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1.2. Definitions of Community Organisation
1.3. Principle of Community Organisation
1.3.1. Skills in Community Organization
1.4. History of Community organisation
1.5. Community organisation as a Problem Solving Methods
1.6. The Relevance of Community Organisation for Community Development
1.7. Working with Individual, Families and Groups within the Community
1.8. Role of Community Organiser
1.9. Values and Ethics in Practice of Community Organisation
1.10. Community Analysts Approach
1.11. Community Power Structure
1.12. Community Chest
1.13. Community Welfare Council
1.14. Community Development
1.15. Community Organization and Community Development
Community Organization is one of the primary methods of social work. It deals with intervention in the communities to solve the community problems. As a method of social work community organization can solve the problems of many people in the community through their collective involvement. Community organization and community development are inter-related as two sides of the same coin. The community organization includes other methods of social work, that is, group work, and casework. The power structure plays a role in the community organization. The social workers need to know the community power structure to practice community organization method. Community organization method is used for empowering people for their development. The details are provided for social work student to understand and practice community organization effectively.
The term "community organization covers a series of activities at the community level aimed at bringing about desired improvement in the social wellbeing of individuals, groups and neighbourhoods". It is the Democratic instrument to bring about sustained social change. According to Murray G.Ross, “Community organization is a process by which a community identifies needs and takes action, and in doing so... develops co-operative attitudes and practices."
Philosophy of Community Organisation:
The early attempts in community organization were an outcome of the serious problems i.e. problems of unemployment, poverty etc. faced by the communities. Thus grew up many organisations and social agencies to provide support to the community. Soon, it was realized that all these efforts need to be co-ordinated and streamlined so as to avoid duplicity of work and to reduce the gap in the delivery of services to the community. At one point of time we might ask, what has been the driving force behind all these efforts that prompted the people of Good will to render services to the community? Let us look at the Philosophy of Community Organization, which may throw some light on this theme.
- The fundamental aspect of the community organizations is the principle of “Co-operative spirit" which promotes the people to unite together to address a common issue.
- Community organization recognizes the spirit of democratic values and principles and community organization is about is creating democratic involvement.
- Organizing is about empowering. When people unite together, barring all discriminations and get involved in the community organizations, they develop confidence. This empowerment comes when people learn skills to help themselves and others. The collective action helps in community building.
- The community organization recognizes the power of individual. It believes, through the collective strength of the people, better teamwork and adopting scientific methods can make comprehensive social problems.
- Another Philosophy is that of coordination. It is concerned with the adjustments and inter-relations of the forces in the community life for a common welfare.
- Community organization is therefore, is a continuous process in which adjustments are made and remade to keep pace with the changing conditions of community life.
Community Organisation: Method and as a Process
Simply meaning: It refer to the adjustment the need and resources of a community
As a process: community organisation implied those welfare measures which are undertaken by the members of a community in accordance to their needs and resources.
As a Method: as a primary method of social work by which people of communities as individual citizens or as representative of group join together to determine social welfare needs, plan ways of meeting them and mobilised these necessary resources.
Steps of Community Organisation:
1. Consciousness of need
2. Spreading the Consciousness of need
3. Projection of Consciousness of need
4. Emotional impulse to meet the need quickly
5. Presentation of other solutions
6. Conflict of Solutions
8. Open Discussion of Issues
9. Integration of Selection
10. Compromise on the basis of Tentative programme
Other Steps in Community Organization:
1. Social Investigation
3. Issue in Identification and Analysis
4. Core Group Formation
5. Group Work and Group Meeting
6. Role Playing
7. Mobilization of Action
8. Evaluation or Reflection
9. Formation of Community Based Organization
10. Phase Out
Ref: (Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, [ANGOC])
Thus Community Organisation is a method as well as process. Its main aim is to assist the community in such a way so that it may become self-sufficient.
