Posted by: DCox | June 17, 2008

Mobilizing a Community for Sustainable Development

This is my first attempt at blogging (a verb?).  I’m an International Mentor coaching indigenous missionaries and development workers in the process of community development & discipleship that we (at Mission: Moving Mountains) call Discipling for Development.

 

 

Here’s an excerpt from my May newsletter: 

We were in Cambodia in April to continue training the staff of a Christian development agency in the process of Discipling for Development.  The Cambodian staff are already involved in community development in several communities; however, they have encountered a lack of involvement by community members.  The development workers desire to “walk with communities” in ways the result in sustainable change and transformation.  Sustainability not only means that the improvements will be maintained after the donor organization leaves, but also that new improvements will be initiated and owned by community members. 

 

Africa map1We talked with them about mobilizing communities – mobilization involves meeting with community members to talk about development in terms of people solving their own problems with the resources that God has placed in their village.  This often takes many months because it requires a change in worldview – from being fatalistic and dependent on outsiders to taking some responsibility to solve the problems of a community.  As we continued to talk about mobilization, the Cambodian staff defined mobilization as getting the community ready to develop itself.  Over the next four to six months they will be mobilizing leaders of several communities so that the community leaders will then mobilize the rest of these communities. 

 

We (M:MM) train development workers to facilitate lessons for non-literate adults that convey concepts of holistic development – this is how they can mobilize a community.  One lesson, called The River Crossing, presents two scenarios that community members analyze.  They are asked to decide which is better – to learn to swim across a river or to be carried across a river.  They quickly realize that if they learn to swim they can cross the river at their own discretion.  This is the beginning of empowerment when community members believe they can solve some of their own problems!


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