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Importance of Community-led Development Initiative in India

Community-led Development is a process of working together to create and achieve locally owned visions and goals. It is a planning & development approach which is based on a set of core principles that (at a minimum) set vision and priorities by the people who live in that geographic community, put local voices in the lead, build on local strengths (rather than focus on problems), collaborates across sectors, is intentional and adaptable, and works to achieve systemic change rather than short-term projects.

The Community-led Development Programme has been the biggest reconstruction scheme undertaken by the communities at large. It has been described as hope and happiness for two-thirds of India’s population.

Aims of Community-led Development initiative

The main aims of Community-led Development initiative are-

  • (a) Achieving substantial growth and considerable progress in the sphere of communication, rural health, and rural education
  • (b) Transforming the socio-economic life of rural India through a process of integral cultural change.

During the first phase, the areas selected are subjected to the method of providing services on the ordinary rural development pattern with lesser governmental expenditure. The blocks selected have been subject to more composite and intensive development schemes with the larger governmental expenditure in the intensive phase. However, in the post-intensive phase, it is presumed that the basis for self-perpetuation of the process initiated during earlier phases has been created and the need for special government expenses reduced. Slowly these areas are left in charge of the departments for the development.

Scope in Brief

Needless to say that the Community-led Development is a universal phenomenon practiced both in developed and developing countries. But the program assumes vital significance in developing countries because of their low level of development in various segments of social life. Owing to the wider applicability in multifaceted fields of operation, it is not practically feasible to evolve the theoretical framework of the scope of the Community-led Development initiative.

Scope in Brief Community-led Development

Agricultural and Allied Fields

The agricultural and farming are priority-based, which has received a lot more support from the community-led development initiative. The community together has built up and help in developing the core areas.

For example, the following activities have been monitored by the community are included:

  • Utilization of wastelands,
  • Repairing of old wells and roads and provision of major/minor irrigation facilities,
  • Adoption of qualitative high-yielding seeds, fertilizers, use of tractors, etc.,
  • Provision of credit facilities for the development of animal husbandry, soil conservation, poultry farming, fishery, etc.
  • Growth of vegetables & plants, etc.

Education

Education is also the most important factor that must be reached to every child and youth at large. The various communities help together in attaining the goals of education. Every child must receive an education, and sometimes government fails to reach out to each and everyone where the role of community-led development imitative that helps in getting to primary education, adult education, and social education to expand the mental horizon.

Employment

Unemployment is a factor that has impacted the lives of youth. The people want jobs and want to work, but they do not get the correct approach to get the proper employment. The communities’ help in solving the problem of unemployment. This community-led development initiative attempts for the setting up of small scale and cottage industries to generate more employment for the youths.

Health Services

To get adequate health facilities is a major issue in a country like India where there is not a proper facility for all the people at large. The communities help reach out to the people in emergency situations as they provide the facility of ambulance or any other emergency situation across 24*7.

The community-led development initiative has been providing the mobile services regarding health issues, permanent dispensaries, arrangements for the maternal care, medical aid during pregnancy, child care, etc.

Communication

In the global world, the communication has become easier and faster. However, in the world of urban digitalization, the rural part of India has been left behind and still needs support to join the digital world. The communities help in repairing old roads, arrangements for transportation, and other communication facilities.

Vocational Training

The youth comprises of one-third of the Indian population, which constitutes a major part of the country’s labour force. There are number of underprivileged youth in India who lack education and proper guidance is humungous. This is not because of lack of knowledge the reason is they don’t get the proper training. It is because they do not possess right skills and attitude.

It is crucial for the energy of the underprivileged youth to be channelized properly with proper direction and learning to aid in the economic growth and make them contribute to nation-building. Therefore community-led development initiative helps in vocational training in the field of tailoring, embroidery, carpentry, etc.

Social Welfare

Community Development, economic planning, and development play an indispensable role, and this role will be somewhat different in urban and rural areas, respectively. In both areas, budgetary provision for the services and facilities envisaged is necessary. Thus although in the development of new or rebuilt or expanded urban areas such problems as the journey to work, the provision of suitable and adequate opportunities of employment, facilities for the training of workers, etc., must not be overlooked, in such urban areas the Community Development process is more likely to be concentrated on welfare services and social institutions than in rural areas. Therefore community-led development initiative helps in social welfare activities include rehabilitation of old, disabled, and destitute, provision for better housing, organization of sports, promotion of cultural activities, etc.

What are the Objectives of Hindrise as a Community-led Development?

Some of the objectives are discussed briefly as below:

Increasing Local Leadership

Community-led development has the people in the driving seat. Our Hindrise Partners Training Program was designed with the sustainable pathway, which trains local people to lead projects with a goal of positive social change. Hindrise made itself accountable to the community-set vision and priorities.

The plan is for community leaders to rally other volunteer community members and stakeholders to identify local needs and assets, set goals, devise solutions and strategies for the various projects. We wanted our trainees in this program to be owners of their ideas and plans and hold leadership roles in project design and implementation. Our first project was tree-plantation and providing food to needy people, for we have Team made up of representatives who have been proven their ability by work.

Addressing the Root Causes of Issues

Community-led development focuses on addressing the root causes of problems rather than meeting the community’s immediate needs. Hindrise wanted to get to the bottom of the problem identified rather than a swipe at the symptoms, and so we can promote the use of learning and needs assessments (such as surveys, focus groups, stakeholder consultations) at the time of project design or before considering changes or adaptations.

While it presents a steeper learning curve for participants, the benefits are worth it. Working this way, development organizations can champion adaptable, evidence-based decision making based on feedback from the community. Hindrise benefited immensely from activating and mobilizing our volunteers to collaborate and share knowledge with community members to achieve systemic and sustainable social change.

Emphasizing People instead of Programs

Community-led development focuses on empowering people instead of expanding programs. When it comes to fundraising, it can be slightly more difficult to convey the goals and capture the hearts of the audience. It has appeared more impactful to some boards and donors to say how many staff one has added or how many supplies, cash, or food one has donated. Hindrise Foundation provides training services, partnering with, and provides fundraising and administrative support to individuals or organizations trying to achieve similar goals.

Raising Local Funds and In-kind Assets for Implementation

Community-led development calls for development aid or public resources to be handed to the community. Hindrise projects are sponsored through crowd funding by the community and local volunteers with fundraising support.

We prefer and encourage income-generating projects not just for enhanced livelihoods but also for the community resilience and sustainability. In assets include volunteers who are from the communities themselves or permanent residents rather than expatriates or our NGO staff who are just passing through. More grassroots youth are learning and imbibing a culture of social volunteering. Another kind of assets, which is a little bit more embedded, is the donation of land or labour for construction projects.

Listening to Local Voices and Feedback

Working with the curriculum developed by our affiliate in the United States this first year, Hindrise is giving training to hundreds of people in leadership, planning, and communication using resource materials developed through this same group of trainees’ efforts. Doing this helped them grasp the teachings more efficiently.

The feedback they have provided helps us refine the training material to be even more useful for the other community builders we work with in the future. Our efforts resulted in creating community builders being empowered with the skills they need to go out into their communities to positively impact.

Conclusion

The role of the Community Development initiative in the context of a community cannot be gainsaid. The program is instrumental in raising the standard of living and in reconstructing rural India. It has been observed that the program signifies active cooperation and involvement in formulating and executing its own plans and programs. The end result of social change, economic development, and the emergence of new local leadership at any level because of the community led development.