The word development has different synonyms which include growth, modernization, and industrialization. Development refers to progress in different areas and sectors including the economy and human development. The UNDP defines development in terms of enlarging people’s choices, which includes having a chance to get an education, lead a long and healthy life, and enjoy a decent standard of living (Alkire, 2010). For this to happen, economic development will have to take place, which will ensure that people are able to go to school and to get good jobs. With improved incomes, people have a chance of improving their living standards. They can get the resources they need to live healthy lives, which include access to good nutritious food and effective medical care. Therefore, development means progress in all areas of human life.
Lack of resources is a major challenge to development. It continues to hinder any development efforts by different institutions and organizations. One important resource is the money needed to carry out any development projects. People need money to introduce or improve educational facilities, health infrastructure, and other development. People need money to build any manufacturing facilities which will guarantee jobs. Without access to land, people do not have a place where they can put up institutions such as schools and other learning centers and hospitals and other health institutions. Availability of land and the commitment of different stakeholders towards development determine whether any development will take place in the region. Human resources are essential in any development. However many hospitals there are in any place, they cannot function without the input of health professionals. People need access to education and other resources to ensure that there is development.
Another developmental challenge is the lack of sensitivity to people’s culture, which often leads to the people opposing any development initiatives. Many people in different cultures are set in their ways and they hold their traditions firmly. Some institutions introduce development agendas and projects without considering the culture of the people. The cultural environment enables the shaping of development. Therefore, disregarding the culture will present a challenge to any progress and this will hinder development. Many people are not ready to change their culture for the sake of ensuring development. Being sensitive to people’s culture will ensure that their cultural practices are integrated with the development agenda (Sigelman & Rider, 2010). Hence, development will remain relevant to the people. Cultural reflexivity happens when people recognize the development as being culturally biased and specific (Pieterse, 2001). Cultural practices determine what development projects a specific culture will allow, and how the developers are going to implement it.
Politics hinder development efforts in different ways. In many cases, the law makers of a particular country are involved in formulation and implementation of policies that contribute to development. In some cases, the local authorities have the mandate of ensuring that they implement development projects in their areas. Constant politicking does not help development matters. Debating development issues does not lead to progress, and it often leads to wastage of more resources. Setting development policies based on the political agenda of certain political affiliation leads to slow growth in different areas, since the people are only interested in advancing their agendas. The willingness of the government to participate in national development issue is important in ensuring that development takes place. The government can act as a hindrance if it decides to politicize every issue, instead of looking for ways of attracting development through investors and donors.
Concentrating development efforts on a specific region such as focusing on urbanization is a main challenge for development. The more the government concentrates on developing the urban areas and neglecting the rural areas, the less the impact that that development will have on the country. This is because more people will be more inclined towards the urban areas and this will lead to the competition of resources, which means the available resources will not be adequate for everybody. On the other hand, ensuring equitable distribution of resources will ensure that every person benefits from the development programs and that people will not see the need for urban migration. Equitable resource distribution will make it possible for development to happen in all segments of the country.
Different agencies focus on development, with many of them looking for ways of eradicating poverty. The agencies conduct their operations in different ways and they have different target areas. Some of these agencies have managed to make positive impact and ensure a complete turnaround in people’s lives through their projects and programs in specific areas. There are different development tools. These tools have different functions, but all intend to ensure that there is development in a region. Successful development agencies ensure that they cooperate with the local communities. They educate the communities on different subjects such as entrepreneurship, and they seek to find the pressing needs of the communities.
Some agencies focus on establishing microfinance institutions in a region, where they encourage the members of the community to save their money and then borrow so that they can start a business. They teach the community members different issues such as good financial management and entrepreneurial skills. This ensures that the members do not waste the money given to them. The members start business ventures, thus enabling them to get an income. Because of this, they are able to send their children to school, seek healthcare when they need it, and they can even afford to buy nutritious food for their families. The microfinance helps people to increase their capabilities.
Some development agencies provide the funds needed for development projects. Most of these development agencies are in the developed countries. They are able to raise funds for different development projects in the less developed countries. They give these funds to build dams and other water storage facilities, fund infrastructure projects such as healthcare clinics, and sponsor different local projects. Organizations that have a local base are able to ensure that the funds are put for the intended use. However, the agencies who choose to support different development projects from a distance do realize minimal chances of success. They have no way of monitoring the use of their funds, and they are far from the people. This means that there is a high likelihood of the funds being mismanaged. Some of the money does not reach the poor people. Therefore such areas continue experiencing poverty and minimal development (Satterthwaite, 2001).
Alkire, S. (2010). Human development: Definitions, critiques, and related concepts. United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved from http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2010/papers/HDRP_2010_01.pdf
Pieterse, N. J. (2001). Development theory: Deconstructions/reconstructions. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE
Satterthwaite, D. (2001). Reducing urban poverty: Constraints on the effectiveness of aid agencies and development banks and some suggestions for change. Environment & Urbanization, 13 (1), 137-157
Sigelman, K. C., & Rider, A. E. (2011). Life span human development. New York, NY: Cengage Learning