Transformational Community Development

Monday, 10 September 2018 Transformational Community Development
By Ross Britton, SIM Australia Projects Coordinator
For 125 years, SIM missionaries and teams have been committed to taking the Good News to the world! As we take the Gospel to least reached communities, we recognise that word and deed cannot be separated. For this reason, SIMaid was started in 1982 as the aid and development arm of SIM Australia to help alleviate human suffering and demonstrate the love of Christ.
Our Community Transformation projects are working towards the transformation of communities experiencing poverty through holistic community development.
The answer is complex, however the following extracts from Bryant L. Myers' book, Walking with the Poor - Orbis Books (2006) provide helpful insights:
  • "The poor are people... whole, living people... made in the image of God and thus have gifts, skills and the potential to become kingdom-like..." (pp. 61-62)
  • On p. 67, Myers adds spirutal poverty to other aspects of poverty such as material poverty, powerlessness and vulnerability. Myers writes, "the [poor] household suffers from broken and dysfunctional relationships with God, each other, the community and creation... they may have never heard the Gospel or have only responded to a truncated version that lacks transformational power."
Compelled by Christ's love, our missionaries come alongside broken, vulnerable individuals and communities to share through word and deed God's transforming Good News. They work with many different communities initiating responses such as access to clean water, education and skilling opportunities for girls and women, trainng in more productive and sustainable farming methods, trauma counselling for girls rescued from sex trafficking as well as equipping people with basic business and other income generation skills.
In addition to recognising and addressing holistic needs, our missionaries understand that the key to transformation and to sustaining on-going development include:
  • Treating the community and its members with dignity and respect.
  • Ensuring that the commmunity are involved in understanding the issues and recognise the assets/resources and capabilities they can bring to solving problems.
  • Making sure the community agrees on and contribute to the actions. This helps guard against a handout approach to community development.



The e3 project is working with a local foundation that has a vision to see holistic transformation of marginalised communities in West Timor. Key focus areas include leadership development; peace building and reconciliation; implementing water, sanitation and hygiene projects; and assisting local communities to develop relationships with other key stakeholders.

In 2013 when the e3 project commenced, local leaders identified that the greatest developmental need in villages of the target region was access to household water. The region has a much lower number of people accessing safe drinking water compared to the national average. People in the villages were accessing water from unsafe sources such as the river and uncovered wells and springs.

Today the local foundation is currently in the process of implementing a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project in a rural community with approximately 175 households. A key benefit from this project will be that many people (mainly girls and women) will spend less time collecting water and have more time for other activities, such as education. A spring-box has been installed to capture water from a natural spring. Four concrete storage tanks (10,000 litres each) have also been constructed to collect water from the spring. The next step is to install pipework and tap-stands so fresh water is available within close proximity of all households.



Please pray for good outcomes from e3's WASH project as the water system is installed. Please also pray that the project plays a positive part in seeing holistic reconciliation amongst all community members and project stakeholders.


Help transform a community through a tax deductible gift to SIM's Community Transformation Fund (09320)! Give online here


Come on board with SIM and help alleviate poverty! SIM is seeking people who are passionate about loving people holistically. If this sounds like you, start a conversation today with a SIM Mobiliser to discuss where God could use your gifts! Leave an enquiry here


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