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Capacity-Focused Community Development, A Case Study in Operating Areas of Unocal Indonesia Company
Community Development (CD), most of the time, is problematic. The way CD problems are addressed may lead us to two divergent paths. One approach, which is practiced by many institutions, focuses on a community's needs, deficiencies, and problems. This approach is then translated into local programs and activities. This approach makes local communities begin to see themselves as people with special needs that can only be met by outsiders. The local communities become consumers of services, and see themselves as fundamentally deficient, incapable of taking charge of their lives and of their community's future.
An alternative approach starts by focusing on a community's capacities and assets. This alternative leads toward the development of policies and activities based on the capacities, skills, and assets of the community. This approach starts with what is present in the community, the capacities of its residents and workers, and the institutional base of the area (not with what is absent, or with what is problematic, or with what the community needs). In a community whose capacities and assets are being fully recognized and mobilized, the local community will be part of the action, not as clients or recipients of aid, but as full contributors to the community-building process.
Unocal Indonesia Company - Balikpapan has applied Capacity-Focused Community Development since 2000. The concept has been developed, tested, and evaluated in several different pilot projects within a limited local community. The results have been very positive. The application of this concept is now being further implemented, involving more local communities near Unocal operating areas.
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