THE POWER OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT/OWNERSHIP – (PART FIVE): SUSTAINING COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

first_imgIn this fifth and final article of the series centered on the necessity and strength of community engagement the focus is on how to sustain community engagement. It is one thing to begin many a good thing and another to sustain it. Decision makers in Liberia, past and present, are known for initiating good programs and policy implementation such as only three persons in the back of a taxi, removing marketers from selling by road sides (sometime literally on the roads), and coming up with new transport fares and threats to enforce them but a few weeks later everything goes back to square one! How then may the essential policy of community engagement and ownership so helpfully tried and proven to be key to the defeat of the Ebola Virus Disease be sustained and promoted throughout the length and breath of this country? Let us explore in brief below. The fourth article on the indispensable roles of influential and opinion leaders of communities observed the following points:This kind of communication should bring on board everyone in the community. The drawing in of everyone is best done when the influential and opinion leaders of the community catch the vision. They in turn can spread and involve those they influence. Therefore chiefs, zoes, pastors, imams, teachers, leaders of the women, men, and youth, and heads of motorcyclists and wheelbarrow boys associations are to be involved in formulating the vision of whatever the community wants to do and in motivating everyone to come on board.The chiefs and zoes are the leaders of the people and what they say and do carries a lot of weight. Community members are likely to listen to them more than outsiders. Likewise religious leaders (pastors and imams) wield a lot of influence. Through their preaching, teaching and other forms of ministry (service) they engage members of the community at different levels on daily or at least biweekly basis (most likely on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays). Their members believe them and often do what they say and do.Teachers too influence what their students think and do. The kids listen and trust them more than their parents and others. Motorcyclists, wheelbarrow boys and leaders of the women, men and youths also can influence those who make use of their services. They all are to catch and drive community vision, projects and help solve problems and challenges that inevitably come from time to time. They all must play their parts if the community is to attend to its problems and make progress. They ought to help the community generate its own solutions and drive development. The importance of each one of these opinion leaders must be recognized and tapped into if communities are to see themselves as responsible for their own problems and coming up with visions for its own betterment.Community engagement is best sustained when it is practiced often and on a regular basis. It must not be a one off undertaking like fighting and defeating Ebola out of Liberia but must be practiced in attending to the numerous challenges that will inevitably come to every community and engaging seriously to overcome them, and in realizing the dreams and aspirations of communities. There is some truth to the common saying, “Practice makes perfect”. Community ownership must become second nature to communities through constant, all inclusive and continuous practice.Community engagement should be used now in helping communities to get their children vaccinated against measles, polio, and worms. The training of so many community actors (chiefs, teachers, pastors, imams, leaders of youths, women and men) during the Ebola crisis should now be employed to attend to common communal problems.Many Liberians and foreign observers alike know that Liberia needs a change in mind and attitude if it is to progress and be what it was meant to be, a beckon hope to the rest of Africa. The problems of lack of patriotism, entrepreneurial spirit, negativity towards self and everything Liberian, and repeating terrible mistakes of the past including the most recent of civil war and the Ebola crisis require a fundamental mental and attitudinal change. And such a change can best be achieved through community ownership. When community leaders and opinion leaders catch the vision and engage the communities then the needed change can come about quicker and easier than when it comes from central government down. Community ownership is sustained when it is used as often as possible in different situations of community and national needs and in improving the lot of the community and the nation.      Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Rosamond cityhood a long path

