Development is a process where a community of people work together to break the cycle of poverty and dependence so that their fundamental needs are met and the quality of their lives is enhanced. Development seeks to improve the conditions of communities in a sustainable way and is based on working with communities, rather than for or on behalf of communities. (Reference: ACCIR Development Project Policy)
There are three (3) key principles in ACCIR’s policy and definition of development:
(1) Community Participation;
(2) Fair Distribution; and
The local community should decide what to do, how to do it, and actually do as much of the work as possible. All these actions help a community to believe in itself and its abilities. As it tackles and solves one issue, it becomes more skilled and confident in tackling the next issue.
The involvement of local people helps the implementing agency to better understand the needs and aims of the people who will come into contact with the project. It increases the sense of ownership, improves the likelihood of achieving project objectives and raises the commitment level of local people to carrying on the activities after outside support has stopped.
Development activities seek to improve the well-being of those in need without favouritism or discrimination by race, religion, culture or political persuasion. Although a project may target a particular location or community, it seeks to bring about positive changes for the benefit of all members of that community.
It is essential that development project benefits flow fairly, without discrimination that is based on the acceptance of specific religious beliefs or membership in a particular religious group.
Development projects or activities aim to produce benefits that will continue after development assistance has ceased. Activities that build on local demand, local initiatives and provide scope for local stakeholders to participate meaningfully throughout the project, will have much greater prospects for sustainability beyond the implementation phase.
The concept of sustainability does not necessarily mean the continuation of development activities, but rather that the benefits are appropriate, owned by the stakeholders and supported on an ongoing basis with locally available resources.