Monday, December 2, 2013

[MLE] E-publication: ‘Signposts to Identity-Based Community Development’

Dear multilingual education friends,

In March 2013 LEAD Asia held workshop on the topic of 'Identity-Based Community Development', bringing together 60 community development practitioners from 12 different countries. One of the outputs of this event was the production of a practitioners guide titled Signposts to Identity-Based Community Development .

The guide provides a useful resource for anyone involved in community development work, particularly among linguistic minorities. It is adding to the growing literature around the importance of communities identity, language and culture in the development process. A brief introduction to the guide is included below.

Thanks to Catherine Young for the tip.



Karsten van Riezen
Consultant, LinkedIn Profile
SIL International, South Asia Group
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Introducing 'Signposts to Identity-Based Community Development'
Over recent decades rapid development has spread across Asia, with even the remotest corners becoming part of a connected 'globalised' world. However, the impact of this development has not spread equally, both in terms of quantitative and qualitative change. Minority ethnolinguistic communities are frequently excluded from both the benefits and the process, with many groups actually being adversely affected by it. While change is a natural part of community and culture, the rapid change brought about through globalisation and modernisation poses a threat to the unique culture and identities of ethnolinguistic communities, their environments, and their livelihoods. 

One of the key challenges faced by community development practitioners as we consider how to overcome inequalities and integrate culture into development, is how to reconcile local and globalising cultures. How can development processes support the desired future of minority ethnolinguistic communities, both in terms of the change they want to see in their communities, and the sustainability of their own unique cultures?

Building on its network of NGO partners working with minority ethnolinguistic communities throughout Asia, 'Language, Education and Development' (LEAD) Asia (a regional service team of SIL International) conducted an experience-sharing workshop to develop and document an approach to development which address the challenges highlighted above, called 'Identity Based Community Development' (IBCD). Drawing from diverse education and development projects across Asia, the workshop explored the core values and key approaches of IBCD, recorded successful current and past activities and outlined effective practices. The results of this workshop were then synthesised and compiled by a writing team into a guide entitled 'Signposts to Identity-Based Community Development'.

IBCD emphasises a process of community reflection on cultural change narratives as a starting point for exploring the unique rights, responsibilities and opportunities of their situation and the corresponding development actions available to them. From this foundation, communities can choose and implement activities enabling them to become increasingly empowered and participative within their national societies. Through dialogue, both dominant and minority groups can develop mutual understanding and respect for the variety of languages and cultures in their context, creating an environment to forge harmonious relationships. In turn, marginalisation and disenfranchisement can also be reduced, enabling more inclusive multi-cultural societies and vibrant democracy building throughout the region.

1 comment:

  1. One of the key challenges faced by community development practitioners as we consider a way to overcome inequalities and integrate culture into development, is a way to reconcile local and globalizing cultures. How can development processes support the specified way forward for minority sociolinguistic communities, both in terms of the change they require to check in their communities, and therefore the property of their own distinctive cultures?
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