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Community Organizing (CO)

Community Organizing (CO) in its strictest definition refers to organizing which takes place in a geographically defined living area, such as an urban poor community or a rural village. However, its principles have been widely used for organizing sectoral groups not necessarily living in a distinct location, like factory workers or students.

CO is a means for empowering people; its primary aim is to transform a situation of societal injustice, inequality and poverty. 

CO is both a process and an orientation, an orientation for    genuine and genuine  and liberating social  transformation.

Community Organizing (CO) is a social development approach that aims to transform the apathetic, individualistic and voiceless poor into a dynamic, participatory and politically responsive community. At times, CO is likened to "a form of experiential learning, a radicalized non-formal educational process."

During the 1994 National Rural CO Conference, CO was defined as a collective, participatory, transformative, liberative, sustained and systematic process of building people's organizations by mobilizing and enhancing the capabilities and resources of the people for the resolution of their issues and concerns towards effecting change in their existing and oppressive exploitative conditions.

CO Principles

  1. The social condition of the poor itself gives opportunities to conscienticize the people.
  2. Tactics should be within the experience of the people and outside the experience of the target.
  3. People generally act on the basis of their self-interest.
  4. Man learns more effectively and more deeply from his own actual experiences. Hence the importance of reflections on his actions, his experiences. Action reflection form an integral part of the CO methodology.
  5. The process of organizing moves from simple, concrete, short term and personal issues to more complex, abstract, long-term and systemic issues.
  6. Man needs to deepen and widen his horizon, therefore, he must move from the particular to the universal, from the concrete to the abstract, to apply one's experience and its lesson to another situation. Hence, there is a need for theories, a need to read, and to meet other experiences learned in order to bring about the widening and deepening of each man's individual horizon.
  7. Throughout the organizing process, the people must make their own decisions.

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