first_imgThis fourth article of the series centered on the necessity and strength of community engagement considers the roles of opinion leaders of the community. Leadership is key to the survival and success of organizations and institutions. If community engagement is to be initiated and sustained it has to be led by all who play influential roles in the life of the community. These community influential leaders include chiefs, pastors, imams, teachers, leaders of men, women, youth, and heads of wheelbarrows and motorbikes associations. Community ownership can be successfully engineered by shared leadership. The third article on the necessity of effective communication in engaging and maintaining ownership made the following points:A required element of community engagement is appropriate communication. Communication is a two way activity. It requires both speaking through verbal and non-verbal means and listening. One speaker speaks and the other listens and the other speaks and the one listens. Keen listening means the listener attempts to feel what the other feels, hear what the other hears and to put one in the other’s shoes.An effective communication is absolutely vital to any attempts to persuade people to do something, especially if it involves asking them to change their mental attitude and behavior. Any kind of propaganda (whether it is a war of any kind, a political platform, a new policy, a marketing strategy, an evangelistic undertaking, or any human endeavor that asks the voluntary involvement of other people) requires the right kind of communicating if it is to succeed. In fact, communication is a necessity for all who lead or influence others in one form or the other. Sometime the difference between success and failure depends on how one communicates his/her vision.If communities are to find self-generating solutions to their problems and improve their total wellbeing there must be effective communication at every level and stage of a continued process. Those who initiate and remain with community engagement have to be effective communicators.This requires an entry into the community. Community entry is about the strategies employed to get the community open herself up and disclose its true needs, concerns and aspirations. There are all sorts of ways of doing this depending on each particular community. Whatever means one chooses has to include involving the local leadership on the ground.Effective communication takes a lot more listening than talking. It means honestly and earnestly seeking to understand and learn from the community as opposed to telling her what one wants to communicate and coming to teach the community something. When one listens empathetically very often one learns something valuable from and about the people that one desires to engage. Effective communication overcomes barriers and creates countless opportunities for community participation and ownership.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.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Five things we learned in European football this weekend

first_img0Shares0000Sergio Ramos and Real Madrid have clawed their way back into Spanish title contention © AFP/File / GABRIEL BOUYSPARIS, France, Feb 11 – Sergio Ramos helped Real Madrid pull to within six points of La Liga leaders Barcelona, while Paris Saint-Germain suffered another injury blow with the loss of Edinson Cavani ahead of their Champions League showdown with Manchester United.As Borussia Dortmund served up both good and bad in the Bundesliga, and Benfica hit rare heights in Portugal, AFP Sport looks at some of the main talking points from the weekend in Europe: Madrid not out of La Liga raceReal Madrid overtook Atletico to become Barcelona’s closest challengers in La Liga, with the gap down to six points between Spain’s two grandee clubs.Real continued their resurgence with their most impressive victory yet under Santiago Solari, inflicting Atletico’s first home defeat of the season in a 3-1 win.A good weekend for the European champions got even better on Sunday as an injury-affected Barcelona were held to a goalless draw away to Athletic Bilbao.Lionel Messi played but was not fully fit while the likes of Jordi Alba, Arthur Melo and Ousmane Dembele were also missing from the starting line-up. Barca will be grateful now for five days off, with their Champions League tie against Lyon to come next week.Injury curse rocks PSG againEdinson Cavani has scored 22 goals in 26 games for PSG this season © AFP/File / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULATParis Saint-Germain appeared clear-cut favourites in December when they were paired with Manchester United in the Champions League last 16, but injuries to Neymar, and now Cavani, threaten to derail their European ambitions once more.The French giants lost Neymar ahead of last year’s return clash with Real Madrid at the same stage of the competition, and will be without both the Brazilian and Cavani for Tuesday’s trip to Old Trafford.Uruguayan Cavani sustained damage to a tendon in his hip after blasting home a first-half penalty in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Bordeaux in Ligue 1.Reports in France suggest the 31-year-old could also miss the return leg, leaving PSG to rely heavily on Kylian Mbappe against a rejuvenated United side that have won 10 of 11 games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.Fickle Dortmund give Pochettino much to ponderTottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino would have watched Borussia Dortmund’s 3-3 draw at home to Hoffenheim with mixed feelings ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League first leg at Wembley against the Bundesliga leaders.Even without injured top-scorer and playmaker Marco Reus, Dortmund shredded the Hoffenheim defence for 70 minutes, going 3-0 up, with Jadon Sancho giving one of his best performances in the yellow shirt.The England winger was everywhere at Signal Iduna Park, opening the scoring with some superb finishing, setting up goals for Mario Goetze and Raphael Guerreiro, while also hitting the post — which would have made it 4-0 with 20 minutes left.However, Hoffenheim suddenly found huge spaces to exploit in the closing stages as Dortmund’s back four crumbled with Ishak Belfodil netting goals, after taking advantage of loose marking, either side of a Pavel Kaderabek header.Sirigu spot onTorino goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu continued his fine run of saving spot-kicks, stopping a fifth out of seven Serie A penalties in a 1-0 win over Udinese on Sunday.The 32-year-old former Paris Saint-Germain ‘keeper denied Rodrigo De Paul what would have been an equaliser in Turin, which earned him an ovation at the end of the match as he threw his gloves to the fans.“Today I had instinct and luck,” said the Italy international. “I saw that he was not looking at me anymore so I decided to push left with all the strength I had and it went well. Sometimes you feel it, it’s instinct.”Benfica in rare territoryDouble digits: Jonas rounds out the scoring as Benfica humiliate Nacional © AFP / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRABenfica have roared back to within a point of reigning champions Porto after a run of six straight victories — the latest a 10-0 mauling of Madeira-based Nacional on Sunday.The Lisbon club sacked Rui Vitoria, who led the team to back-to-back league titles in 2016 and 2017, at the start of the year but have swiftly regrouped under his successor Bruno Lage.Haris Seferovic and Jonas both struck twice while Alex Grimaldo, Joao Felix, Pizzi, Francisco Ferreira, Ruben Dias and Rafa Silva also found the net as Benfica recorded the biggest win in the Portuguese league since 1965.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more