Baptist World Aid Australia’s Community Development programs seek to address the needs of communities, end injustice and restore God’s purposes for community.
The Bible reveals that people were created to live and enjoy life in community with sufficient access to all the resources necessary to help them develop and thrive. For many living in our world, this is simply not the case, with the many causes of poverty depriving communities of their wellbeing, and ultimately harming God’s original purposes
What is Community Development?
Our Community Development programs work with communities to identify the causes of their poverty and discover ways they can use their strengths to enhance community wellbeing. This process is based on the idea that development is not about outsiders providing resources like wells or schools, rather it help communities to build their own solutions to the problems they face.
Our Community Development programs encourage communities to:
- Take responsibility for their development
- Participate in decisions that affect them
- Mobilise and develop their own abilities to combat the effects of poverty
- Empower individuals, families and community groups to take control of their future
- Develop awareness of their rights and advocate for them, and
- Transform community systems to meet their needs
How it works - Community Development in Nepal
We work through local partner organisations that can identify and provide culturally appropriate ways to help people out of their poverty.
For example, in Maidi, Nepal, one of Baptist World Aid’s partners, United Mission to Nepal (UMN), is working with a poor community with serious social and economic challenges. UMN have helped the community to identify important areas of need including:
- The need for government provision of essential services including health care, education and technical know-how for improved agricultural yield
- Protection of women who are being discriminated against due to a gender bias
- Recognition and protection of this lower caste community who are being exploited by a higher caste community with control over water resources
Having identified these barriers to the community’s well-being UMN is now providing the community with support to draw on their strengths and address these issues. For example:
- Farmers who were suffering from poor crop yield are given agricultural training to improve their yields.
- Disempowered women are encouraged to join self-help groups which have enabled them to build their confidence and express their opinions.
- The community are mobilised to petition the government to regain access to their original water sources.
All around the world, Baptist World Aid is working through local partner organisations to empower communities to address the problems in their communities and lift themselves out of poverty.