To study and to be able to engage in community organisation practice it is necessary to have a clear definition. There are several definitions available in literature, which are put forth at different times and context. The common element in most of them is matching resources to needs. We will discuss here two most widely accepted definitions of community organisation.
MURRAY G. ROSS (1967) defines community organisation as a “process by which a community identifies its needs or objectives, gives priority to them, develops the confidence and will to work at them, finds resources (internal and external) to deal with them, and in doing so, extends and develops co-cooperative and collaborative attitudes and practices in the community”.
In this definition by “process” he meant a movement from identification of a problem or objective to solution of the problem or attainment of the objective in the community. There are other processes for dealing with community problems, but here he called the community organisation process that by which the capacity of the community to function as an integrated unit grows as it deals with one or more community problems. The task of the professional worker in community organisation is to help initiate, nourish, and develop this process. His task is also to make this process conscious, deliberative, and understood.
Eduard C. Lindeman in 19211 defined community organisation as “Community organisation is that phase of social organisation which constitutes a conscious effort on the part of a community to control its affairs democratically and to secure the highest services from its specialists, organisations, agencies and institutions by means of recognised inter relations.”
Walter W. Pettit in 19252 defined it as “Community organisation is perhaps best defined as assisting a group of people to recognise their common needs and helping them to meet these needs.”
Russell H. Kurrtz in 1940 defined it as “Community organisation is a process dealing primarily with program relationships and thus to be distinguished in its social work setting from those other basic processes, casework and group work, which deal with people. Those relationships of agency to agency, of agency to community and of community to agency reach in all directions from any focal point in the social work picture. Community organisation may be thought of as the process by which these relationships are initiated, altered or terminated to meet changing conditions, and it is thus basic to all social work...”.
Wayne Mcmillen in 19473 defined it as “Community organisation in its generic sense in deliberately directed effort to assist groups in attaining unity of purpose and action. It is practiced, though often without recognition of its character, wherever the objective is to achieve or maintain a pooling of the talents and resources of two or more groups in behalf of either general or specific objectives.”
C.F. Mcneil in 19544 defined it as “Community organisation for social welfare is the process by which the people of community, as individual citizens or as representatives of groups, join together to determine social welfare needs, paln ways
“Community” in the sense in which it is used here, refers to two major groupings of people. Firstly it may be all the people in a specific geographic area, i.e., a village, a town, a city, a neighbourhood, or a district in a city. In the same manner it could refer also to all the people in a province or a state, a nation, or in the world. Secondly, it is used to include groups of people who share some common interest or function, such as welfare, agriculture, education, and religion. In this context community organisation may be involved in bringing these persons together to develop some awareness of, and feeling for their “community” and to work at common problems arising out of the interest or function they have in common.
The second definition that we discuss here is by Kramer and Specht (1975), which is in more technical terms. They defined that “Community organisation refers to various methods of intervention whereby a professional change agent helps a community action system composed of individuals, groups or organisations to engage in planned collective action in order to deal with special problems within the democratic system of values.”
According to their explanations it involves two major interrelated concerns: (a) the interaction process of working with an action system which includes identifying, recruiting and working with the members and developing organizational and interpersonal relationships among them which facilitates their efforts; and (b) the technical tasks involved in identifying problem areas, analyzing causes, formulating plans, developing strategies and mobilizing the resources necessary to effect action.
The analysis of both these definitions reveals that they cover the “Need-Resources Adjustment” approach, “the Social Relationships” approach and a combination of the two ideas of meeting needs and development of co-operative attitudes.
Principles of community organisation, in the sense in which the term is used here are generalized guiding rules for the sound practice. Principles are expressions of value judgments. The principles of community organisation, which are being discussed here, are within the frame of and in harmony with the spirit and purpose of social work in a democratic society. We are concerned with the dignity and worth, the freedom, the security, the participation, and the wholesome and abundant life o every individual. This implies following the principles of democracy, involvement of the marginalized, transparency, honesty, sustainability, self-reliance, partnerships, cooperation, etc.
