Community development is key to promoting the overall well-being of people. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered the growth and progress of every community. The main focus now is to ensure the health and safety of people in a given community. Along with this is to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
However, a community must not take a backseat on its development. Officials, leaders, and even households must continue to develop their community while fostering health and safety amid the pandemic. The key here is community engagement, where community members must work together to assess and decide on the future of their community.
If you’re a community leader or local official, here’s how to improve your community and ensure safety amid the pandemic:
1. Enforce health and safety protocols
The question is: how can you improve the community if the people’s health and safety are compromised? First and foremost, ensuring these must be a top priority. For the most part, doing so entails implementing protocols such as mask-wearing, social distancing, implementing a curfew, and enforcing restricted movements.
The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action under UNICEF underscored three functions to promote health and safety in the community.
- Preventive functions: These include identifying vulnerable households, determining community needs, providing remote support, and conducting contact tracing.
- Responsive functions: These include offering support and protection and identifying alternative care for emergency cases. Also, consider providing psychological support and material support.
- Promotive functions: These involve educating, training, managing, and monitoring the people in the community.
2. Have robust cleaning services
In line with health and safety, cleaning the community is paramount. But it all starts with every household. Be sure to educate families on cleaning guidelines and encourage them to ensure the utmost cleanliness within their premises.
In addition, community leaders must take steps in keeping the community free from the SARS-COV-2. To do this, you must focus on the following:
- Cleaning: Have social workers keep the local community clean and tidy. Consider renting dump bins and ensure these garbage bins are readily available in the local neighborhood. Even cleaning tools and supplies must be at every household’s disposal.
- Sanitation: Ensure to sanitize the public places such as parks, roads, and public establishments. The goal is to minimize the germs and microorganisms in the area.
- Disinfection: Encourage business owners to have disinfection of their commercial establishments. Be sure that disinfectant products are readily available in the market. The goal is to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms.
3. Carve community awareness about COVID-19
Another vital matter to combat the COVID-19 is to keep the community aware. It’s best to educate your local community about what COVID-19 is and how it can impact the community and every family. As a community leader, you can do this via social media channels.
First, keep your community members informed about the number of COVID-19 cases in your locality. Also, have them complied with the health and safety protocols. Lastly, advise them on what support services are available in the community.
4. Build a robust healthcare system in the community
A robust healthcare system in a given community has now become more imperative than ever. As a community leader, you must sit down with medical facilities and health professionals within your jurisdiction. There must be a collaborative effort among these community members.
First, set proper guidelines on how these medical facilities and health professionals respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Also, ensure they provide enough diagnostic testing such as RT-PCT tests and POC tests. Plus, they must be ready to provide medical treatments in the locality. Lastly, roll out vaccines and ensure a successful vaccination among your people.
5. Support local businesses and entrepreneurs
To continue developing a community, community leaders must support local businesses and entrepreneurs. Many companies had closed either temporarily or permanently last year. Those that have reopened this year must continue to get support from the local government. The goal is to provide for the needs of people as well.
In addition, you must encourage your locals to get into relevant businesses during this pandemic. Doing this will help families who have lost their jobs and are struggling to make both ends meet. Forbes recommends the following thriving industries during the pandemic:
- Cleaning services
- Delivery services
- Grocery stores
- Online fitness
- Telehealth services
- Home health care
- Home maintenance services
- Landscaping services
There’s no denying how the COVID-19 progress has hindered community development. However, it doesn’t mean that community members must stop making decisions and taking action. As a community leader or official, consider the recommendations discussed above. Through community engagement, officials, leaders, and households can work together to rise above the pandemic and continue developing their community.