Child Centred Community Development approach
The Child Centred Community Development model has the following characteristics:
- Child centred
- Children's participation
- Community development
- Long term
- Requiring an effort by all
- Children's development
Plan recognises that poverty has its greatest impact on children, and that the experience of poverty as a child can have lasting consequences into adult life. The focus of our development work is therefore on building communities where children’s needs are met and where they can grow and develop.
By taking part in development activities children acquire skills and confidence that not only help them now but in later life. Children often want to discuss issues that adults sometimes avoid such as abuse and relationship problems. Greater openness helps families and communities to address important problems that affect children and often improves relationships.
When given support and opportunity, children can be effective in educating other children and adults on matters of importance to them all. They can also express their needs effectively in national and international forums.
Plan also recognises that children’s lives will be better only when their family and community situation improves as well. Adults - particularly those from vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities - need to actively participate in community development and ensure that their interests are met.
Plan believes that a long term effort is required to break the cycle of poverty and enable the children of today to grow into adults who are able to fulfil their potential. In many cases this means working with communities for 10 to 15 years.
The causes and consequences of poverty are complex. An integrated approach is necessary to tackle its root causes, such as the allocation of resources for basic services, as well as its consequences, such as poor health.
If child poverty is to be successfully tackled a global movement on behalf of and involving children is required. Plan links disadvantaged children, their families and communities to local and national organisations and governments so that they can work together. We also link our supporters to children and their communities through sponsorship and program funding opportunities. We encourage deeper understanding and through development education and campaigns to influence the policy of donors in the interests of children.
Child Centred Community Development is informed by the best available thinking on how children develop. In the past it seemed simply enough to deal with children's immediate physical needs when they were living in poverty. We now know that children's social and emotional needs are just as important. We also know that there are critical stages in a child's development such as early childhood, which largely determine a child's potential. These early stages require special attention.