Shade Atanda (MSW '21)
Shade Atanda is a missionary, lawyer and Social Worker, currently working in community development projects with Zion World Prayer, Zether Al-Umm Foundation, and Global Hope Network International. She is applying a Transformational Community Development Approach where she identifies and coaches community leaders, develops project champions, and helps vision cast with key stakeholders.
Transformational Community Development knows change can only be achieved over a long period of time, making it a true investment in patience and faith. Shade noted her drafting of three-to-five-year development plans alongside community leaders, resulting not just in community buy-in, but in leaders enabled to hold projects as their own, with ideas, vision, and action items oftentimes coming directly from them.
At a recent conference, Shade presented her exploration of assessment tools that can determine the impact of certain projects, in this case, digging wells in rural communities. Key areas for assessment include the walk time it takes to get water, reduction of water borne diseases, year-round access to water, school attendance, number of families with access to water, and the number of boreholes dug. More long-term signs of impact for a community might include a change in income generation for a family with consistent access to water, changes in the long-term enrollment rates of local school children, and overall health and wellness of a community over time.
These points of impact will develop over months and years, reflecting the necessity of long-term commitment to these projects, not only in implementation but also assessment. Community Developers are learning that no project can serve as a quick fix solution thus allowing them to move on to the next borehole or community. It requires a Community Developer, like Shade, who is equal parts researcher, learner, and vision caster, a Social Worker deeply invested in not only how these projects could potentially change a community, but also how results can be demonstrated.
Community Development projects, especially in water access and health, demand long-term investment and dedication, and Shade embodies the community practitioner committed to the success of those she serves through every stage of work.