SHALL we search elsewhere?
I supposed NO.
Community Development (CD) has proven to be a strategic approach in uplifting the social and economic welfare of many nations around the world.
CD is a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems. Community wellbeing (economic, social, environmental and cultural) often evolves from this type of collective action being taken at a grassroots level.
In addition, it is about people pooling their resources together for positive advancement; utilization of acquired skills and know how for the greater good of the community.
It is a process towards empowering community people to be self-reliant and sustainable.
To start, let me give emphasis here that the tools to develop our communities are readily available but suppressed by cargo cult mentality-the notion that all good things/development will come from abroad.
This is a superstitious mentality that only locked creativity and innovations.
Why is it so, is a question that’s worth discussing.
Solomon Islands is regarded as a ‘nation of villages’ as coined by late Dr John Roughan.
However, for the purpose of this article, I will use the term ‘Nation of Communities’ instead of villages; the physical communities where we reside.
Obviously, as often viewed, the popular mentality towards progressive development is an aliens’ agenda within someone’s domain.
Whilst there are few elements of truth in particular inthe areas of specialized capacity building trainings and small donor support, however the principle truth is, we have been brain-washed.
I think what is missing right now is visionary leadership, effective organizing, strategic networking and volunteerism, let alone appropriate policies to embrace CD.
Within our communities, we have skilled and resourceful people.
Moreover, the biggest bonus is in our overwhelming natural resources.
These are fundamental platforms if can be smartly utilized-should excel our communities.
It is apparent that rural people have minimised cutting copra, so as exploiting sea and land resources.
There is diminishing return in the productive sector (in this I mean, working in local plantations) in exchange for seeking assistance from our MPs to sustain their living or pay for their children’s school fees.
This is destructive development in contrast to the past where rural people take full responsibility of their personal and family welfare.
Like to believe or not but it is a Trojan horse (Computer Virus) that is paralyzing this country.
It disempowers big time, and a huge loss for a nation that has been already categorized as a Least Developed Country (LDC).
In expounding the discussion, CD has to be driven by people within their defined jurisdiction.
In doing so, communal and intrinsic values must be the driving force if we need to realise our communities moving forward.
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia, Intrinsic value has traditionally been thought to lie at the heart of ethics.
Philosophers use a number of terms to refer to such value.
The intrinsic value of something is said to be the value that that thing has “in itself,” or “for its own sake,” or “as such,” or “in its own right.”
Lamenting over “Positive change” will not achieve any tangible development if we constantly rely on external help or parasites on donors or tax payers’ money as what is seen today.
CD will do.
Strictly, communities must be empowered to stand independent.
Empowerment has to come from strong leadership endowed with passion driven characters right from local to national levels.
It is about taking ownership motivated by the spirit of stewardship.
The urgent matter now is to quicken that realization so that communities and its people start organizing themselves in a more effective way embracing CD as one of the country’s corner stone in its development endeavors.
As a citizen of this country, I have always aspired that our leaders realise this and thus establish appropriate platforms to accommodate for CD and its attributes.
Lest we forget, cultural and biblical values must make a formidable part of CD, as it is somewhat one of those essential variables that uphold the basement of our society.
Hence, the power to change our communities lies within our hands.
Don’t look far as it will never come from the East or West neither North nor South. It is within us and around us.
After all, I think Solomon Islands need to redirect; leaders has to be visionary, patriotic and passionate, and graced with the spirit of volunteerism and sacrifice.
Above all, realization and conviction must dawn on us to recognize that our communities and nation’s development is pending awaiting activation by ourselves.
Whilst the national government is or will be embarking on essential services and infrastructure development-our communities must focus on what is available and reachable within their means, as CD is a proven impetus to ignite the positive change.
If other country countries like Bangladesh through the powerful leadership of Dr Yunus Muhammad can do it, why not Solomon Islands?
By REDLEY S. RARAMO