In the literature of community organisation we find various sets of principles. Dunham (1958) has presented a statement of 28 suggested principles of community organisation. He grouped those under seven headings.
(i) Democracy and social welfare,
(ii) Community roots for community programs,
(iii) Citizen understanding, support, and participation and professional service,
(v) Social Welfare Programs,
(vi) Adequacy, distribution, and organisation of social welfare services, and
Ross (1967) outlined specific principles – the elementary or fundamental ideas regarding initiation and continuation of community organisation processes. These principles have been discussed in terms of the nature of the organisation or association and the role of the professional worker. The twelve principles identified by Ross are:
1. Discontent with existing conditions in the community must initiate and/or nourish development of the association.
2. Discontent must be focused and channelled into organisation, planning, and action in respect to specific problems.
3. Discontent which initiates or sustains community organisation must be widely shared in the community.
4. The association must involve leaders (both formal and informal) identified with, and accepted by major sub-groups in the community.
5. The association must have goals and methods and procedures of high acceptability.
6. The programme of the association should include some activities with an emotional content.
7. The association should seek to utilize the manifest and latent goodwill which exists in the community.
8. The association must develop active and effective lines of communication both within the association and between the association and the community.
9. The association should seek to support and strengthen groups which it brings together in cooperative work.
10. The association should develop a pace of work relative to existing conditions in the community.
11. The association should seek to develop effective leaders.
12. The association must develop strength, stability and prestige in the community.
Keeping in mind the actual practice situations in India H. Y. Siddiqui (1997) have worked out a set of 8 principles.
1. The Principle of Specific Objectives
2. The Principle of Planning
3. The Principle of Peoples Participation
4. The Principle of inter-group approach
5. The Principle of democratic functioning
6. The Principle of flexible organisation
7. The Principle of Optimum Utilisation of Indigenous Resources
8. The Principle of Cultural orientation
We are trying to interpret some of the principles from the available sets of principles for guiding our practice of community organisation in Indian context.
1. Community organisation is means and not an end: As discussed earlier the community organisation is a process by which the capacity of the community to function as an integrated unit is being enhanced. In this sense it is a method or a means to enable people to live a happy and fully developed life. It refers to a method of intervention whereby a community consisting of individuals, groups or organisations are helped to engage in planned collective action in order to deal with their needs and problems.
2. Community Organisation is to promote community solidarity and the practice of democracy: It should seek to overcome disruptive influences, which threaten the well being of the community and the vitality of democratic institutions. In community organisation discrimination and segregation or exclusion should be avoided and integration and mutual acceptance should be promoted.
3. The clear identification of the Community: Since the community is the client of the community organisation worker, it must be clearly identified. It is likely that there are several communities with which he/she deals at the same time. Further it is important that once the community is identified the entire community must be the concern of the practitioner. No programme can be isolated from the social welfare needs and resources of the community as a whole. The welfare of the whole community is always more important than the interest or the well-being of any one agency/group in the community.
4. Fact-finding and needs assessment: Community organisation programmes should have its roots in the community. Proper fact-finding and assessment of the community needs is the pre requisite for starting any programme in the community. It is generally desirable for local community services to be indigenous, grass-roots developments rather than to be imposed form without. Whenever possible, then, a community organisation should have its origin in a need felt by the community or by some substantial number of persons in the community and there should be vital community participation, and usually essential community control, in its development.
5. Identification, Mobilization and Utilization of the available resources: The fullest possible use should be made of existing social welfare resources, before creating new resources or services. In the absence of resources/services the worker has to mobilize the resources from various sources such as community, government, non-government agencies, etc. While utilizing the indigenous resources it must be recognised that these resources may sometimes need extensive overhauling before they will meet certain needs. Apart from mobilizing physical resources, indigenous human resources should be put to optimum use.
