Special Articles / Heather Percey, Peter Orpin / Community Work : Theories, Experiences & Challenges
Community development isan important strategy to achieve change and develop communities. It can be a vehicle for community members to take charge of the development of their community by working together collectively. This chapter explores how the formation of Safety-Net Groups in communities can become the means and outcome of community development in rural communities.The process of formation of such groups facilitates the development of social cohesion, community belonging and social capital. The groups themselves provide a safety-net to people who are experiencing social isolation and deprivation.
This paper is based on both field practice and teaching community development subjects at an Australian university. Practice observations and reflections suggest that people affiliate and associate with various groups based on their need and interest. In this paper we examine purposeful formation of Safety-Net Groups as a strategy for community development where people can attain a sense of belonging, and feel protected and safe. We explore Safety-Net Groups (SNGs) in relation to self-help groups, highlighting the potential of SNGs to take on a social action focus. This paper illustrates how SNGs can be developed, fostered and sustained and emphasises SNGs as a valuable and user-friendly tool for community development.
Community development is an integral part of social work education and practice. Community work,organisation or development has been taught as a method of social work practice especially in the developing world. Drawing on field experiences, the authors in this paper discuss the importance of community development in an Australian context and argue for a stronger involvement of community members in community development approaches when delivering professional social work practice through Safety-Net Groups (SNGs). SNGs are sometimes quite visible in rural communities, but they are often not formally organised or recognised as a powerful catalyst for change in communities. Yet, Safety-Net Groups can play an important part in community development processes and result in linking people into communities. Safety-Net Groups need to be fostered and sustained for the best interest of community growth and are useful tools to respond to the grassroots realities of communities.
The conceptualisation of Safety-Net Groups links concepts from community development and group work, and argues for the purposeful use of SNGs in community development. The notion of ‘safety net’ is globally recognised as assisting vulnerable people when they are in need. In the same way as a safety net in a circus is meant to catch acrobats if something goes wrong, safety nets are meant to catch people that are in strife. Thus the World Food Programme, for example, calls for a safety net for vulnerable groups affected by high food prices and natural disasters in Bangladesh (WFP, 2013). Similarly, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme of the Australian Government (Department of Human Services, 2013) is designed to provide a safety net for people who are spending significant amounts of their resources on their medical care. In the common use of the term a safety net is applied to people. SNGs in this discussion are conceptualised slightly differently. Firstly, SNGs are not applied to people, but develop out of the community for the community. The group itself forms to be a safety net. A SNGs can provide a back-up, a support for people. SNGs arise from within the community to support the community. Secondly, SNGs are positioned as a tool for community development. It is argued that SNGs can achieve more than the initial outcome of getting together to form a safety net for the community; the process of getting together and engaging with each other can lead to community growth. SNGs encompass the potential of groups to become ‘… rich sources of social capital and fully realised citizenship’ (McDermott, 2002, p.3). SNGs can become important vehicles for community members to participate meaningfully and purposefully in a globalised world. SNGs can enable participants to strengthen themselves as well as develop social capital for individual and community action (McDermott, 2002).
The conceptualisation and processes of developing, fostering and sustaining Safety-Net Groups will be further expanded with a case study and a diagrammatic presentation in this chapter. The SNG is seen as facilitating an outcome, but also as a power house of change and described as such throughout this paper. Hence the reader will be oriented towards the potential of this group being conceived as evoking social action. SNGs not only provide a wide umbrella for people to come together, but also a way of showing interest in the welfare of the community. In some cases, the SNGs have grown out of a need of interested individuals responding to natural calamities. In other examples there are SNGs which are created with the intention of creating a change in the community. In this paper, we are aiming to discuss the concept of SNGs as a process and an outcome in the context of social change, social action and as a valuable strategy for community development.
