place, all hands must be on deck; from the community leaders to the citizens, down to professionals that may be included. This is in line with the popular African proverb, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  

Within community development, there is participative democracy, freedom of association, and empowerment of people within their community. Community development makes a community stronger and more resilient. It makes people gather and take collective action to solve issues and develop their society. 

There are several approaches to community development. First, there must be community engagement, which entails gathering opinions. A community must inhibit community capacity building, which will help fulfill its objectives. The efforts of women in community development cannot be underemphasized; they constitute a major part of society. 

Economic development is a major approach in community development as it determines the well-being of a community. For the times those in authority do not address an issue, there will be non-violent direct action taken by the people. Faith-based development within a community guarantees equal representation of the inhabitants’ religion, major or minor. 

Care for the environment is to be considered too. Not only that it guarantees human health and agricultural stability, it also protects a community’s natural environment for what it truly is. Air quality, noise control, light pollution, soil deterioration, and general climate condition; community development addresses them all. 

In community development, infrastructural factors like transportation, security, services, and facilities are compulsory for the proper functioning of a community. In direct ways, these factors influence the progress of a community and their absence can cause a decline in the proper functioning of a community. 

For example, a city with a large number of residents facing debt launches a campaign to increase financial skills and assist community members in getting out of debt. Also, the electrical transformer of a small community collapses for the tenth time, leading to advocacy for a new one. The citizens, in collaboration with some corporate bodies, gather money and gets a new one. The new development brings local investors and businesses to the community. 

To an extent, these examples show the transformation that comes with developing a community. The citizens enjoy the benefits of improved electricity. In addition to that, the community is exposed to potential business minds, ready to invest in the community. All in all, it’s a win-win for indigenes and foreigners. 

Whenever community development is mentioned, it is often seen as a facelift for poor underdeveloped neighborhoods in need of renovation. But whether rural or urban, it comes as a general improvement for the benefit of all. 

In developing a community, projects must be drawn for collective consideration and approval, as they serve as guidelines for execution. First, cultural development must be considered as tradition must be preserved. Neighborhood stabilization projects have their purpose: to refix homes, drainage systems, etc. As for those who pass through domestic violence or any form of trauma, facilities and legal help should be made available under the domestic violence community project. 

It is common to see assumptions that community development involves only the citizens. As local communities engage in self-help, there is also sponsorship and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) support from corporate bodies, foundations, and some non-governmental organizations. In this light, Nestlé Nigeria has proven itself to hold social responsibility in the highest regard. 

In 2021, Nestlé Nigeria commissioned multiple community development projects in Manderigi and Abaji local government in FCT, Abuja. The project comprised of classroom blocks, sanitation, and water facilities. The 3 classroom blocks at Abaji South Primary school came as a relief to over 150 children in need of one. Abaji West Primary School wasn’t left out as Nestlé made provision for water facilities, serving over 1,200 persons. This included the West Primary School and Manderigi provide over 1,200 individuals including instructors, learners, and their families, granting them access to pure water. 

To Nestle, access to clean water and quality education comes as two of man’s most basic needs for ensuring social and economic development. believe that access to clean, safe water and quality education are two of the basic human needs for ensuring social and economic development. As noble as the actions were, they align to SDG 4 (ensuring quality education and provision of lifelong opportunities for all) and SDG 7 (provision and maintenance of pure water and sanitation for all). 

It is of benefit to a community when it acknowledges its challenges and works towards providing solutions. Community development involves several forms of community capital: physical, human, social, financial, environmental, political, and cultural.” Still, community development is a major area of social work. In good and challenging times, the discipline encourages leaders and citizens to contribute their quota to the development of their communities. 

It is an open secret that communities across the world today are faced with issues, issues about the environment and socio-economy. The rich get richer, underdeveloped communities remain stagnant without intervention. For newcomers and immigrants, getting jobs and finding their feet is hindered by systemic barriers. Remote communities battle with the scarcity of clean water, as sturdy shelter and efficient healthcare, is rare. Paying bills, buying foodstuffs, and maintaining the overall stability of a home is hard for a low-income family. More and more communities are experiencing floods daily as a result of excessive rainfall. 

Concerning all these challenges, community development gives hope for a way out. A community will have to work collectively to face environmental, socio-economic, systemic, and environmental restrictions. Community development is achieved when members align together to address issues preventing individual and collective progress. 

Communities can be seen as the building blocks of a country. It is so because as every individual in his/her capacity contributed to community development, such efforts extend to the nation by extension. From a strong community, the government can learn a thing or two. A strong community equates to a strong nation.

The world has become a global village and we are the members within. Through community programs, people become united, irrespective of age, gender, or social status. Community development unifies people by allowing them to work together. Around the world, communities have different needs and goals that can only be attained by coming together.

The development of each community is important to its occupants, the community, and the nation at large. Community development boosts growth and develops structures that will provide a befitting standard of living for the people in that community. 

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