A Hand Up, Not a Handout: Empowering Communities, One Project at a Time

Amara Oko

Amara Oko

Media, Araceli Aid Foundation

The Mwea village of Kenya has always been popular for producing coffee, but the market declined over time. This was due to years of neglect and a lack of infrastructure, and of course, it was a tough time for the farmers as they struggled greatly.

Alas, 2018 came with the much-needed transformation for this coffee market in Mwea. 

A collaborative effort from the farmers, government agencies, and non-profit organizations that brought about repaired roads, drainage system installation, and solar-powered lighting provided the necessary facelift to the coffee-producing market of the Mwea village in Kenya.

This is how community development works: everyone has a role in ensuring equitable prosperity. As the saying goes, a chain is as strong as its weakest link, and like a broken or rusty link weakens an entire chain, it also applies when an aspect of a community is neglected in the process of community development.

Why is Community Development Important?

Community development is important to any community solely because it improves the quality of life in that community.

Nigeria’s need for community development, particularly in rural areas, has never been greater. Take Enugu state, for instance: It’s no news that water scarcity has been plaguing residents for years. People must drive or walk long distances to access water (sometimes unclean). This is for the urban parts because the situation in rural areas is even more concerning as they always depend on streams for water supply. 

Here’s the tricky part: along the banks of most streams, you can find people doing their laundry, defecating, and carrying out other activities that contaminate the water. Yet, more often than not, people use the water for many daily activities, including cooking and drinking.

Still, without even mentioning, the consequences of relying on contaminated water sources are well documented and can significantly impact communities’ overall health and well-being.

How it Works

Community development is a big part of the Araceli Aid Foundation programs. We work with communities to identify and address their most pressing needs, such as water scarcity. Alongside our school project, which will fully commence in September, we have included a borehole that will serve the school and the nearby communities.

In addition, our CEO once joined forces with local community members to improve a neglected road. They combined simple tools like shovels and pans to transform the path into one suitable for vehicles. This experience, though undertaken before the Araceli Aid Foundation was officially established, exemplifies our commitment to empowering communities to take ownership of their future and create positive change through collaboration.

We have since worked with several communities to fix many pressing needs, especially water scarcity, recreational competitions for youths and children, etc., because we believe in empowering communities to take ownership of their futures. 

While community development deals with the direct stakeholders of the community, you don’t have to be born or live in a community to play a role in its development. Everyone has the potential to be a part of a community, just like families are built on more than just blood ties. This is why we believe that individuals from anywhere can contribute to a community’s progress. By joining the Araceli Aid Foundation, you contribute to a global effort to alleviate suffering, promote equality, and build thriving communities.

You can get involved by donating, volunteering, or helping us raise awareness. Together, we can build more resilient, stronger communities. Visit our website, araceliaidfoundation.org, to learn more about us.

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