- Written/Submitted by John Lwong
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This is a critical time for community based organizations working in our communities inside Southern Sudan. More than 60 or so community based organizations now operate throughout the region, and collectively they control over $3 million or more in assets.
Their contributions to community well-being are widely acknowledged and respected; local civic leaders and national organizations often turn to them to lead pivotal community improvement efforts. But community organizations also face two interrelated challenges that cut to the heart of their mission and effectiveness. First, the communities in which they work are becoming more complex and fragmented. In many cities and suburbs, populations are more ethnically and socio-economically diverse.
Commercial development, housing, and jobs are more regionally scattered. Mechanisms for raising public funds, providing public services, and making public decisions are more concentrate. Local civic leadership is being eroded by corporate consolidation and other factors. Meanwhile, the non-profit sector is growing in both size and diversity, often without the organizational infrastructure or funding required for optimal performance. Second, the fundraising environment for community based organizations is becoming more competitive. Well-financed national corporations like Fidelity, as well as smaller, local financial service providers, have emerged as competitors for the same philanthropic dollars. Increasingly, individual donors want direct involvement with their small giving and demand measures of high impact and accountability without considering the state and local budget constraints which have no capacity at the movement for the public sector support for meeting critical social needs in Southern Sudan.
Community based organizations are responding to these challenges by building on their distinctive position and history of community leadership. They are taking on more complexes and demanding roles to convene, connect, inform, influence, and lead solutions to pressing problems. They are helping their communities take broader, bolder, and more comprehensive steps to build better futures. And they are connecting their donors to these efforts, expanding the influence, resources, and knowledge that are brought to bear. In short, they are becoming ?community change makers.? From their inception, community based organizations have added value to communities in ways that extend far beyond donor services delivery. The range and significance of community based organizations? leadership has grown in recent years, however. It now takes many forms depending on the character, challenges, culture, and external opportunities present in specific communities. It depends also on organizations? internal factors; including the proportion of restricted funds they receive, the number and capacity of staff, the age of the institution, the nature of the board, and the geographic focus.
All community based organizations face competing pressures and must make tough choices about where and how to deploy their resources. This means there is a great deal of variety in roles across organizations and communities. Nonetheless, groups of community organizations around the country are becoming active change makers. They consistently find, foster, and connect the pieces of their communities into united and effective forces for positive change. 1 CONTRIBUTING IDEAS AND INFORMATIONIdeas and information can catalyze changes in minds, behavior, and communities.Some community based organizations are harnessing the power of information by creating new knowledge and introducing new ideas. They translate national and state issues to the local context. They stimulate and shape community dialogue about solutions to critical local problems. And they mobilize community attention around tough issues.2 Building Useful Knowledge In many communities, existing knowledge sheds little light on pressing community problems or possible solutions. Community based organization leaders and staff can help fill the void by surfacing knowledge of local conditions. They understand the local context. They know their community?s history, organizations, and politics. They have first-hand contact with community problems. They often have experience using data to reveal conditions and inform thinking. They can document what is happening, investigate underlying factors, provide analysis, and capture and communicate lessons. They can serve as hubs for community information through the Web and other mechanisms. They can provide a bridge between national and state issues and the local context. And community foundations can import promising information, ideas, and approaches from other localities. Malakal sits on the banks of the White Nile in the Upper Nile State flood plain - a huge area that hosts the world?s largest natural swamp ? the Sudd. The whole area is rich in natural resources that supports and attracts migratory pastoralists to the rich pastures and given the fact that Malakal is our main town; the Chollo community members are not the present opportunity to develop themselves. In the 21st century, agriculture continues to be a fundamental instrument for sustainable development and poverty reduction. The 2008 World Development Report examines what agriculture can do for development, how agriculture-for-development agendas can best be implemented, and the most effective ways to use agriculture for development and poverty reduction. This is time Chollo people raised up beyond their current attitude of watch and see other people working and later on joined after observing their success. We should initiate things and let other copy from us.
Mr. John Oyec Lwong,
Dip.CH. (public health officer)Founder and the Executive Director
Fashoda Youth Forum
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