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Community Rebuilding Principles

Community & Social Development Team - CSD

Community Rebuilding Principles

The above interim principles only serve to start the community development process by making sure that the community does not get weaker before it gets stronger.  They are not about helping the community move forward, but rather focus on making sure that the community does not go backwards.  A different and more comprehensive set of principles is required to drive change at the personal, family and community levels.

A Practical Guide to Building Sustainable Communities outlines 16 such principles, summarized as follows:

    1.   Human beings can transform their world: The web of our relationships with others and the natural world, which has given rise to the problems we face as a human family, can be changed.

      2.   Development comes from within: The process of human and community development unfolds from within each person, relationship, family organization, community, and nation.

      3.   Healing is a necessary part of development: Healing the past, closing up old wounds and learning healthy habits of thought and action to replace dysfunctional thinking and disruptive patterns of human relations is a necessary part of the process of sustainable development.

      4.   Justice: Every person (regardless of gender, race, age, culture, religion) must be accorded equal opportunity to participate in the process of healing and development and to receive a fair share of the benefits.

      5.   No vision, no development: A vision of who we can become, and what a sustainable world would be like, works as a powerful magnet, drawing us to our potential.

      6.   Authentic development is culturally based. Healing and development must be rooted in the wisdom, knowledge and living processes of the culture of the people.

      7.   Interconnectedness:  Everything is connected to everything else.  Therefore, any aspect of our healing and development is related to all others (personal, social, cultural, political, economic, etc...). When we work on any one part, the whole circle is affected.

      8.   The hurt of one is the hurt of all; the honour of one is the honour of all. The basic fact of our oneness as a human family means that development for some at the expense of well-being for others is not acceptable or sustainable.

      9.   Unity. Unity means oneness.  Without unity, the common oneness that makes (seemingly) separate human beings into “community” is impossible.  Disunity is the primary disease of community.

      10.   No participation, no development. Participation is the active engagement of the minds, hearts and energy of the people in the process of their own healing and development.

      11.   Spirit. Human beings are both material and spiritual in nature.  It is therefore inconceivable that human community could become whole and sustainable without bringing our lives into balance with the requirements of our spiritual nature.

      12.   Morals and ethics. Sustainable human and community development requires a moral foundation.  When morals decline and ethical principles are violated, development stops.

      13.   Learning. Human beings are learning beings.  We begin learning while we are still in our mothers’ wombs, and unless something happens to close off our minds and paralyse our capacity, we keep on learning throughout our entire lives.

      14.   Sustainability. To sustain something means to enable it to continue for a long time.  Authentic development does not use up or undermine what it needs to keep on going.

      15.   Move to the positive. Solving the critical problems in our lives and communities is best approached by visualizing and moving into the positive alternative that we wish to create, and by building on the strengths we already have, rather than on giving away our energy fighting the negative.

      16.   Be the change you want to see. The most powerful strategies for change always involve positive role modeling and the creation of living examples of the solutions we are proposing.  By walking the path, we make the path visible.

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