A socially cohesive society is a community which advances in the direction of caring for the welfare of everyone within the society, it also battles segregation and edging out of its members, as well as establishes a sense of belonging, upholds trust and provides its members the prospect of moving upward.
Social cohesion is comprised of establishment of common ethics and neighborhoods of understanding, decreasing discrepancies in possessions and earnings, and usually allowing everyone to have a good judgment that they are involved in a shared venture, confronting joint problems, and that they are part and parcel of the same society.
Building a socially cohesive society in a deeply divided and economically unequal society could be quite challenging due to the fact that members of such a society already have issues that have to do with discrepancies in possessions and earnings among other things with one another. It will therefore take a strategic approach in order to build a socially cohesive society within such a community.
The following are essential to building a socially cohesive society in a deeply divided and economically unequal society;
Competence Evaluation and Assessment
The government at the community level needs to make it an obligation to build social cohesion and then implement the guiding principles and procedure to sustain it. This could be achieved by measuring social cohesion through the establishment of a scale or standard of assessment thereafter there should be a commitment to social cohesion as a main concern by using tactical preparation to support guidelines, course of actions and task execution markers. The community government needs to build capacity by evaluating the duties and tasks for social cohesion, the employment procedures and course of action as well as the present competence of designated members and staff
Recognizing Community Grievances
Government at the community level needs to be aware of their localities and where probable apprehensions have the tendencies of arising among diverse groups. The communities should be well known and understood especially the uniqueness of the citizens who reside and work in the neighborhood and whether or not as well as how this has the possibility of changing over the years. The community should be engaged by recognizing existing or possible regions for development and improve on recent strong points. There should be a fair representation and inclusiveness of every region within the community by making sure all voices are properly considered and attended to.
Building Strong Affiliations
In order to build a socially cohesive society there is need to form a strong affiliation with the trade and commerce of every community region as well as the police and other organizations. This is done by discovering possible allies across variety of regions and recognizing any of the allies that can assist in building social cohesion at the moment and on the long run. The allies are engaged through an approach for familiarization and forming affiliations which help to discover apprehensive regions, demonstrate management course of action and establishing mutual working affiliations in order to respond to apprehensions from different community regions. The allies are kept for an extended length of time by maintaining a record of amendments in workforce in order to foster affiliations officially and unofficially on the long run. Setting up and sustaining efficient affiliations needs a long-term dedication which is brought about by being up to date with the adjustment of employees in the organizations concerned since affiliations flourish when there is a one to one interaction. The dedication of the organization can also not be over emphasized on the long run.
Actions to build social cohesion need a community spotlight and should satisfy the precise needs of the community, in other words programs should be tailored to meet specific needs. The competence of the community is enhanced by allowing the community to take part in development and execution activities. A plan course of action to be taken when required should be developed working hand in hand with affiliates. Youths should be engaged so as to feel they are part and parcel of the community and the whole process. Multiple media and different types of messaging can be used to build social cohesion.
The government at the community level should appraise their social cohesion hard work to make sure funds are allocated proficiently. An appraisal framework should be developed working hand in hand with the community to determine how to quantify the suitability, efficacy and competence of actions taken. The appraisal data could be from community surveys, audits of strategies and modus operandi, spotlight groups with selected organization or regions or key informant interviews with community leaders among others.
Citizens’ Alignment to Individuals or Factions
Citizens tend to occasionally align themselves with a more extreme faction, this is due to the fact that the individual or faction seems to stand for their anxiety. These factions most of the time use certain expressions that seem to position a different faction within society as the trouble maker, in this way citizen’s sentiments of injustice are seriously taken advantage of. citizens who are angry are more prone to be convinced by selfish communications or planned excessive devices or aggression, especially if they think they haven’t been handled reasonably but rather they have been edged out of normal society.
The only way to have a socially cohesive society is to attend to inequality and to ensure all citizens have access to opportunity, predominantly to education as well as employment. When citizens’ justifiable complaints are acknowledged and properly addressed, There is a better prospect for a productive discussion that leads to resolutions, in other words facilitates or defuse conflict-ridden discuss.
The eventual target is a courteous community where people feel protected to express their culture, views or belief without trepidation, and where we can constructively debate controversial issues freely. There could however be a problem of leaders who express discordant views and support retaliatory or aggressive actions. These extremist political leaders normally put forward a certain type of solution to an actual or apparent problem, this problem is what makes those supporting them do so in anticipation of a resolution, it is however unfortunate that the solution proffered by these leaders are exclusionary and discriminatory which is what divides the society. The natural way to react to such leaders is by personal attack of blame and condemnation, however it will be counter-productive to do so, stating the problem with an alternative probable solution in an objective manner that is neither exclusionary nor discriminatory is the right way forward in rebuilding cohesion within the community.
It is also very important to avoid stigmatizing or labeling their supporters or, even worse, entire communities, the fact that they have common grievances or concerns with such leaders does not automatically imply the community agree to the solutions proffered. In the same way because some extremists come out of a particular community does not mean they stand for or represent that community, or that their community supports their beliefs or actions, such assumptions or generalizations could lead to social division instead of social cohesion which is not what we desire.
Dr. Lizzy Oluwatoyin Ofusori is a postdoctoral research fellow at the School of Management, IT and Governance, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban. She writes in her capacity.