COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT - THE IMPOSSIBLE MISSION!?
A kiadás helye:
A kiadás éve:
Közösségfejlesztési partnerségépítés Közép-Kelet Európában
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP BUILDING IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
Closing Seminar – SOVATA, 27-29 March, 2003
Gabor Kolumban, Civitas Foundation, president
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT - THE IMPOSSIBLE MISSION!?
At the beginning of the international gathering of the community development professionals in CEE, I consider that it is a good opportunity to raise some questions and to reveal the challenges standing behind these. The questions raised are closely linked to the particularities of the communities in our region, to the transition process started after 1989. The transition, which seems to me, that already is a steady state, or at least a dynamically stability one. Actually, I have a strong intuition, telling me that the transition is not going to bring closer the CEE communities to the western communities. Not the speeds are different, neither the direction. We are on a different road. But, we are seeing each other and we are visiting each other, and open communication and actions are linking us. We have at least the hope that we are able to understand each other and work together.
The first challenge is how we can advance on our road in a nested World?
Is the international community of the community developers a community?
If your answer is yes, than let see what we have on the board?
Common, shared values
Common mission (the impossible one)
Common actions (projects)
If the answer is no, than what is missing?
Embeddings, own roots to the communities
We almost became virtual community.
The second challenge is faced when we realize that communities are emergent.
From your experience, certainly you will remember the difficulties of the attempts to create, or rebuild communities. Communities cannot be created; they are “to be born entities”. You can experience the existence of a community, but you cannot create or construct one. I think, that the community is a given (creation of God). In the case of community development, we should consider as such.
What is making the difference between a community and a group of organized people?
We can find the answer to this question considering the concept of self-organization. The community is a self- organized group of human being. The emergence of the communities raises the problem of the unpredictability of the development action on the level of the community. Acting on the elements and connections of a complex system, you can never know what changes are coming out as system properties. You need faith and humbleness to resist to this.
Eastern and Central Europe has the knowledge, the memory of, and nostalgia for, the traditional, pre modern communities. From these is coming out the danger of being sticked in to the paradigm. We are committed to the perceived values of the traditional communities, without having the life experience of a traditional community. It is the situation, because traditional communities do not exist anymore, at least not in our region.
The modernization process in the last two centuries made at least three basic transformations in the traditional communities:
1. The born of the individual
2. The separation from the Mother Nature
3. The opening of the closed communities.
These changes increased the complexity and the self-organizing capacity of the communities. I will consider as opportunities for community development. These changes also created chaos on the level of values and the connection of individual to the community.
We are living in the era of integration. The capability to being integrated is a natural outcome of the development process of the communities. Different levels of newly emerging communities are appearing. The humanity is on the way to build a Global identity, a global community.
The challenge is to maintain traditional values alive, like natural way of life; landscape protection, cooperation and mutual help habits. To increase the capacities in the communities, but in the same time to integrate the communities in the global cooperation framework. Actually we are working with embedded communities (like the onion layers). You can never know where the community borders are.
Proposal of possible solutions for practitioners (the question marks are hope marks)
Create capacities inside and link the community globally, keep the community open.
Communicate the values; translate them to the global community.
Base your activity also on universal values translated to the practice of the local community. Made your community aware of global system and the resources available for them. Support community access to global resources.
Work with individuals. Organize acceptance (inclusion) events and activities.
Organizations are necessary, but not sufficient. They can be good linkers and translators in the integration process.
Community developers should base their activity on the humble acceptance of the existent communities and to adapt their methodology to the specificity of the community. Communities are evolving complex systems. In our days we can find in CEEU communities holding some of the old values of the traditional communities and working on the development of new features and capacities to surf on the global World. Openness and complexity are real challenge for them and for the community developers as well.