SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FOR NATIONAL GROWTH.
Imagine a community where the land, air, and water are clean. A community where the water supplies fully meet the demand of the population and everyone enjoys access to locally supplied safe and healthy foods, wildlife flourishes, and the landscape is pleasing to the eye.
Imagine still within that same community there is full access to quality affordable education and health facilities. Now, in such a community we expect full participation and a spirit of cooperation from all the people there.
- E. Swisher and K. N. Monaghan noted that sustainable communities are characterized by three aspects. That is, sustainable communities are:
Environmentally Sound: Decision-making focuses on reducing the impacts of population growth and the development of natural resources and the environment.
Economically Productive: Community members make local capital investments that will sustain local human and natural resources and yield adequate financial returns on those investments.
Socially Just: Equitable access to resources and decision-making processes foster the distribution of foods and benefits across all sectors of the community.
Our approach toward sustainable community development is good as a nation to some extent but the way we manage most of our projects is what draws us backward. This is supported by unjust forms of social systems within our country Kenya.
A few years ago, the government came up with the “Kazi kwa vijana initiative” which unfortunately got drained even before the real fruits could be harvested. Such a program had a lot of hope in the cleaning of the environment and fostering local development projects. Today a lot of youths are jobless which could provide enough labor hence reducing project times. Today, it is a story to be given to future generations.
Youth fund and NYS
After the derailing of the “Kazi kwa vijana” came another lovely initiative by the current government. I am supporting most of these programs since they enable the redistribution of wealth within the masses, an approach that can help us reduce the corruption in the country. The fact that huge money is controlled by a few individuals in the economy is a simple fact to steer corruption to the next level.
This is what has happened to the youth fund and the NYS programs that were flagged by the president. The primary objective was to find ways of providing self-employment for the youth in Kenya by availing them of funding in form of affordable loans for youth projects. For the NYS, they were to participate in major projects such as cleaning our cities and also providing technical skills in building even cheap and decent housing in slums and low-class areas. The first project that was launched in Kibera started well but unfortunately, it could not carry on to other places; reason, misappropriation of funds.
It is corruption, nepotism, and ethnicity that killed and will continue to kill most of these projects. Our leaders should first, both in government and those in charge of government projects, recognize that we are one big community as a nation and tribal boundaries should be done away with.
With this in mind, just like other communities that are empowered by sustainable economic development goals, we should set our vision out clearly and draw a road map to take us there. We should share common themes and concerns such as economic security, environmental protection, social justice, and a commitment to the welfare of future generations.
Achieving sustainable community developments
Most of these can be achieved by streamlining our justice systems such that people who joke with community resources are brought to book and their accounts ripped open and the cash returned to the community for development; no negotiation on this.
More investments should be taken to the sub-counties and the public be given all details of the projects undertaken so that they can be part of those developments to enhance accountability. Our water resources, forests, and wildlife should be guarded properly with strong policies that empower the communities around them such that they can be part of the environmental conservation agenda; we can do better on this.
Let us make the people believe that they can solve most of their problems and shape their future by being active participants in community developments and programs. The communities can come up with such programs as locally managed scholarships, local security system networks that work to provide security locally, ways of fostering unity and love through community social activities, and even properly and technologically advanced agricultural methods can be embraced to drive our country to reap huge economic and social growth.
These can be started small and soon other stakeholders can get attracted on the way and be part of these transformative programs on a bigger scale. It is such sustainable partnerships that will see these programs take root locally and even within the region and hence transform millions of lives.
More additional added to the original version of this article which was published on this site in 2016.