Current Contexts Creating the Need for Safety-Net Groups
Communities are under strain in a globalised world, where neo-liberal thinking has resulted in ‘…the promotion of political beliefs, values and practices that promote individual rather than collective responsibility for social problems’ (Wallace &Peace, 2011, as cited in Morley & Dunstan, 2013, p. 142).Globalisation has led to social inequalities in a context of corporate dominance by some and vulnerability of others as transnational corporations pursuetheir own interests (Ganesh, Zoller& Cheney, 2005). Ife(2008, p. 55) argues that ‘Poverty, unemployment, inadequate health care, homelessness, environmental degradation and unequal economic development are all clearly linked to the needs of global capitalism and the so-called economic ‘imperatives’ that are the determinants of social policy in all countries of the world’.Globalisation thus impacts the wellbeing of individuals, but also the community. Safety-Net Groups can be venues to get together to alleviate concerns, but also sites of collective resistance and power bases for social action.Ganesh et al. argue that it is important to examine and recognise the ‘…collective resistance efforts that aim for the transformation of power relations in the global economy’ (2005, p. 177).Local communities are affected by global policies. Chenoweth (2012), for example, outlines that austerity measures have led to globalised welfare reforms, resulting in reduced welfare eligibility and reduced funding of non-Government organisations. Globalisation is increasing the divide between the rich and the poor (Gopalkrishnan, 2003).Safety-Net Groups can allow members to develop an awareness of global and structural issues that impact their communities and develop social action or programs to address these.
Rural communities in Australia may feel the impact of global strategies in various ways; the financial crisis has affected communities, with reductions in income support, education and health services (Dominelli, 2010). Services that used to be provided by full-time professionals in the community are outsourced and transferred to volunteers, impacting local economies (Gopalkrishnan, 2003). Economic hardship and environmental degradation are impacting on communities and there aredisparities between urban and rural areas in terms of standard ofliving and service provision (Dominelli, 2010). Rural Australians are increasingly experiencing poverty and hardship, yet at the same time infrastructures and services are being removed as corporate bodies aim to protect their profits (Packer, Spence &Baere, 2002). Additionally, climate change affects the living conditions of the world. Global warming causes changes to living conditions, food production, water supplies and ecosystems; it produces extreme weather events that impact communities (Stern, 2007, as cited in McKinnon, 2008). Communities across the globe are affected by drought conditions as well as rising sea-water levels and floods, displacing people from their communities (McKinnon, 2008).Rural communities across Australia have felt the impact of climate change. Australia is impacted by extreme weather variability, causing floods and increased risk of fires; therefore rural communities in Australia are impacted by reduced productivity and consequently viability (Buys, Miller,& van Megen, 2012). Communities need to find ways to respond to global conditions and the strains these impose on them. Safety-Net Groups can be part of this response.
Safety-Net Groups and Community Development
A Safety-Net Group is a form of self-help group which provides mutual support and help to people in need (McDermott, 2002). While self-help groups provide information, programs, social networking and support opportunities to people who share common interests or experiences, SNGsare to be seen more as a concept that drives people to come together and then take action together. It does not follow the same membership pattern or structures of self-help which is focused on clinical support, therapeutic in nature or social support; rather it promotes growth, community spirit and takes on an advocacy role in its approach to community building. Self-help groups can also emerge as responses to structural inequalities or concerns and move towards collective action (McDermott, 2002). Thus some self-help groups may develop into SNGs, but what is argued here is that the focus needs to grow beyond the internal focus on the well-being of the group members. Therefore, SNG is an umbrella term that has been used to describe the work carried out by a group of committed members of the community to evoke a community response and to create a safe place for communities. Hence, SNGscan be seen in this context as a community response to natural disasters.
Embedded in the concept of Safety-Net Groups is the notion that ‘Community development is committed to the ideas that people can and should take more collective control and ownership for their resources and their future directions’ (Kenny, 2011 p. 6).Community development as discussed here is about overcoming social exclusion, achieving socially just change, involving change from below, and is based on a commitment to empowering ordinary people (Kenny, 2011). Community development in this sense is looking to identify communities’ strengths to build solutions from within.Community development from a strengths-based strategy is‘... an intervention process used by social workers and other professionals to help individuals, groups, and collectives of people with common interests or from the same geographic areas to deal with social problems and enhance social wellbeing through planned collective action’(Barker, 2003, as cited in Poulin,2010, p.327). A critical element of strength-based community development is the creation and maintenance of positive relationships which are viewed as ‘assets’ (Ennis & West, 2013b, p. 42).‘Community development from an empowering perspective essentially requires practice with the community rather than just for the community, engaging with community members to develop plans and strategies for interventions. The key is working with and thus for the community’ (Eversole, 2012).The local community can provide knowledge and insights that provide more valid perspectives than ‘…mainstream “scientific” or “professional” expert knowledge that typically informs policy and practice’ (Eversole, 2012, p.33). Thus interventions in communities can become more relevant and effective. Although not exclusively for the purpose of community action, Safety-Net Groups can offer a vehicle for this work. In strength-based community development social workers need to develop the skills and ability of the community to get together and to act together. Importantly social workers need to use ‘…interactional skills to help community members make contacts, develop networks, build personal relationships, identify political and economic power in a community, and facilitate coalitions and committees’ (Poulin,2009, p.326).
