Yilan Community Development 3.0
Yilan County Community Development Center
Beginning in 2003, in response to central government policy to gradually transfer community development work to county (city) governments, counties and cities across Taiwan began to set up County (City) Community Development Centers to take a more active role in community development. However, when the central government sometimes does not understand the true core value of community development policy, it is difficult to expect the local government in Taiwan’s vertically-integrated political system to be able to implement comprehensive community development that can connect with the community. A County Community Development Center assists the local government to establish a set of county and city-level community development promotion mechanisms and operational strategies.
Yilan’s community development and management are built on the foundation of support provided by public sector institutions, which helps maintain the momentum of county community organizations and private groups. Some village chief elections have affected the development of local factions thereby hampering community development efforts. However, the vast majority of communities and organizations maintain a consistent push for community development. There is still a promising vision for local progress. With this idea in mind, it is necessary to actively develop community development talent and build communities’ initiative, autonomy, and confidence. Only then will they have the relative strength and ability, paired with external support, to conduct dialogue and negotiations, and ultimately make decisions. In addition to improving the community’s organizational structure and increasing the support of residents, communities must cultivate and hone residents’ ability to participate in community affairs and improve the structure of community organizations to ensure localized power can take root and grassroots democracy will grow.
Community Development Centers provide services such as community development counseling and learning exchange. Related work includes: assisting communities to uncover problems, analysis and investigation, guidance for drafting action plans, and collaborating with expert cross-disciplinary partners. Community development centers help to nurture talent, build basic operational capabilities of community organization, train community development teachers, and set up community development platform meetings in various Yilan County government departments, and hold proposal and execution plan workshops. Hopefully such efforts can break through development bottlenecks and create a community development model tailor made for Yilan.