Towards sustainable community development in Uttaranchal, India

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Key words: Sustainable Community Development, participation, empowerment, Uttaranchal, social capital, education, context, self-reliance, and spirituality. The purpose of this Masters Degree Project (MDP) is to study the practice of community development as implemented by a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) called the Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK) in Uttaranchal, India. The project studied is named the Prakriya project and involves social, environmental and economic development in a hundred villages in the Garhwal region of Uttaranchal state. A theoretical basis is set up on the basis of Prakriya project objectives, and these are compared against field observations. Recommendations are aimed at the gaps found in this comparison. The primary findings of the study were that the main strength of the region lies in its social capital and that the Prakriya project needs to enhance this social capital for sustainable community development. For this end, the project needs improvement in the fields of participation and education. · The main ways recommended to do this are by actively educating the project team workers as well as the communities on the principles and practices within sustainable community development (SCD) theory. The spiritual element that is traditionally present in the region is also key to adding meaning to the development process. The main recommendations of this study are to actively keep in mind the fourfold (economic, ecological, social and spiritual) components of SCD and consciously pursue them in the project. The other recommendations include education and training, better participation, monitoring and evaluation, better networking, leading by example, enhancing social capital, and the incorporation of local culture and fun into the project in order for it to be more effective. In my conclusion, I recommend that further research be conducted in finding improved ways of communication between theory and practice in the field of community development such that each is informed better by the other.
Bibliography: p. 145-150
Roy, D. (2002). Towards sustainable community development in Uttaranchal, India (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/13873