MA’AN’s community development program aims to enhance community development and decrease poverty in rural and disadvantaged areas. MA’AN seeks to increase the opportunities of poor and marginalized areas and communities most affected by Israeli oppression and who are suffering from the consequences of this, based on real and fair participation.
The route to economic opportunity and community development starts with broad and open participation by all segments of the community. The community is the basic building block of society and citizens themselves are the most critical aspect of community development and growth.
Challenges faced by the sector
In the context of continuing military occupation, community development programs in the oPT face a unique set of challenges that make the principles of a holistic approach to community development all the more important.
Unemployment, imprisonment, restrictions on movement and the resulting lack of economic stability and self-confidence have put a strain on natural development and on the roles of men and women in society. As a result, communities have suffered and brought new challenges to citizens who are struggling to cope with the consequences of Israeli oppression. Therefore, there is an urgent need for adaptable active citizens from all sections of society to fill traditional masculine roles, take on new tasks, learn new skills, and cooperate together to overcome economic hardship.
At an organizational level communities face an absence of the kind of civic institutions traditionally provided by the state, creating a lack of space for social participation. Additionally, critical services such as transportation, municipal works and educational facilities are often lacking.
Goals and development objectives of the program
In the context of these challenges, MA’AN hopes to build strong, sustainable communities where participation occurs in all areas and with all age groups and genders. In order to achieve this MA’AN has outlined the following strategies for implementation:
- The development of an effective and appropriate infrastructure
- The implementation of labor-intensive projects
- The enhancement of community members’ skills, knowledge and attitudes appropriate for the local labor market
- The improvement of cooperation and coordination with all stakeholders
Some specific projects focus on youth development and leadership in order to help create an environment suitable for active participation in social transformation. Others develop women’s abilities to be more active and professional in their jobs and enhance women’s centers’ institutional structures and entrepreneurial development.
MA’AN’s projects have also included the construction and renovation of schools, sanitation units, connecting roads, youth and women’s clubs, community centers, retaining walls, playgrounds, water storage facilities, and community development premises. These projects increase the effectiveness and sustainability of targeted communities. MA’AN also creates jobs that bring income to families and the community, strengthening local economies