Kretzmann and McKnight (1993) suggest that significant community development takes place only when local community people are committed to investing themselves and their resources in the effort.It explains why active and successful communities are never built from the top down, or from the outside in.HereSafety-Net Groups are described as locally owned, grown and sustained. They arise out a local concern, suchas natural disasters destroying the livelihood of community members. InSNGscommunity members get together to invest in themselves.It is a development process that is bottom-up rather than a top-down approach (Kenny, 2011).
Working in groups can be a powerful tool for developing social capital in communities. Social capital will help communitiesrespond to the difficulties a globalised life places on community members (McDermott, 2002). Groups come together for different purposes and in different contexts. In groups members are bound by a social experience; they communicate with each other and provide a sense of belonging and some context for getting together (McDermott, 2002).Groups involve people having relationships with each other. The relationships we have with others create the potential for change (Zuchowski, 2011).Groups can emerge as a response to inequitable conditions in society, and as such self-help groups, social action groups and advocacy groups may become sites of resistance tothe status quo (McDermott, 2002). Resistance can be a valid response to the injustices that people experience. To achieve change in society, space needs to be created for individuals to link their personal experiences to structural issues (Zuchowski, 2011). Safety-Net Groups develop into spaces for this exploration.
Participation in Community to Safety-Net Groups
Community is a word that means different things to different people and the meaning can vary depending on how it is used. Most people are members of many different communities at the same time, such as a neighbourhood community, community of friends, school communities, work communities and cultural communities.Belonging to a community teaches people about relationships and values, and enhances connectedness and resilience (Taylor, Wilkinson and Cheers, 2008).Being rejected by a community can result in feelings of alienation, isolation and powerlessness.Feelings of connection to a community can help people to:
Relationships and links between people, groups and organisations that lead to social cohesion and social development can be described as social capital (Kenny, 2011). Social capital builds or strengthens networks of trust and mutuality through strong networks and social relationships (Kenny, 2011). Social capital is a reflection of the relationships between people in the community as a whole.Social capital sets the norms or the implicit rules of how people should treat each other (Taylor et al., 2008). People in communities, however, do not always have the same access to social relationships that form social capital. Marginalised people, people on low incomes, and people of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds often have different access to social relationships from that of more wealthy and powerful people (Tayloret al., 2008). Moreover, communities that already have high levels of social capital can develop these resources at a better level than those lacking in social capital, wealth and power (Kenny, 2011).Important in community development are cross-sectoral partnerships to ‘…enable the community field to come together to solve problems, discuss issues, and work on new programs and initiatives’ (Taylor et al., 2008, p. 180). Therefore, Safety-Net Groups need to be developed to be welcoming and supportive of the broad spectrum of community members, and not to serve exclusively those who have established social relationships and status. This is a challenge that will be discussed further on.
This case study is based on one of the authors’ practice experience as a social worker in a rural part of Australia during 2006-2010. The communities in regional towns were impacted by natural disasters such as prolonged drought, frost and fire, and as a result community members were dealing with a myriad of issues. Communities were physically, financially and emotionally strained; the disaster directly impacted on people’s lives. Many farmers quit their farming business, peopled moved away, and many people suffered significant financial losses. There was an increase of family breakdowns, relationship issues, and cases of mental health problems; suicides were seen as a common occurrence in the local region. Many people in these rural areas remained in their homes without much networking or social contacts, which added to the increased risk of suicide and mental illness in the community. People remained in isolation and many communities did not know how to address the many social issues that were occurring, as the heavy financial loss, the inability to draw more from banks and the seemingly bleak future ahead were weighing heavily on them. It seemed that people had lost hope in the agriculture business and were at a crossroads waiting for a signal to choose their direction of future venture; there was a sense that everything depended on the kindness of nature.
