Transformational development as theological challenge: an evaluation of the ECWA people oriented development programmes

Yoms, Ephraim (2015-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study explores various community development theories and practices and, using the holistic criteria proposed by Myers, the study evaluates the impact of ECWA‘s People Oriented Development (POD) programmes in selected beneficiating communities in Northern Nigeria. The study revealed that the earlier conceptualisation of ‘development‘ was perceived strictly in socio-economic terms. Thereafter, the approaches shifted in focus towards human development and environmental sustainability. Transformational Development (TD) is posed as a holistic Christian framework for addressing human and social change. This approach holds that transformation is premised on change for a better future, which is underpinned by the principles of shalom: just, peaceful and, harmonious relationships with God, oneself, individuals within a given community and the environment. The empirical study discovered that the socio-economic challenges facing the selected communities were food shortages, bad roads, educational needs, and economic and health challenges. Unemployment, mismanagement, illiteracy, disunity and religious issues were viewed as causes of poverty in the selected communities. The various remedial measures taken by ECWA‘s POD to address some of these challenges include: water supply, food security, health services, economic empowerment, infrastructural projects, environmental sustainability and spiritual development activities. The evaluative framework proposed by TD, sought to assess positive changes in the cultural and religious aspects of people‘s lives, and a positive change in attitude toward God, the Christian Gospel and spirituality. This aspect of the evaluation identified the significant impact of ECWA‘s POD programmes on the lives of the beneficiaries, such as in self-help activities, communal work, prayer and Bible study. However, due to poverty, underdevelopment and a lack of understanding of the God of the Bible still prevalent in the targeted communities, it is difficult to conclude that ECWA‘s POD interventions have sufficiently led to TD. This lack of a suitable approach to development, such as the separation of POD as an agency to meet physical needs while the local church focuses on spiritual needs, is inconsistent with the holistic approach. Therefore, the research concludes that evangelism and social change in the process of community transformation must work simultaneously.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie verken verskeie gemeenskapsontwikkelingsteorieë en -praktyke en, deur gebruik te maak van Myers se holistiese kriteria, evalueer dit die impak van die ECWA se People Oriented Development (POD) programme in uitgesoekte begunstigde gemeenskappe in Noord-Nigerië. Die studie het getoon dat die vroeër konseptualisering van ‘ontwikkeling‘ streng in sosio-ekonomiese terme beskou is. Daarna het die fokus van die benaderings geskuif na menslike ontwikkeling en omgewingsvolhoubaarheid. Transformasionele Ontwikkeling is as ‘n holistiese Christelike raamwerk vir menslike en maatskaplike ontwikkeling voorgehou. Hierdie benadering hou voor dat ontwikkeling van die veronderstelling uitgaan van verandering vir ‘n beter toekoms, wat onderstut word deur die volgende beginsels van shalom: regverdige, vreedsame en harmonieuse verhoudings met God, jouself, tussen individue binne ‘n gegewe gemeenskap en die omgewing. Die empiriese studie het ontdek dat die sosio-ekonomiese uitdagings van die geselekteerde gemeenskappe voedseltekorte, swak paaie, opvoedkundige behoeftes en ekonomiese en gesondheidsuitdagings was. Werkloosheid, wanbestuur, ongeletterdheid, onenigheid en godsdienstige kwessies is as die oorsake van armoede in die hierdie gemeenskappe beskou. Die verskeie remediërende stappe wat deur die ECWA se POD geneem is, sluit in tervoorsiening, voedselsekuriteit, gesondheidsdienste, ekonomiese bemagtiging, infrastrukturele projekte, omgewingsvolhoubaarheid en geestelike ontwikkelingsaktiwiteite. Die evaluerende raamwerk is gebruik om positiewe veranderinge in die kulturele en godsdienstige aspekte van mense se lewens en in hulle houdings jeens God, die Christelike Evangelie en spiritualiteit te assesseer. Die aspek van die evaluasie het die opvallende impak van ECWA se POD op die lewens van die begunstigdes, soos in self-help aktiwiteite, gemeenskapswerk, gebed en Bybelstudie. As gevolg van die armoede, onderontwikkeling en geestelike agterlikheid wat nog algemeen in die geteikende gemeenskappe voorgekom het, was dit egter moeilik om tot die gevolgtrekking te kom dat die ECWA se POD-ingrypings doeltreffend tot Transformasionele Ontwikkeling gelei het. Die gebrek aan ‘n gepaste benadering tot ontwikkeling, soos die skeiding van POD as ‘n agentskap om aan fisiese behoeftes te voldoen terwyl die plaaslike kerk op geestelike behoeftes fokus, is teenstrydig met ‘n holistiese benadering. Die navorsing kom dus tot die slotsom dat evangelisasie en maatskaplike verandering in die proses van transformasie moet saamwerk

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97810
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