Aims and Objectives of Community Development

by Amel
(Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan)

What are the basic aims and objectives of community development?

Editors' Reply:

Amel, we're glad you asked this question and another one about the approaches to community development.

We already wrote about the purpose of community development, which you may find useful.

But this is another one of the site editors doing the primary writing, and it's a different day, so the answer could be a little different.

You see, community development is both an extremely broad topic, as we see it, and also a very local topic.

Our definition of community development include any geographic community betterment project.

Of course some projects and activities have more impact than others, and some are permanent whereas others are aimed primarily at publicity and may be very temporary.

Noting that you are writing from Karachi and for the benefit of our readers in the 96 nations so far this month who are not from our own country, we say firmly that you will have to determine the aims of community development in Pakistan yourself.

Most of our site reflects our own experience, which is that community development needs certain basic pre-conditions to flourish. Some of these things the U.S. provides in abundance, and others are in jeopardy now or have been in the past.

So you can only have our kind of community development, of the type we can give advice about, when you have these things:

1) A somewhat predictable government where there is an orderly transition process. If you have a dictator, you might be able to figure out and benefit from the system, but all your gains quickly would be erased if there is a revolution.

2) A reliable banking system where people can accumulate their own savings, where there is some mechanism in place to protect against hyperinflation or rapid deflation of the currency, and where loans can be made to people who will put them to good use for the benefit of society as well as themselves.

Yes, I suppose this answer means that we think some degree of capitalism, which brings an incentive for the individual to work hard, is necessary to community development.

3) A system of law and order, which defines crimes and punishments, and that limits the powers of the government.

4) A relatively effective police system that enforces the law and doesn't exceed the law because some political leader says so.

5) A defined system of property and land ownership. We didn't say that you have to value private property rights to the extent that we do in the U.S., or even that you have to have private property at all. However, it needs to be clear who has what rights to what land. Otherwise, there won't be an incentive to develop or preserve that land to its fullest potential or best societal gain.

If you, Amel, as well as our other readers, are in such a situation, you are in a position to think about the aims and objectives of community development. Otherwise, our advice would be to work on establishing those pre-conditions, although we certainly respect other traditions. We just can't help you with them.

The aims of community development are simple in concept. You want to improve fairness, freedom without interference with the freedom of others, and the ability of people to meet their basic human needs.

You want to remove any impediments to these goals that exist at the very local, neighborhood level. The impediments or obstacles could be physical things, such as a toxic dump or harmful flooding every year. They might be economic, or they might be social.

Social obstacles to community development would be attitudes that create and sustain better conditions for some social class, race, ethnic group, religion, and such.

Within these very broad guidelines, we suggest that you use the Search box at the upper right corner of almost every page of this website to find topics that are important to community development in Pakistan or Karachi or your particular neighborhood.

Then we think you should talk with other people and try to figure out together what your aims and objectives should be.

Make your goals lofty and somewhat hard to reach, but not such impossible dreams that you won't be able to find any help. Community development is hard work, and very few objectives of community development can be met without cooperation of many people and groups.

Lastly, you probably would find our page about international community development helpful.

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