It was in this context in 2006/2007 that a group of 4-5 or 5-6 people started to develop a Safety-Net Group. The people involved were very much interested in the issues that people were facing in the disaster-affected communities. They were community members facing these issues themselves. In the first instance, this Safety-Net Group was something which helped them come together as ‘interested parties’. They found comfort in one another’s company in difficult times. Commencing the process of developing a Safety-Net Group, they found a venue and time to catch up over a cuppa (cup of tea) to discuss their own farming issues and how the situation had taken a toll on their lives.
This was a self-supported group that called itself a ‘safety net group’. The group gradually developed itself and the interest area of their discussion. Moving away from reflecting on their personal issues, the group assumed greater responsibilities for their community and began to discuss the issues that were affecting the whole community..They began to organise community network meetings and discussions. At this stage, a social worker employed in the region was able to link in with this group to undertake some of the community development activities. Creating awareness about mental illness was one among the many. This support from an existing government agency further motivated the group to establish dialogues with other local service providers, churches and NGO representatives. Representatives of various service providers and the Safety-Net Group members formed a ‘mental health action group’. Arising out of the initiative of the Safety-Net Group members, the mental health action group achieved an atmosphere of collaboration and communication between organisations and service providers. Importantly, though, the group also became a powerful voice in the region highlighting the issues of concern for the local people.
First Author’s Reflection on Practice with
The members of the group kept their interest alive. As a practitioner, I also got involved in their community development. While working with them, one of the things that I learned was their interest in the lives of their neighbours and community in general. My involvement as a community worker in the Safety-Net group allowed me to get to know the community, their interests, strengths, concerns and visions. Together with the community support the SNG was able to organise large gatherings, barbecues and exhibitions to simply provide a common place for people to come together at this time of great adversity affecting the communities. This was well received by the local community and the efforts of this group were publicly acknowledged. However, working together as a group, coming together and exploring issues resulted in the community developing a voice and implementing social action; thus the safety net group became an active vehicle for community development. The group became more influential in demanding more services and programs in the region.
What became evident through reflection is that the group did not have any power in the beginning, when they just got together for a chat, but through the process of engaging as a Safety-Net Group they were able to identify community need and community solutions.The SNG enabled participants to move from individual community members affected by disasters to representing the voices of people and their concerns. Through collective action they were able to attract the attention of the policy makers and government officials whereby they became agents of change in their own communities. Safety-Net Groups are village ‘grapevines’ because they talk about community issues, and represent the community at various forums.They became a channel of communication between many service providers and members of the community.
Developing Safety-Net Groups
There are a number of factors that need to be kept in mind while developing Safety-Net Groups. SNGs form as a response to a particular community need or incident. SNGs are also born out of a desire to contribute to the community. These are positive energies that need to be harvested to develop a meaningful and relevant group for concerned members of the community. People do find meaning in contributing to the growth of the community and they take pride in their accomplishments. A close examination of the SNG in the case study reveals that, in general, people like to come together and address some of the issues pertaining to their lives and community in general. Thus in developing Safety-Net Groups the recognition of this positive energy and desire for change supports the development of SNGs.
Margaret Mead once said,‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has’(Moncur, 2013).Social workers/community workers need to believe that change is possible andthat together the group can achieve its desired goals. The initial spark could come from a human service practitioner or from within the group, but an effort has to be made to use the spark and then strengthen the group to continue to work together.
The practitioner supporting Safety-Net Groups needs to comprehend the ways in which the communities operate. Work with SNGs needs to be based on a sound understanding of the community and their concerns and partnerships with key stakeholders (Taylor, et al., 2008). Community workers can establish working relationships with local communities, share the concern of the groups, be emphatic towards community concerns and issues and create a safe place for members to come together in the initial discussion stage. Safe spaces for discussion to raise issues of relevance are important (Zuchowski, 2011); however, creating these is not without challenges. Communities are diverse, and community workers in supporting Safety-Net Groups may need to work with communities to build competencies and intergroup dialogue for working with diversity in community (Checkoway, 2009). Practitioners need to examine their own biases, values, practice framework and access to power when working with communities (Gopalkrishnan, 2008), and can assist the SNG to be welcoming of diverse positions, experiences and viewpoints.Practitioners need to listen and respond to community needs rather than imposing their own ideas (Eversole, 2012).
