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The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.
By Adesanya Omoniyi ADEKOYA
May 31, 2016
As a concept, community development is usually confused with other community-based programs and other areas of community intervention. The values and principles of community development represent the major difference between it and other fields of community work.
Many authors and institutions have put forward different classifications of the principles of community development. One such entity is the Community Development Alliance Scotland (CDAS), which states the principles of community development are empowerment, participation, inclusiveness, self-determination and partnership. Another is the Ontario Health Communities Coalition (OHCC), which posits that principles of community development include: being democratic, being inclusive, non-authoritarian, self-determination, community ownership, capacity enhancement and networking, social justice and equity, universality, service integration and being upstream. There are noticeable agreements between the postulations of both institutions, as with others not mentioned in this paper.
The objectives of community development can be drawn from the above. They include providing support to members of the public, building on the public’s existing community participation and increasing the capacity of the members of the community in order to help build a better understanding in the society, promote interaction among members of the public, build on the effectiveness of the government and complement the efforts of the government.
As we face a future that is expected to witness a growing contribution of community intervention in governance and developmental drive of the society, we need to weigh the contribution of the new generation of millennials toward community development. Millennials, agreed among statisticians as the largest generation in history, are now advancing into adulthood. This mean they are poised to reshape the way things are being done in the society through their unique experiences.
The values and belief systems of millennials have caused a shift in modern society’s behaviors. Their values, norms and practices are taking a departure from those of previous generations. This has affected their involvements in community development. For example, due to millennials’ affinity for technology, information concerning interventions during disasters, political mobilization and other social engagements are often shared through mobile apps and social media platforms.
The increasing dominance of interactions through social media and apps, as opposed to interpersonal interactions among those in previous generations, is impacting community development. It is no longer fashionable to hold town hall meetings. Such discussions are now being channeled through social media platforms. It was claimed that this will widen opinion base and allow participants to engage in other productive activities at the same time.
Social beliefs of millennials have also affected the scope of community development. The growing passion for individuals having affairs, the rising number of collapsed marriages, fluctuating rates of unemployment and increasing human rights abuses are all significant features in the lives of millennials and have changed the face of community development programs.
The rising trend in the involvement and belief of millennials in politics and decisionmaking also affects community development. The inclination of millennials toward political participation has stimulated them to continue to engage governments at all levels on policy simulation, implementation and evaluation. Because of this, the scope of community development has also included political engagement and policy monitoring.
As against the traditional practices of mobilization, social work institutions now engage the services of musicians, actors and comedians to mobilize and educate youths for community interventions. Sports are another tool being effectively employed to raise awareness for community participation.
As a result of their behaviors and experiences, millennials have changed the face of community development. This generation of people has to be accorded priority consideration if any social intervention program is to be successful. This way, communities and society will prepare millennials for the greater task of nationbuilding through good governance as they constitute the next generation of political leaders.
Author: Adesanya Omoniyi ADEKOYA is an administrator, economist, business advisor, politician, development activist and doctoral student of public policy analysis at Walden University. Email: [email protected].