first_imgROSAMOND – For those who dream of a day when Rosamond will become the Antelope Valley’s fourth city, the message for now is wait a little longer. Cityhood is a topic of occasional discussion among Rosamond residents and was recently the headline topic of the Rosamond Municipal Advisory Council, which advises Kern County government on issues related to community issues. Although the community with a population of about 21,000 people is nearly twice the size of Palmdale when it incorporated in 1962, Rosamond still lacks the financial horsepower to pull off a bid for cityhood. In a “what if” study prepared by the Kern County Administrative Office in 2004, a city of Rosamond could expect revenues totaling roughly $3.2 million and expenditures of $3.7 million. While the community has grown substantially since that report was issued, it hasn’t grown in sales tax revenue, one of the key revenue sources a city needs, said Bill Turpin, executive officer with the Kern County Local Agency Formation Commission. “Incorporation is still not feasible yet,” Turpin said. “You’re not even in the ballpark.” Another issue is political will and the ability of the community raise the $250,000 it would likely take to push an incorporation through. Turpin noted that community leaders failed to gain enough public support in two previous elections to push through tax measures to support parks and recreation services. “It’s a very difficult process,” Turpin said of a community incorporating. “You have to be very dedicated to it. There’s a reluctance to fund new things here.” Among those who believe cityhood is in the community’s future are brothers Daniel and Olaf Landsgaard, who grew up in Rosamond. Daniel Landsgaard, a real estate agent and former water board member, said he believes the community might possibly be ready for cityhood now. He notes that the community has at least 7,000 more people than the 14,000 population figure used in the 2004 study; that there’s a few more stores in town; and that assessed valuation as gone up. Daniel Landsgaard said he would like to see fresher numbers. If the numbers are right, the community should move forward now. “We need to take the step, take control and govern our own future,” Daniel Landsgaard said. Olaf Landsgaard, a board member of the Southern Kern Unified School District and an attorney, said the idea of shooting for an incorporation effort this year is probably moot. But the idea merits a re-examination next year. “For a practical matter, we need more money. We’re at $500,000 in sales tax. We need to get to about $2 million,” Olaf Landsgaard said. “Then it’s viable.” Not everyone in the community is enthralled with the idea of cityhood. Frank Panelli, a member of the Sheriff Department’s citizen advisory committee, said a city government would add another layer of bureaucracy and bring the prospect of more fees and assessments to Rosamond residents. “People want a city because they think they’ll get more response. That’s not necessarily the case,” Panelli said. “More government is not necessarily better government.” Rosamond is more populous than California City, which is incorporated and has about 11,500 inhabitants. It also has more inhabitants than Palmdale did when it became a city in 1962, though only about a third as many as Lancaster did when it became a city in 1977. The town’s closest entity to a city government is the Rosamond Community Services District, whose main responsibility is maintaining water and sewer systems. Voters in 1998 gave the district authority to run parks and clean up graffiti. Turpin describes the path to cityhood as a “fantastically complex process.” The first step is a “quick and dirty” feasibility study – such as the 2004 study for Rosamond – to see if a community has the revenue to stand on its own. If the quick look shows cityhood might be viable, a more detailed feasibility study would follow. That study would look at city boundaries. “You need to limit the number of street miles you have to maintain. Street maintenance is a big expense,” Turpin said. “Strategically, you set your borders to include as many people as possible and as few roads as possible.” An environmental impact report would be required. Then comes a hearing before Turpin’s agency, an independent commission that votes on municipal boundary changes in the county. After passing all of those hurdles, the issue would go before voters. Failures the first couple of times out, such as what occurred with Palmdale’s first attempts at cityhood, are to be expected, Turpin said. “The thing that determines whether Rosamond incorporates is the voters,” Turpin said. [email protected] (661) 267-5743 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Arsenal chiefs confirm talks and interest in European Super League

first_img 2 gameday cracker Ian Holloway thinks Arsenal have made a mistake in hiring Mikel Arteta Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January REVEALED PSG have the most points per game in Europe so far this season Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Latest Arsenal News REVEALED Arteta confirms Ljungberg’s role, discusses transfer plans and Mesut Ozil 2 targets Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? LATEST Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ The average first-team salaries at every Premier League club in 2019 Based on documents and emails obtained from the whistle-blowing platform Football Leaks, the German magazine claimed 11 clubs, including Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and the Gunners could sign up to a US-style, closed league, with five more big names invited to make it a 16-team competition.The breakaway league would cause major disruption to the current football model, with the Premier League and Champions League suffering as a result.Vinai Venkatesham, managing director at Arsenal, is keen for the club to be involved in any conversations surrounding a new league – but insists they have no intention of leaving the domestic game behind.“Arsenal aren’t or never have been interested in playing in any competition that weakens the Premier League,” he said.“The Premier League is the world’s leading league in the leading sport, we don’t want to do anything to damage the Premier League.“When people talk about the European Super League, that covers a really big spectrum. People jump to one end of the spectrum and think this is what we are talking about – but actually often it’s just a slight evolution from where we are today.“I see these articles that Arsenal want to breakaway, we never want to do any of that. But we also have to recognise we have to be in these conversations or we wouldn’t be responsible.“We have to be in the conversations, it doesn’t necessarily mean we support them.” BIG PRESENTS UP TOP Arsenal are keeping their options open MIKEL TALKS Venkatesham was appointed to the role of managing director at the Emirates Stadium after former chief executive Ivan Gazidis left for AC Milan.As part of the reshuffle, Raul Sanllehi took the new position of Arsenal’s head of football.The Spaniard was part of a working group which first looked into a European Super League during his time in a similar role at Barcelona.But he believes any such revamp is still some way off and that renegotiating the terms of the Champions League with UEFA has put off any immediate threat of a breakaway division.“Basically, as we are responsible for top European clubs, the ECA (European Club Association) had to look to all the options for the future,” he said.“One of them, of course, could have been the possibility of a European Super League. It was a conversation we didn’t hide from anybody not even from the ECA smaller clubs.“We looked into that in two ways: a way of exploring the real possibility and also how it would help us to negotiate with UEFA under the new terms because every cycle we will negotiate the Memorandum of Understanding. revealed What every Premier League club’s fans dream of this Christmas appointed rookie error Steve Round reveals how Mikel Arteta convinced him to join Arsenal staff Arsenal chiefs say they “have to be” part of any discussions on a future European Super League – but deny the club would break away from the Premier League if a new competition comes to fruition.The threat of such a move is back on the agenda after Der Spiegel published a story that claimed several of Europe’s biggest clubs – unhappy at having to share European broadcast revenues with the wider football family – have been secretly plotting to form a rival tournament. “At the end of the day the outcome was the best possible because we got into a new deal with UEFA within the system that protected the domestic leagues.”Asked if he thought a Super League would happen, Sanllehi replied: “Not in the short term because we have an agreement with UEFA right now – but I don’t know what the future will bring because the future writes itself.“But what I can assure you is, we think the current situation is an optimal situation we [Arsenal] are very proud to be in the Premier League.“By all means it’s the best competition in the world and we want to be in the Champions League because we believe it’s the best continental competition in the world.”last_img read more