Achievements of the community development process
Community development professionals today associate achievements of community development processes with the concept of change. The purely quantitative results (e.g. turnout at a community discussion) are regarded as only partial results, a stage in the development process, while actual achievements always mean some sort of change. In line with the European framework of community development, achievements of the process may appear on four levels:
(1) individual, (2) communal, (3) social, (4) political/structural. Individual achievements such as better qualifications, a widened intellectual horizon, an extended personal network, a more targeted and responsible attitude. Community achievements: the community becomes tighter and more inclusive, the social capital grows, and the community’s skills in representation and advocacy improve. The community may also improve its skills in launching and managing local initiatives, projects and services. On a social level, development achievements result from the community’s own activities or from their discussions with organizations providing services. These results may concern a number of areas, e.g. access to financial resources, employment perspectives, social care and support, environmental sustainability, cultural and sports opportunities as well as issues of safety. These may also be termed as quality of life achievements. On the political and structural levels, community development processes may generate activities going beyond the boundaries of communities, taken in a strict sense. These may mobilise forces for shared issues and concerns which would otherwise go unnoticed. One such achievement may be a more efficient operation of the public services in response to community needs, extended participation of communities in policy-related developments, or a stronger consciousness and attention to problems related to restrictions and inequalities and their impact on the whole of society.