The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

3 Essential Values of Community Development Work (Part 2: Integrity & Courage)

In my previous post I discussed compassion as one of three essential values in community development work.  In this post I will round out the values trinity by discussing the other two – integrity and courage.


When someone remarks “that person has integrity” what do they mean?  Do they mean that the person is reliable, honest, trustworthy, truthful?  Yes, all of the above.  Integrity also implies wholeness, completeness.  Think of the word integer, it has the same root.

For me then, integrity suggests a person who is consistent in the manner in which they deal with others.  People are not treated in a fragmentary way.  A person of integrity treats others with respect because they are also a person, not because of what the other owns or what status they have or how famous they are.

In this way, integrity and compassion are linked.  Everyone is deserving of compassion when one acts with integrity.

Isn’t this what a community wants from someone who works as a community development worker?  Community members must be able to rely on that worker acting consistently, to not come and go and to be open and honest in their dealings.


Courage would seem to be an odd choice as an essential value in community development work.  The reason that I include it is because community development work can lay bare our inner fears.

When I discussed compassion I suggested that someone gets involved in community development work often because they see an injustice and have a desire to put it right.  Inevitably that will involve acting against convention, thinking and speaking in opposition to prevailing opinion.  This can open us up to our fears of rejection, ridicule and even hatred.

Seeking social justice means that we must face these and other fears.  This is what distinguishes courage from bravery.  Bravery is the ability to face pain and danger.  Courage is the ability to face fear.  Courage comes from the heart.  Indeed, the word itself shares the same root as the word cardiac.

The Chinese character for courage is enlightening.  It is made up of two characters.  The top character is the character for grass, whilst the bottom character is that of an adult with arms spread.  The whole character then symbolises a person standing alone in wide open grassland, prepared to face the wilderness.

Courage too, is related to compassion as it allows us to do what we believe is right, even if it is difficult for us to do so.  For many, courage even meant suffering in order to do what they believed was right.  Think of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela or Aung San Suu Kyi.

Three values linked

There it is then, the three values that I think are essential to community development work.  They can be thought of as separate values, although if we analyse them closely we find that they are linked and combine to form a coherent wholeness.

It has been difficult to identify just three values as essential to community development work as there are so many values that could be mentioned.  However, I think that many of the other values flow from these three if we fully incorporate these three into our lives and our community development work.

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