Jun 30, 2011, 12:32 PM
Recently, there was a two-day mid-term review meeting for the Community Driven Development Project (CDDP) held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
The CDDP, which is a five-year development intervention that aims to contribute to the reduction of poverty in the rural areas of The Gambia, was jointly financed by the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank, the Japanese government and the government of The Gambia.
Such an initiative could not have come at a better time, when numerous reports on development issues now point to the need to embrace the idea of harnessing community-driven project initiatives to rejuvenate localities.
Fostering such activity is seen to bolster the community spirit, encourage local solutions to local problems, promote local democratic renewal, and provide a vehicle for delivering support to those in need.
To harness community project initiatives in rural areas in ways that improve the material circumstances of low-income populations, the 'third sector' approach of developing existing community-based groups, will need to be replaced by what some referred to as a 'fourth sector' approach that seeks to further develop one-to-one reciprocity.
On the one hand, it includes formal community-based and 'third sector' organisations. These range from the informal to the formal voluntary organisations.
In popular culture, there persists a picture of a rural idyllic community in which everybody knows and supports one another.
This view of rural life is regularly reinforced by studies that find community spirit to be stronger in the rural communities than in urban areas.
Like what the World Bank representative said at the start of the review meeting, there is the need for the CDDP to be given to the community to take ownership of the project.