6. Participatory Planning: The community organisation worker must accept the need for participatory planning throughout the process of community organisation. It is important that the practitioner prepares a blue print in the beginning of what he/she intends to do with the community. This is done with the community taking into consideration the needs of the community, available resources, agency objectives, etc. Planning in community organisation is a continuous process as it follows the cycle of implementation and evaluation. The planning should be on the basis of ascertained facts, rather than an expression of guesswork, “hunches,” or mere trial and error.
7. Active and vital participation: The concept of self-help is a core of community organisation. The community members’ participation throughout the process of community organisation should be encouraged from the standpoint both of democratic principle and of feasibility- that is, the direct involvement in the progrmme of those who have the primary stake in it’s results. “Self-help” by citizen or clientele groups should be encouraged and fostered.
8. Communities’ right of self-determination should be respected: The Role of the Community organisation worker is to provide professional skill, assistance, and creative leadership in enabling peoples’ groups and organizations to achieve social welfare objectives. The community members should make basic decisions regarding programme and policy. While the community organisation worker plays a variety of roles in different situations, he is basically concerned with enabling peoples’ expression and leadership to achieve community organisation goals, and not with control, domination, or manipulation.
9. Voluntary cooperation: Community organisation must be based upon mutual understanding, voluntary acceptance, and mutual agreement. Community organisation, if it is to be in harmony with democratic principles, cannot be regimentation; it should not be imposed from outside, but must be derived from the inner freedom and will to unite of those who practice it.
10. The spirit of cooperation rather than competition, and the practice of coordination of effort: Community organisation practice should be based on the spirit of cooperation rather than competition. The community organisation practice has proved that the most effective advances are made through cooperative effort. It is by the coordinated and sustained programs attacking major problems rather than through sporadic efforts by various groups.
11. Recognition and involvement of indigenous leadership: Community organisation as it has been described requires the participation of the people of a community. However everyone in the community cannot be involved in face-to-face contact with all others in the community; therefore it is important to identify and recognize the leaders (both the formal and informal) accepted by various groups and subgroups in the community. Inclusion of the respected and accepted leaders with whom the major subgroups identify provides a major step in integrating the community and makes possible initiation of a process of communication which, if it becomes effective, will nourish and sustain the process of community organisation.
12. Limited use of authority or compulsion: Invoking the application of authority or compulsion may sometimes be necessary in community organisation; but it should be used as little as possible, for as short a time as possible and only as a last resort. When compulsion must be applied, it should be followed as soon as possible by resumption of the cooperative process.
13. The dynamic and flexible nature of Programmes and Services: This principle is basic to sound community organisation. Social welfare agencies and programmes must be responsive to the changing conditions, problems, and needs of community life. Community is a dynamic phenomenon, which constantly changes and thus the needs and problems also keeps changing. Therefore it is necessary that the programmes and services are flexible enough.
14. Continual Participatory evaluation: As programmes are developed to meet community needs, sometime must be set aside for evaluation of the process. Regular feedback from the community is important. Criteria must be set up for evaluation of the programmes, to see how effective the action has been and what has been accomplished.
1. Skills in Rapport Establishment
2. Skills in Identification of Needs
3. Skills in Resources Mobilization
4. Skills in Programme Planning
5. Skills in Programme Management
6. Skills in Evaluation
7. Skills in Recording
8. Skills in Encouraging Community Participation
9. Skills in Working with the group
10. Skills in working with the individuals
11. Skills in Mobilizing Community Action
Skills of an Effective Community Organizer:
Problem Analysis – One of themajor tasks of the community organizer is to assist the people in arriving at a solution to the problem. The organizer is capable of identifying the problem and making the people to identify, analyse, give priorities, select an appropriate priority, mobilize resources, make a plan of action, implement, monitor, evaluate, modify and continue.
Resource Mobilization – Any problem of the community while working out the solution requires resources. The resources may be in terms man power, money material and time. On one hand the organizer is aware of the availability of the resources within the community or outside the community and on the other makes the people to identify the sources of resources and the way to tap such resources.
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