Practice skills for community workers developing Safety-Net Groups need to include:
In this process of developing Safety-Net Groupsa social worker may be confronted by ideological differences, practice frameworks or challenges to practice. Groups and individuals in towns or small settlements occupy leadership roles innegotiations within and externally to the settlement. Local agendas need to be considered (Taylor et Al., 2008), power imbalances need to be recognised and explored (Kenny, 2011) and the potential for social exclusion of disadvantaged people considered (Conning & Kevane, 2002).
As social workers, we need to be sensitive to the internal political relations between and within various sub-groups and the differential access each of these groups may have to various kinds of resources,including decision making, as well as to the more traditional social services like education, health and income support (Bay, 2012, p.36).
Fostering Safety-Net Groups
Safety-Net Groups are built around networking strategies. Networking is a strategy that connects people and facilitates the sharing of information (Kenny, 2011), making networking an important tool for community development work. SNGs can use and strengthen networks through the relationships people build, thereby creating a new network that will be an asset for the community (Ennis & West, 2013b).Networks are central to community development, and to the purpose of community development as building and strengthening formal and informal networks for the community to be able to take collective action (Gilchrist in Ennis & West, 2013a). Networking skills thus become a core competency. Practitioners need affability, integrity, audacity, adaptability and tenacity to network effectively (Gilchrist, 2004). Gilchrist (in Ennis & West, 2013a) highlights the importance of umbrella bodies as intermediary bodies, facilitators or brokers, allowing key players and organisations to connect into more formal partnerships. Ennis and West (2013a) explore the concept of social capital, and the critique of network approaches through this concept; and they highlight that there is a complex interplay of people’s ties and that people may need to move outside homogeneous groups and networks to bring diverse people together and link varied groups.
In developing a Safety-Net Group it has to be considered how some people who have less social status or are disadvantaged in some way can effectively participate.Communities are not homogeneous.‘The problems of social exclusion and entitlement failure that dictate and condition a person’s capability deprivation are often deeply rooted in local social divisions and the way the community operates and regulates access to resources’ (Conning & Kevane, 2002, p.389). Issues of social and economic inequalities impact people’s ability to participate in networks and develop ties (Portes, 1998, as cited in Ennis & West, 2013a). Ennis and West acknowledge these potential inequalities, and suggest that such umbrella bodies can draw attention to this and consider itwhen forming networks and tying links (2013a). Ennis and West’s (2013a) research suggests that an umbrella body can be valuable for networking, strengthening affiliations, developing ideas and education, but needs role clarity and a facilitator.A SNG may become an umbrella body or may be supported by an umbrella body to function effectively.
Safety-Net Groups need to be fostered. The social work practitioner needs to have a solid knowledge base about community development and group work principles, strategies and processes. Working with SNGs needs to be guided by the local community agenda rather than the worker’s or their organisation’s agenda (Eversole, 2012; Kenny, 2011). Ideally the community worker works from a strengths-based perspective. Strength-based practice in community development does not focus on the deficits of the community, but rather on its own strength (Francis, 2012).Strength-base practice is about enabling people to work autonomously with people by collaborating with them (Francis, 2012).Thus community workers would recognise the strengths of individuals and communities to design service delivery responses. This way of working requires a sound knowledge base, practice experience and a willingness to engage with communities and groups.Participation in safety groups needs to be meaningful.Participants need to be also able to participate in their own right, thus community workers need to create spaces in which communities and organisations can participate together (Eversole, 2012). The task of a community worker is to build spaces and processes where the powerless and the powerful can participate (Eversole, 2012).
The case study reveals that there is a great synergy between using a community development model of practice and focusing on capacity building interventions (Maidment, 2012). Maidment (2012) highlights that social work practitioners must become as one with the community and its needs, to accurately tap into actual and potential resources for intervention, and to gain a sense of the best way to foster community well-being. A social worker can foster Safety-Net Groups by supporting the group’s initiatives, providing ongoing mentoring support and demonstrating that he/she is interested in the work being undertaken by Safety-Net Groups.
