Principles of Indigenous Community Development; Identify 3-5 key theoretical concepts

Question 1.

Identify 3-5 key themes. In a paragraph, summarize what community development means. In a second paragraph identify 3-5 key theoretical concepts you learnt about. What immediate strengths and weaknesses can you identify? What possible issues do you think contemporary communities engaged in community development including community development practitioners, face?
Question 2.
Identify 3-6 key issues associated with power. Then seek to evaluate power as a positive and negative attribute.
Lorion & McMillan (2008) state:
“by definition, empowerment typically refers to ‘‘making or causing to be in a state of power.’’ The implication of the term is that the members of one group (hereafter referred to as the ‘‘Wanters’’) depend on the actions of the members of a second group (hereafter referred to as the ‘‘Empowerers’’) to gain access to heretofore lacking power, resources, or influence. This process seems straightforward enough until one recognizes that access to that goal is typically controlled by yet a third group (hereafter referred to as the ‘‘Powered’’). Inherent in the issue is our understanding of power.” (p. 254).

“Effectively, the empowerment of some (i.e., the Wanters) requires the disempowerment of others (i.e., the Powered) in the short term and many more (e.g., subsequent cohorts of Wanters) in the long term. Unless that shift establishes an acceptable balance for each of these constituencies, the potential for an ongoing struggle among them appears unavoidable. At issue then is the development of an understanding of the bases for negotiating a true sharing of decision-making between those who want and those who allocate resources.” (p. 258).

Lorion, R & McMillan, D 2008, “Does empowerment require disempowerment? Reflections on psychopolitical validity”, Journal of Community Psychology, vol.36, pp. 254–260.
From the quote, identify what empowerment and then, disempowerment means.
Also consider various forms of power in society – who has it and how it is used – including legitimate and illegitimate use.
From the reading, seek to address 2-3 of the following questions:

1. What does empowerment mean? Who is to be empowered and who is not?
2. What link exists between empowerment and community development?
3. What strengths and weaknesses does empowerment present to community development?
4. What is the advantage of focusing on empowerment when developing and implementing community development approaches?
Let’s contextualise this learning by examining the case study of the ‘Red Dust Healing Project’ in Australia along with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)’s, Southern Africa Regional Community-based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Capacity Building Project.

‘Red Dust Healing Project’ in Australia.

Question 3.
1 ) Why do you think change is a central tenant to community development? Now consider what motivates it? What can get in the way to achieving change? Who is responsible for achieving it?

2) Review your learning thus far, in the module. What core themes have emerged in regard to the association between change and community development? How is change to be negotiated? Who are the key actors or agents involved in change? Can change occur without uniform community support? What strengths and weaknesses have you identified

International Experience
Opportunity exists to research what one or two international Indigenous community/communities have deemed to be important to their community development undertaking(s).
To do this, first identify an Indigenous people you would like to investigate for example, Maori in New Zealand, American Indians in the USA or Indigenous peoples in Argentina. Then seek to locate a community development program or project that your chosen group have been involved in and is less than 10 years old. As you undertake your research, seek to answer at least two of the following questions.
• What specific issues did you identify?
• What common and different approaches/ ideas to the Australian experience did you observe?
• What international links exist with Indigenous community development projects?
• How does the project support Indigeneity and fulfil actors / contributors goals?
Question 4.
From the learning gained this far, jot down 2-3 dot points on what you understand asset-based and social capacity plus community building to mean.

Our approach in this unit is to view the two elements as part of community development. (Some literature you come across may present capacity building as being the stage on from community development namely, community capacity building.)

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