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Principles and Reasoning Behind the Skills

by Phil Bartle, PhD

Training Handout

The concepts and principles that the mobilizer must understand

What is development? community development?

Community participation? Poverty? Community?

Empowerment? Transparency? Sustainability?

These words are discussed in the "Keywords.")

To be a successful mobilizer, you need more than a few technical skills in public dialogue and organizing groups for action. You need to know why to use those skills. You need to know principles.

If your target is a community, then you should know some sociological concepts about the nature of communities and the nature of social change (including development) of communities.

This means that you need some understanding of social organization, the subject matter of sociology, anthropology, economics, politics, and the forces and processes that belong to those disciplines. (See "Culture.")

Right now it is not necessary to have a university degree, but you should teach yourself the principles and knowledge of those subjects.

If you want to strengthen (empower) a low income community you must understand the enemy, which is the dependency syndrome. (See: "Dependency"). If your aim is the removal or eradication of poverty, you need to know more than the symptoms and results of poverty.

You also need to understand the causes of poverty, in order to support and promote changes that will counteract those causes.

You must see that poverty alleviation merely reduces the pain, temporarily, but does not contribute to poverty eradication.

Poverty is not merely a question of money, and money alone will not eradicate poverty. (See "Principles of Poverty Reduction").

If you look in "Key Words," you will find a fairly comprehensive list of basic concepts for the community worker.

With each you will not find a dictionary definition; you will find a few notes relevant to the purposes of this hand book: how to be a mobilizer.

A later module, Principles of Community Empowerment, shows you in more detail the principles that lie behind the methods and skills that are available to you on this web site.

Do not memorize those notes. Think about each concept. Write about them in your journal.

Discuss them with colleagues at meetings, conferences, workshops. During your relaxing times, after work with friends, take a little time away from discussing football scores to talk about one or two of these concepts.

Trying to learn "once and for all" is like trying to eat, "once and for all."

Learning, like community empowerment, should never end. When you stop learning, you are dead.


© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
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Last update: 2012.05.10

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