The Institute of Development Management’s (IDM) efforts of anchoring community development in collaboration with Department of Community Development in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development are bearing fruits since inception of the partnership in 2014.
These sentiments were shared by the Director of IDM Botswana campus Dr Onalenna Seitio Kgokgwe during a joint consultative progress review meeting in Gaborone on Friday. Dr Kgokgwe said the Memorandum of Understanding between IDM and Department of Community Development was signed in 2014 and since then remarkable progress has been achieved in uplifting and developing of local communities. “Our community development project partnership has yielded positive results over the years and this is because all the stakeholders are playing crucial role in assessing how communities need to be empowered and economically developed in a way that such communities can be able to sustain themselves and possibly earn a living out of the community action plans implemented within a given community'' reflected Dr Kgokgwe.
She further noted that IDM as an institution of learning is also keen on community development as shown by offering of community development based courses such as Bachelor’s Degree in Community Development. She also pointed out that the institution also develops short term programmes to train and upgrade skills of community development officers.
For his part, the Director of Community Development in the Ministry of Local Government, Steven Ludick underscored that the joint partnership IDM has resulted in formulation of effective strategic plans to drive community development plans. Ludick pointed out that community development is not a new phenomenon citing Ipelegeng as a long term example of community development. He said new approaches need to be implemented to move for better modernized community development projects. He added: “The need to develop and empower the societies is very important aspect of economic diversification and this could make local governance structures such as the Village Development Committees (VDC’s) more effective in order to create conducive environment for better economic empowerment,” he emphasised.
Ludick said the collaboration with IDM has helped to facilitate successful development plans such as the Mantshwabisi Primary School Computer project which has progressed well and will be unveiled soon.
Commenting at the forum, one of the participants Mathias Chida, who is also the Deputy Director Academic Services at IDM, hailed the initiative saying that it is a great milestone and called for more community assessments to be undertaken. He also applauded the fact that the initiative has also trained people to be community development officers in some parts of the country.
Some of the partnership implemented development orientated activities or priorities for 2018 include among others accreditation of Community Development Modules, development of research agenda and the formulation of Community Action Plans by IDM, DCD and Mantshwabisi community and handover of Mantswabisi project.
Dr Kgokgwe reiterated that “there is also a need to give students more exposure in community development projects as to equip them with practical experience as well". She noted that implementation of student’s partnership with NGOs who conduct community development projects is another way to go. She also pinpointed that there is local governance project which is conducted by IDM and therefore it was figured out that it is not connected with community development as well as that Department of Business needs to be on board so that that it can equips locally owned community businesses with essential business skills for better sustainable development.