Community development pulls together the idea of community and development. Many communities have failed to attain development due to lack of knowledge in the principles that need to be applied when pursuing developmental goals. The knowledge and application of the principles that define community development is fundamental for every development-oriented individual and practitioner since it puts the interested parties in the right track to sustainable development. A community by definition entails integration of various entities (human beings and environment) that make one unit called ‘community’ and in this unit there is interaction among human beings themselves, and human beings with the environment. Development on the other hand consists of improvements in the well being of citizens and the capacity of economic, political and social systems to provide the circumstances for that well being on a sustainable, long-term basis (Barder, 2012). Community development can therefore be defined as a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common economic, social, environmental, cultural and political problems. Community-based natural resources management (CBNRM) on the other hand is an approach under which communities become responsible for managing natural resources (forests, land, water, biodiversity) within a designated area (Donnay and Webbie, 2011). However the basis of CBNRM lies in the community development process where collective action is required to have an effective CBNRM program. CBNRM programs are implemented worldwide and they aim to spur rural development while improving natural resource management (Boggs 2000; World Wildlife Fund for Nature 2006). In this paper, I will discuss how the principles of community development relate to the fundamental requirements of a successful and sustainable community based natural resource management program. The three principles to be discussed are empowerment, inclusion/participation and upstream approach.
Principles of Community Development and Sustainable Community Based Natural Resource Management Linkage
The first principle, empowerment, is one of the key principles of community development because without empowerment of the people, a claim cannot be made that community development has taken place. In empowerment, people’s abilities are identified, recognized and encouraged. Empowerment focuses on identifying capabilities instead of cataloging risk factors (Perkins and Zimmerman, 1995). The term empowerment in itself denotes that there is powerlessness. According to Lerner (1986), there are two kinds of powerlessness; real and surplus, each of which has an impact on community development. Real powerlessness results from inequities and oppressive control excised by the system and other people while surplus powerlessness is when an individual has an internalized belief that change cannot occur. Both of these affect...