Community development, also referred to as community building, encompasses all the activities of political and social groups, individual citizens andcorporations to improve various aspects of local communities. The aim is to empower individuals and groups of people by providing them the skills they need to bring about change in their own communities. These skills are often focused in building political power in the form of large social groups working for a common goal. Community developers must know how to work with individuals and how to bring about change in the communities positions.
The five process elements of community development are:
1. Control of decision making should be in the hands of community members. They should be the ones who collaborate together to identify issues faced by the community.
2. Involvement in actions to bring about changes in the community and to involve to solve the issues the community is currently facing.
3. Development of a community culture where community members take responsibility to improve their area and services by participating in different projects
4. Organizational development, which is aimed to develop a new organization or improve existing ones.
5. Learning, which is the process where the participants and members of the community acquire new skills and information are able to participate more.
Community development is never easy. There are a number of barriers which restrict community development and welfare. In this case, we consider the health issue of importance of physical activity in children with obesity, and look at how we may reduce some of the barriers to increase community participation.
Lack of relevant skills and knowledge of community members
Awareness is highly important for community members on community issues. Awareness comes with knowledge and skills. Considering the issue of obese children, many of the parents are not aware of the seriousness of this issue. They do not know the threats involved and what they need to do in order to reduce obesity. This knowledge has to be imparted in the form of awareness programs at community levels. Individuals should be encouraged to participate in these seminars and training programs.
Lack of time by community members:
Individuals these days have busy lives with hectic schedules. Parents are unable to take their children out for physical activities and participate with them. This is a serious issue especially for obese children which need to participate in physical activities. Hence, to reduce the barrier imposed by lack of time, communities should aim to involve the obese kids in physical activity participation without their parents’ involvement. These activities can be started in school level or at neighborhood levels where the kids are made to participate in sports and other physical exercises.
Lack of funds and resources
Funds are a critical issue in most community projects. Without adequate funding no community project can thrive. Considering the issue of physical activities for obese children, funds are required to establish parks and sports ground where children can participate. To overcome this barrier, communities should seek to obtain funds from external sources such as government or corporations. These can be in the form of sponsorships. Moreover, they can also pool funds from the community members themselves.
Rothman’s model for community development defines three principles and course of actions that can be taken to solve community problems. Applying these principles on the Fremantle case study can help in arriving at a solution to the problems mentioned.
Locality Development Model
This model of community practice is suggests that in order to bring about change, a people from different aspects of the community should be actively involved in planning, implementation, and then evaluation. Following this model, in the Fremantle case, all the citizens from various walks of life and belonging to different aspects of the community should be involved in solving the problems.
This model suggests that social problems need to be solved through deliberate planning and technical analysis. Following this model, to solve the problems of Fremantle, the community needs to carry out a plan of action with proper analysis. They cannot bring about any changes in an instant. Every action needs to be weighed against its cost and benefits.
This model suggests that a disadvantaged section of the society needs to be organized to make their demands to the larger community for better treatment and more resources. In this case, the affected group is the local citizens which are suffering and have to face the drunk and violent crowd. The other segment of the community is the hotel owners which are benefitting. Hence, the citizens need to organize and form a coalition in order to fight for their rights.