There are many issues that have been and still need to be addressed in communities all around the world. For example, substandard and affordable housing, low wages, poor health and health conditions, low educational achievements, unsafe living environments, discrimination, and non-existing job markets are some of the daily challenges the disenfranchised and marginalized communities have to face. It is very common for people in power to deny or ignore that an imbalance of wealth and injustices exists and often will blame those affected by those injustice by using mendacious statistics and stereotypes. The socially and economically marginalized community members are often portrayed as lazy, lacking education and having a lifestyle that prevents them from joining mainstream society. Consequently, internalized oppression becomes one of the biggest hurdles faced by many communities and it takes organization collaborating to confront these issues. Social action involves efforts to increase the power and resources of low-income or relatively powerless or marginalized people, (2013, CTB). Community organization is the process of people coming together to address issues of mutual concern.
The process of community organizing is challenging at times because citizen involvement is the primary catalyze for change and there are times when people refuse to organize or participate in the struggle. “The community” is not a monolith, but a complex organism with many alliances and subgroups. The community needs to be engaged in order to identify concerns, goals, and abilities, but there may not be consensus on these items, (2010, Safer Homes). Some citizens see the actions of a particular group to have ulterior motives and thereby refusing support or participate.
Community organizations can encourage and strengthen a community action initiative in at least three ways: The first involves identifying the strengths and weaknesses of existing policies and service that are in place, which is the first order of leadership. When issues are identified and addressed by the people affected by them, as well as by others concerned, two things happen. The issues are more likely to be resolved successfully, and the people involved learn how to use their own resources to take charge of their lives and their communities. A second way of strengthening a community initiative is through a visible commitment from community leaders and other decision makers to produce action by deciding and communicating what is needed with the common goal of the community in mind. The third is by Monitoring or conducting assessments or other forms of oversight of project/program expenditures for the community with shared information of achievements and progress. By creating appropriate policy and environments, encouraging social action, providing personal skills, and reorienting services to a more wide-ranging approach, communities can foster citizen empowerment and equity, (2013, CTB).
Community tool box (2013) Some Lessons Learned on Community Organization and Change. Retrieved from http://ctb.ku.edu/en//tablecontents/sub_section_tools_1386.htm
Safer Homes, Stronger Communities: A Handbook for Reconstructing after Natural Disasters (January, 2010) Community organizing and participation. Retrieved fromhttp://www.gfdrr.org/sites/gfdrr.org/files/Chapter_12_Community_Organizi…