The Importance of Community Development
Corporate responsibility work has long been recognized by companies as integral to shaping their public image. Through the various social projects they engage in, they are able to send a strong signal to the public that they are not just all about the bottom line, but do very much care about the issues surrounding them and the communities that they impact with their business.
That is why community development is such a great opportunity for companies to exercise corporate responsibility. However, it still tends to be a vague concept for some, which is why it’s relevant to explain what it really is about and why it’s important.
What is Community Development
Community development refers to the efforts put into providing segments of the population with assistance and tools so they can better help themselves, along with government efforts and contributions from the private sector.
For example, communities where there is a huge propensity for crime exposure, gentrification and displacement, or marginalization would be communities that could use some more help from sectors of society that are able to give further relief and assistance.
How Communities Develop
There are many roadblocks to community development, not least of which is the availability of resources and manpower. More often than not, there are also political considerations at play, with various stakeholders making situations a bit more complicated than necessary.
In the middle of it, however, are the communities not getting the appropriate help they need because they are caught in the struggle of stakeholders. That’s why it’s important that they have someone taking their side so that the focus can be kept on their issues and needs, so they can be addressed.
Common Issues Faced in Community Development
Many of the issues encountered in community development efforts have to do with poverty. From here springs forth various other issues, such as education, healthcare, and crime, among others.
Of course, funding is going to be very important in order for well-meaning organizations to really be able to find solutions to these issues. It can be in partnership or collaborations with other companies or non-government agencies that might have some resources that could significantly aid in pushing the community development project forward.
It does not have to be all the resources needed all at one time, because that’s likely going to be impossible. But at least, even if it’s piecemeal, there are already parts of the larger issue being addressed. Slow progress is still progress, after all.
Perhaps what is most important in pursuing community development initiatives is being able to be consistent with the efforts. Usually, these projects fall off the radar not because they’re not working, but because of lack of resources, manpower, and commitment.
Unless these three elements are consistently provided, then community development work will remain to be a huge challenge with seemingly no rewards in sight, even if it doesn’t have to be the case. That’s why finding the right support, such as through fundraising and government contracting, are crucial to these efforts.