The Impact of Covid-19 on Community Development | Teen Ink

The Impact of Covid-19 on Community Development

April 10, 2021
By sereen_yusuf BRONZE, Lahore, Other
sereen_yusuf BRONZE, Lahore, Other
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about,” said Margaret J. Wheatley, an American writer and management consultant. A community is a group of individuals who share common values, ideas, norms and identities – individuals united by a common feature or purpose. It is important to develop new communities and keep existing communities together for many reasons. Having a sense of community unites us and can make us feel as though we are part of something greater than ourselves. It gives us opportunities to connect with others, reach for our goals and provides us with a sense of safety and security. Community members rely on each other and take care of one another. Thus, what comes out of a community as a whole is more stable and productive than the productions of a single individual.
While being part of a community may be beneficial, each individual has certain responsibilities within a community. They must be cooperative, respectful, willing and active participants. Furthermore, diversity is extremely beneficial to communities. Diversity helps a community grow in members and strength. By excluding any one group or demographic, the community members are deprived of their expertise. Not only does diversity support the community, it ensures longevity and future growth. Millennials, the largest generation in history in terms of population, are also the most diverse generation. If a community is to attract millennials and have a welcoming appeal, promoting diversity is critical.
Developing a sense of belonging within a community is also critical. A sense of belonging is a human need, just like the need for food or shelter. The feeling of belonging is most important in seeing value in life and coping with intense emotions. A sense of belonging to a greater community improves health, motivation and happiness. It helps individuals form and develop connections to others. Moreover, it promotes synergy and teamwork in communities and helps individuals realize that they are not alone.
Unfortunately, during the Covid-19 pandemic, a sense of belonging within communities is not being promoted or highlighted. Many countries, cities and communities have been under lockdown for several months. This has led to bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear which triggered an increase in mental health illnesses. Many people have increased their levels of alcohol consumption and drug use, and experienced insomnia and anxiety. Adults and children alike no longer have the sense of structure or stimulation that was provided by the office or school environment. There is limited social interaction and social support which are essential for good mental well-being. Due to these factors, many individuals lack a necessary sense of belonging to their communities.
In order to promote a sense of belonging within communities, various conditions and opportunities must be provided for members to develop relationships and experience new things together. Once a quarter, new members can be introduced to the community using online platforms such as Zoom or Google Meet. Orientation sessions, meet-and-greets and lunch-and-learns can all be organized online, keeping the current global situation in mind. This will give new members the opportunity to get to know and see each other while discussing their goals and interests. Moreover, people want to contribute and be part of something bigger. Volunteering gives members an opportunity to make a difference while meeting others. Short-term team activities such as advisory boards and project teams can be arranged. There should also be transparent paths to leadership available to all. Moreover, it is advisable to invite and seek different perspectives as it a healthy approach to any situation.
Implementing such techniques and providing such opportunities is a way for existing community members to strengthen their bond and reignite their sense of belonging while getting to know a new members of the community building a relationship with them.

The author's comments:

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many countries, cities and communities have faced numerous challenges, including the one in which I live. One such obstacle is the lack of sense of belonging in community members. In order to reignite this sense of belonging, multiple engaging and interactive activities can be arranged. 

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