“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” -Helen Keller
In COVID-19 times where there are uncertainty and fear, the community has proven to be more important than ever. As social distancing and self-quarantine measures were established all around the world, we then need to depend on those closest to us for support, guidance, reliable information, solidarity, and empathy.
Community builders have had to transform to handle their communities as all engagement and communication has moved online.
COVID-19 has allowed us to see where we were and where we should go. We now have a profoundly different sense of ourselves, our communities, our systems of production, and our future.
History has shown us that societies that go through war generate stronger ties. The coronavirus is not a war, but it requires fighting together. People realize what collective action can achieve, resulting in a greater sense of community.
What Is Community Building?
Community building is a process by which people come together in a collaborative effort, which results in the construction of a shared place. All communities are networks as they involve connections among members. But not all networks are communities.
A community has a sense of identity that networks don’t have.
In simple words, a network is a web of interconnected personal relationships. For instance, social media groups allow different people to communicate with one another through a web relationship.
A community is when individuals of a network share a feeling of belonging, a feeling that they matter to one another and the group, and a shared faith that their needs will be met.
Having a sense of community unites us. One of the main benefits of being a part of a community is that it makes us feel as though we are a part of something greater than ourselves. It allows connecting with people, to reach for our goals, fight the loneliness, and makes us feel safe and secure.
How Can Community Building Help Defeat COVID-19?
People are putting a relentless fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. During this fight, many countries have followed their visions of a community with a shared future for humanity and made a substantial contribution to global public health. Like the case of Moroccan citizens, and especially its youth, as they have elucidated the true power of a strong community.
Communities have shown its sense of responsibility limiting the global spread of the virus. Even though the physical act of community is not good for us, we find creative ways to help each other.
Individual acts of caring emerge as people buy groceries for their elderly neighbors and call those shut-in. They have help children by posting pictures in windows and encouraging others to do the same so children can find them while walking through the neighborhood.
Some people sing to their neighbors and clap medical staff to congratulate them for their brave job. All of these acts of community building have helped us stay strong and keep going.
It is important to keep investing in community building and finding new ways to engage together. To fight this pandemic, we need to find ways to connect safely.
Little acts such as mowing the lawn for your elderly neighbor bring happiness and gratefulness. Remember, when we have more positive emotions, we improve our health, we are better dealing with adversity, and we build strong relationships.
The COVID-19 health crisis has disrupted the way people, communities, and the world lives and moves. But by stopping the spread together, we have learned valuable lessons.
We learned that it is possible to stay close while in the distance. We see how communities had taken action to protect the more vulnerable neighbors and how everyone is pulling together to keep everyone safe.
The truth is that without communities, we would live very isolated lives. Having a bond with others is what builds valuable relationships and gives us a deeper sense of belonging that allows us to keep sane during this challenging time.