Saturday, May 9, 2009

Slow Community Development

Community Development is about supporting a community making changes. It tends to be one of those high stress, high burn out professions. One reason is that a lot of communities have such complex difficulties, and a lot of community development workers are badly paid and have jobs that take up many more hours than they are paid for.
I have worked in a Women's Refuge, in a Young Women's Emergency Housing Service, with Emergency Relief, coordinating Volunteers, running Community Health programs as well as holding teaching positions that had community development components.
When chronic illness pushed me out of the workforce I thought I would never be involved in Community Development again. But when I began a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome support project I called it 'The Tortoise Project' to remind me to go very slowly.
To my delight, by considering each step in light of my health and the needs of the project, I found I was amazingly productive. When I read about the Slow Food Movement (set up to counteract fast food proliferation) I realised that what I was doing was Slow Community Development. I am committed to it, not only becuse of my illness, but because it is the best way to do Community Development.

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