Community Development Planning: the way forward for a hope-filled South Africa

A fascinating overview of the history of community development in S.A. Plus, a bright new pathway to thriving communities!

The United Nations defines community development as “a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems”.

“The whole idea of community development has become a modern trend throughout the world and numerous other countries are giving attention thereto. South Africa is actually in the lead as regards the creation of machinery in this field.”

This second quote is from the then South African Minister of Community Development, Mr PW Botha. He said it during a parliamentary session in 1962.1 The policy statement went into great detail about how communities should develop all fields. It considered commerce, agriculture, and even entertainment. There was also a view to meeting the material and social needs of any community.

It is fascinating that South Africa had a particular minister whose focus was on community development. But whatever position the minister occupied, and whatever quotes seem so very relevant even today about social development, the fact is that the action taken in developing the communities that needed it most fell far short of the work required to see actual development realised. One group’s development was also certainly prioritized at the terrible expense of all others.

The Nationalist Party had already in 1954 received the 17-volume Tomlinson Report. This detailed the required measures needed for the inane Apartheid system to have had any chance of being viable. The report recommended that for the first ten-year programme, £104 million would be needed for the so-called “native areas” to become fully developed.  Under the plan, 50 000 jobs would be created each year.

But, by 1965 the government had spent only £650 000 on any development. By 1978 it had only seen 78731 job opportunities created.

Since South Africa’s democratic elections, Community Development has lagged far behind required levels to see the needs of many of our poorest communities become what they could and need to be.

Community Development PlanningSo there is a global need for community development planning and implementation. If poorer communities the world-over are to see a positive and progressive outlook for their future, community development is key. In South Africa, the need for community development planning is particularly acute. It also shows how the lack of implementation of plans can have disastrous, long-term effects.

At Umsizi we have trained experts who plan programmes to assist particular communities on a case-by-case basis. These specialists will assess the particular needs of each community. We also aim to assist communities in implementing the Community Development Plans. We provide practical, effective steps to see the plans improving the lives of the community members. The only acceptable program is an effective and meaningful programme!

One of our emphases is on empowering community members themselves to be involved in the social and economic uplifting of their own communities. Our Community Development Plans focus on how the community can utilise any on-hand resources to see a better tomorrow. We provide strategies on how to increase resources sustainably. We train community members on the best use of resources provided by the government and private sectors.

Community Development SAWhatever your needs, Umzisi will design the best community development plan to meet the needs of the community, and see it thrive.

 

1# The official edited version of the policy statement is available here.