The Importance of Community Development
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This report writing is on the importance of community development focusing on the field visits observations and learnings especially on the challenges encountered with Early Child Development and Positive Parenting Program implemented from the communities visited. The writing also states the positive outcomes of the programmes as well reporting on the need to mobilise those communities and provide recommendations to address the challenges encountered.
Reports on the Importance of Community Development Focusing on the Field visits Observations and Learnings from Balam, Yabob and Riwo Communities
These three communities are out-suburb villages located near and around Madang Town. Majority of the people living in those villages are subsistence farmers and depend on daily marketing of items such as store goods, garden food, fish, betelnut, mustard, coconuts and other cash crops as a means for survival. Mothers and girls sit and do marketing while men and boys do others activities to keep the family balanced. Generally, some adult and teenager population of the those villages are struggling with reading and writing plain English words and sentences, which have a slight impact on their understanding on social issues that are affecting them. There is a need to educate them on the negative effects of social issues as well as improving their standard of living. As such, Catholic Archdiocese of Madang attempted to help these three communities by implementing Early Child Development and Positive Parenting Program. Early Child Development program is a program designed to prepare kids from age 3 – 5 before sending them to preparatory or grade one classes. The ECD program helps the children to learn basic knowledge include spelling of names, counting and writing numbers, pronouncing and writing alphabetical letters, practicing polite manners and behaviours and other little activities that matters to boost the learning capacity for small children. On the other hand, Positive Parenting is a programme designed to educate parents with positive knowledge of raising children. This knowledge covers the basic rights of children, needs, wants, and approaches of bringing up a child. These two programs work alongside each other and cannot be separated.
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There are challenges encountered in the process of implementing Early Child Development and Positive Parenting Program while Positive Parenting Program is implemented only in Balam community. Following are the common challenges observed in all three communities.
- Opposition – volunteers (teachers) received criticisms from other community members.
- Lack of facilities – including playgrounds, classrooms, water and sanitation and learning materials.
- Child’s security – children’s safety is unguaranteed from walking to and back from attending ECD program.
- Financial instabilities – parents lacking funds to meet the child’s regular needs and wants.
- Lack of human resources – there are few volunteers that create a gap for the ECD programme to be unproductive.
- Lack of corporation and communication – there is a lack of cooperation and communication among the parents and volunteers because parents have minimal knowledge on the importance ECD.
- With Positive Parenting in Balam, husbands were not cooperative and many did not follow the wives to attend the program. Husbands thought the program is for women only.
Positive Outcomes of the Early Child Development
- Little children are able to spell their names correctly as well as writing numbers and alphabetical letters.
- Parents are excited to see the learning of their children.
- Children learn and practice positive manners and behaviours.
- Learning capacity for children is broaden and they are excited to learn.
2.2 Positive Outcomes of Positive Parenting Program Balam Community
- Mothers realised and corrected their failures of raising the children while encouraging fathers to attend the program.
- Mothers taught with skills of saving money and pay for important stuffs for the family.
- Women know their basic rights.
- Mothers know positive approaches to raise a child.
Reports on the Need to Mobilize Those Communities Focusing on the Field Visits Observations and Learning
The three communities are immobilized where less social, economic, spiritual and physical activities which could not mobilize and enhance the lives of the people. Listed below are approaches that could mobilize people in one way or other.
- Fundraising – do community fundraising that will bring a sense of togetherness among community members, which will enable them to work and learn as a team towards achieving common goals of the community. The funds raised can be used to build classrooms, church, aid post and meet other needs of the community.
- Sports – inclusive sporting activities is a sure way of mobilising people. Organising sports activities for everyone on weekends will allow people to freshen up from the activities of the week and keep them physically fit. Young men and women will improve their sporting skills and can be selected to take part in national sporting events.
- Projects – do community projects like fishponds, poultry and piggery would provide meat as well as generate income for the community.
- Church activities – organising church activities such as gospel concerts, crusades and retreats would bring peace and strengthen the spirituality of the community members.
I came up with recommendations to address the challenges encountered in the process of implementing the programmes mentioned earlier. The recommendations are as follows.
- Encourage parents to attend Positive Parenting Program (Balam Community) to know the correct approaches of raising a child. More parents attending such program would bring positive changes to the community and create a happy society.
- Carry out awareness on the importance of the programs implemented would change the perception of the people on basic government services. People depend on government to deliver basic services, which makes them become lazy over the years. Encourage people to work for themselves without expecting government agencies.
- Improve learning facilities as well as increasing number of volunteers that will enable the sustainability of the programs.
- Government, Church and NGO agencies must work together to bring unity and peace in the community.
- Volunteers should be under payroll to meet their necessities, which will allow them to become full time volunteers.