What Is the Importance of Community Development?

Jan Fletcher

Proponents typically credit community development efforts with increasing social stability and enabling citizens in underdeveloped communities to have more productive lives. Those who tout the importance of community development also point to its positive effects on disease management. Both of these outcomes frequently result in a general increase in the standard of living. Instituting community development programs that enhance a community's collective skill set may be credited with increasing education within a community as well. Supporters of these types of initiatives note that they typically illustrate the importance of community development in raising the standard of living for economically disadvantaged groups.

Local business leaders may speak during an informal seminar to engage community members.
Local business leaders may speak during an informal seminar to engage community members.

A history of successful efforts to reduce disease across the world underscores the importance of community development. Evident progress in reducing contagious diseases is generally abundantly available. Disease reduction often occurs as a result of the work of development advocates, who go into distressed communities and teach residents basic disease prevention and containment techniques. These accomplishments also affirm the importance of community development initiatives in improving the health of a community.

Community development can help alleviate societal issues impacting the local community.
Community development can help alleviate societal issues impacting the local community.

An increase in social stability often follows educational and economic development programs. Both of these initiatives affirm the importance of community development. When community development initiatives are launched in distressed communities, aid workers generally focus efforts on shoring up existing social structures, and encouraging the formation of healthy relationships among residents.

Community development might focus on education issues.
Community development might focus on education issues.

At times, long-standing feuds within an isolated geographical area may have caused significant damage to the social fabric of the community. When aid workers teach residents reconciliation techniques and more productive communication skills, underdeveloped communities are often infused with new vigor. This may result in residents cooperatively working together to improve their standard of living.

Local development can give people a sense of community and togetherness.
Local development can give people a sense of community and togetherness.

Similar improvement in the quality of a community's life often occurs following efforts to increase literacy through community development work. When aid workers establish schools, or tutor residents in basic academic skills, the community's standard of living generally increases over time. A literate workforce is typically more easily trained to work in jobs that pay higher wages.

Community development programs may benefit children who do not have access to adequate food.
Community development programs may benefit children who do not have access to adequate food.

In addition, literate workers are equipped to receive training through written channels, instead of relying solely on the spoken word. As a result, training efforts are usually much more effective. This is one reason why a community's collective skill set often rises following a community development initiative. It is another demonstration of the importance of community development work, which often leaves a lasting legacy that transfers successfully to the next generation. Effecting the transformation of a community that successfully benefits future generations is perhaps one of the strongest arguments proponents put forth for more social and economic investment in distressed communities.

Literacy campaigns are part of community development.
Literacy campaigns are part of community development.
Community development programs can give children activities to pursue that may keep them out of trouble.
Community development programs can give children activities to pursue that may keep them out of trouble.

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