Community development is one of the most fundamental pieces in building a nation. Fostering a holistic approach to nation-building involves mainly improving local governance.
Timor-Leste’s President Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão believes in the importance of maintaining serenity in power relations in local communities. He says that for everyone to institute collective responsibility for each other, the change must start in our communities.
Community development is mainly people convening and taking action regarding social issues. It is the most basic convention of human interaction. Without community development, there would not be any country and perhaps no peace. It took the world millennium to achieve what we now consider the pinnacle of humanity’s achievement. Through the peace and community we have now, we can go forth and venture to greater things.
But we are still far from achieving complete and total development as a community. We need to start at the bottom. How do civic leaders begin to develop as a community?
Where Do Leaders Start?
Starting where should be a no brainer. Community development should always start in our own homes. Fostering peace, communication and harmony between our family members should be priority number one. Our own families are our guaranteed support group. No matter what, they will always be present — whether it is for your successes or failures.
All communities are supported by strong families. Everything begins there: parenting, child development, intergenerational dialogue, and inner peace. Communities will remain turbulent if the family issues are left on their own.
How Does it Start?
Starting to lay the foundation to build a community can take a long time. It will take a while for people to get invested in the community you are building. You have to start first at getting to know your neighbors.
Similar to getting into any venture, you need to build your network. Work out the strengths and weaknesses of each neighbor. If one doesn’t feel like going out to participate, you have to take that into account. If one is not a fan of social gatherings, you must take that into account as well. You have to find a common ground where you can build on fostering the community.
A fine example of building your community and its relations is finding a common issue where the entire community is affected — like taking care of the environment. In said example, you can surely find and implement programs that will call upon your community to act. Organizing newspaper drives is one of the few steps you can take to foster oneness with the community. Encourage neighbors to pull out unused items from their storage units and organize a recycling drive or a garage sale to let them contribute to lessening consumerism. You can inspire them to contribute in countless ways, without unloading a huge amount of money or funding.
How Do Leaders and Stakeholders Continue?
The target is always to get more people involved in your drives to community development. Repeated team-based activities are the way to go to gain momentum toward your goals. Most people are too shy or afraid to volunteer in organizing these tasks themselves. Through your efforts, they may unlock what they want to do to pursue community development.
Fostering unity and peace is difficult to maintain. People are different. Their individual behaviors are erratic or unpredictable. Through your leadership and ideals, you may direct their energy properly towards a common goal. Be transparent. Let them know the reasons why you are pursuing such goals. Time is the most important reason you are taking away from the people in your community. To get them to be willing to donate a few hours of their week toward your cause might be difficult. However, if your intent is good and true, you can get some people convinced.
Community building is integral to the growth and development of the youth in your small community. Fostering togetherness with your neighbors is a great way to teach them about maintaining peace and harmony with everyone around them. The goals must be unchanged and stay true to their path if you want to achieve them. Young people will be the nation’s future leaders. To quote a famous Greek proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.”