Throughout history community development has been defined very loosely over the years. However, some scholars state that community development is the focus of people within a collective action such as geographical location, interests or goals.
There is involvement and participation of people in the planning and implementation of programmes. Communities are also empowered to use the available resources for the development of the community.
Whereas, sustainable development refers to meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their needs.
A sustainable community is vital because it aims to use its resources economically. Community development aims to better peoples’ lives but also minimizes waste, pollution and promotes efficiency by developing local resources.
Additionally, the relationship between sustainable development and community development allows the human, natural and economic components to be interdependent and draw power from each other.
Making collective decisions allows communities to share information and as a result shared decisions are made in the most sustainable manner.
Furthermore, a sustainable community approach aims to lessen the gap between the rich and poor.
It strives to find a balance whereby every individual benefits in key areas such as health, public safety, energy, housing and financing.
This inter-dependence between community and sustainable development also permits communities to become more knowledge-based societies.
They can use their indigenous knowledge to turn waste products into useable resources through recycling them.
Aim being to become more self-reliant on their own resources thus leading to the adaptation of an asset-based approach.
An asset-based approach aims to build and strengthen communities based on the assets that they already possess in their community and less inclined dependence towards the government or private stakeholders.
Community development needs to be practised sustainably as this is viewed as the pinnacle to stabilize incoming generating trade, since it allows community members to become empowered and take ownership of their lives.
Namibia is a country that has a rich traditional and cultural history and investing in our own people is considered as one of the best assets.
Moreover, this can be a crucial tourism boost whereas the diversity in the economy will be able to sustain local businesses for many years.
A sustainable community development approach allows a sustainable future which foresees its community members having availability and accessibility of resources on local, regional and national levels for generations to come.