Community Organising in the Social Distancing Era of Pandemic

Norvy Paul


Community organisation is one of the social work methods striving towards creating a self-reliant community built on community action promoting a collaborative and cooperative attitude facilitated by collective consciousness. COVID-19 pandemic created constraints on social work practice, especially community organisation. The pandemic affected the world irrespective of class, creed, race, and sex, and the possible remedy suggested is social distancing and social isolation. Social isolation prevents an infected person from accessing community services and communication. Social distancing is a measure that promotes community members to physical distancing and later restricts all interaction with the assistance of virtual platforms. This challenges the practice of community organisation that promotes sustainable development incorporating balanced growth of four capitals that have interplay among economy, society and environment. The practice of social distancing nurtured a distancing consciousness against the human nature of communitarian living, which demands addressing issues related to mental health, public health, economic life, and a safe environment. These challenges pave the way for community organisation’s creative and constructive practice, forming a virtual community rooted in volunteerism built on an existential approach. It thus facilitates meeting the needs of individuals and communities in the distanced era, and resource mobilisation both internally and externally, and networking serves as the best tool for the same. However, this requires revisiting and re-reading the current philosophy, principles and values of community organisation and adapting new strategies where the community organiser is challenged to opt right approach that blends micro, meso and macro, which aims at collective consciousness enhancement. The key to this positioning of individuals and community is to focus on its strength, i.e., a strength-based approach, but without ignoring that the situation is the determinant of the approach. Nevertheless, the challenge to the community organiser is to remove social isolation or social distancing barriers by enhancing the knowledge horizon of both society and profession, improving skills, understanding the suitable approaches required in the situation and thus becoming a hub as a community facilitator.

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