Diagram 1 explains the process of setting up a Safety-Net Group. It has to happen naturally, in the sense that people need to be interested, see the group as relevant to themselves. However, practitioners need to have some idea of community organising which will help them enter the lives of the community and develop the voice of the people for community development initiatives. This happens quite naturally in times of natural calamities, but the life span of such initiatives can be short.Yet, an organised and planned Safety-Net Group with community support can be a vehicle for community development, and can engage in processes to influence the policy makers and service providers in the region. For a Safety-Net Group to lead to community growth, the group needs to develop and enter another stage of the group and community development process. Diagram 2 illustrates that in the first phase the practitioner needs to establish community visits, talks and a relationship with the community and identify community concerns. The second phase involves establishing partnerships. This is an important prerequisite for the third phase in which programs are implemented or social action or other interventions take place to address identified issues. The review of progress, challenges and achievement is the fourth phase of the process. Lastly, it is important to celebrate achievements and reflect on improvement, and consider further action.
Safety-Net Groups initially are primarily groups of volunteers coming together to be in one another’s company to share and discuss their own issues arising in the aftermath of a natural calamity or other issues. In other circumstances, people may not have come together; it is the crisis affecting the whole community which has pooled them together to be part of this group. SNGs could be of sporadic nature, but if fostered and sustained have the power to effect changes in communities. As group members identify concerns and come together to hold initial discussions they need support to form a group, be inclusive and relevant to group members. As a next step, though, Safety-Net Groups have the potential to be vehicles of change in communities. SNGs can become ‘a power base’ (McDermott, 2002). For this to happen, community members need to be willing to be part of the community development process, an agent of social transformation and continuously involved in collaborative practice (Kenny, 2011).
Safety-Net Groups thus can develop community action if the members feel disappointed with the existing systems in the society. Therefore, groups emerge as a response to structural conditions and, as such, embody sites of resistance to the status quo.These groups take as their focus the development of collective action. This might include using the group process of sharing perspectives as a means of consciousness-raising (McDermott, 2002). Rather than seeing this in the context of either/or, or SNGs with different purposes, all SNGs have the potential for social action. Thus, while some SNGs may come together as a response to a need to connect people better or offer support in times of need, each can consider the needs of the community and identify change and change strategies.
Some of the elements that we have noticed in the Safety-Net Groups are as follows:
Discussion: Safety-Net Groupsare a Valuable
Approach to Community Development
The development of Safety-Net Groups needs to be based on the principle of community development. SNGs need to be developed with community members through collaborative processes. They require a respect for community members and their ideas and knowledge and access to existing knowledge and resources (Kenny, 2011).
In establishing and fostering a Safety-Net Group the social structures in the community need to be considered. For SNGs to be effective they need to encourage and facilitate the participation of vulnerable and potentially socially excluded community members; otherwise the first function of SNGs, that is about social support and providing a safety net will not reach all community members. Social divisions need to be broken down and the participation of those who are disadvantaged needs to be facilitated; all community members need to be able to contribute and participate in community. Particularly, though,community workers need to assist in creating ‘…valid and lasting opportunities for participation through which the poor can establish and press for claims against national and local government when this becomes necessary’ (Conning & Kevane, 2002, p.389). In other words, communities and individuals need to be able to use SNGs as a vehicle for participation in the civil society.
Safety-Net Groups once established can be a vehicle to get the community involved in decisions that affect community. Strengths-based community development is about facilitating the capacity of the community to identify potential solutions (Poulin, 2009). SNGs can also enrich the practice of community workers. Our reflections suggest that times of crisis provide opportunities for practitioners to engage in creative ways of practice.Challenges can ‘… provide a rich source of professional enlivenment where social workers tend to have more freedom to respond to situations in diverse and innovative ways’ (Pugh&Cheers, 2010, as cited in Maidment & Bay, 2012, p.17).
In this paper we have discussed the concept of Safety-Net Groups in rural Australia. We have argued that, in a rapidly changing environment it is important to look after one another; this is particularly important in the rural communities in Australia that are confronted with natural disasters and crises on a regular basis. The concepts discussed in this chapter and the case study highlight the need for community development work that supports the important work people carry out in extreme circumstances. Community development through SNGs is described as a valuable example of collaborative practice building the social capital in a rural context. SNGs are an expansion of the great legacy of this country where ‘mateship’ and comradeship are closely held to the chest of Australians. Drawing on experiences and critical reflections, the authors have provided some lessons for practitioners and students embarking on a journey in community development.
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