AFADU’s approach is two fold.
We actively promote a community development approach and successfully involve community members in developing a community engagement approach to achieve real outcomes.
Community development project approach
a process of working with communities, in an environment that advocates the full and active participation of all community members, to assist their members to find plausible solutions to the problems they have identified, so that Indigenous people understand and acquire skills to develop culturally appropriate programs and services for their communities”(Sherwood, 1999)
- Promote active and representative citizen participation so that community members can meaningfully influence decisions that affect their lives
- Engage community members in problem diagnosis so that those affected may adequately understand the causes of their situations.
- Help community leaders understand the economic, social, political, environmental, and psychological impact associated with alternative solutions to the problem
- Assist community members in designing and implementing a plan to solve agreed-upon problems by emphasizing shared leadership and active citizen participation in that process
- Disengage from any effort that is likely to adversely affect the disadvantaged segments of a community
- Actively work to increase leadership capacity (skills, confidence, and aspirations) in the community.
Successful use of a community development process to involve community members in developing and implementing locally appropriate health initiatives.
Participation and empowerment are key factors in sustainable development. Local ‘ownership’ is essential to sustain capacity but depends on wide-spread participation, which in turn requires empowerment.
Empowerment occurs when people realise that they can make a contribution or solve problems, and they have a right and responsibility to do so.
Many factors work against empowerment: a lack of self-confidence and experience in resolving issues, an environment that thwarts self-help efforts.
Participatory development aims to assist individuals and communities in overcoming these obstacles to development.
Participatory approaches emphasise strengths – the skills, knowledge, and resources available already – and through success builds confidence, motivation, and problem-solving strategies.
As communities gain a sense of control over their lives this leads to further community action and communal cohesion (social capital).
Empowerment leads to people, organisations, and communities gaining control over their lives, enabling them to move from powerless non-participants to active and effective citizens.
It is based on the premise that people know best about their own needs and resources: if all community members are involved at all stages then programs have a far greater chance of success than those imposed from ‘outside’ or ‘above’.
Sustainable development cannot be achieved without massive advances in the empowerment of women and minority groups.