According to the Australian Men's Shed Association (AMSA) established in 2007, the Men's shed project refers to any non-commercial, non-profit community-based organization whose sole goal is the provision of a friendly and safe environment where men can work harmoniously on meaningful projects. Over 1000 Men's Shed organizations are supported by the Australian Men's Shed Association (AMSA) which acts as a critical hub for information sharing among the communities establishing or interested in creating Men's Shed projects. The body is also responsible for maintaining the accepted code of conduct as per the Association's By-Laws and providing a capable team of professionals (practically and academically experienced) in Men's Shed development projects.
Community development workers have a vast history of working closely with the local community members. Thus, they are we placed to identify, observe and carry out processes aimed at creating economic prosperity. Men's Shade development programs offer communities' professional practitioners that are well placed to implement groundwork projects together with community members. According to Ife, (2013), such experts can tap into the 'passion, vision and hope' of community members who will see their efforts as something intrinsically important in helping develop the world as a better place (economically). However, to derive maximum economic efficiency of the development projects Men's Shade projects practitioners also need to increase their efforts in working closely with communities of professional colleagues and political decision makers.
Eversole, (2014), establishes that community development projects are a social development agenda; the development approaches of such projects are thus drawn from the need to offer solutions to the diverse challenges and consequences as support for such procedures remains imperative. To create such a support structure, community development projects are integrated with the needs of the local community, thus, nurturing maintenance and acceptance by the locals as they develop a sense of community. Men's Shed projects allow full inclusion of local participants in building their community, therefore, developing a sense of ownership which fosters the appreciation and acceptance of both social and physical development projects. The same sentiments are echoed by Hillier and Haddock, (2016), who emphasized that innovative alternative imaginations such as enabling local people to be subjects instead of objects of development projects refocus macro-social development (by attaching meaning to spaces) which has a catalytic effect on overall growth at various spatial scales. The latter also sheds light on the institutional and cultural modifications necessary for development to flourish.
Eversole, (2014), also states that sustainable community development projects need to be aligned with both the national and local development policies. Men's Shed plans are guided by policies regarding particular "grassroots" movements within the Australian community. The Non-Governmental policies established by the Australian Men's Shed Association (AMSA) entails the AMSA Constitution 2017, National Men's Shed Advisory Committee, Membership By-Laws 2017, Corporate Governance Statement Board Charter, and the Board & Employee Code of Conduct. The sole focus on local movements with minimal consideration for the global scale of action limits the interests across national scales that would help Men's Shed projects in achieving their objectives (Snijder et al. 2015). Tailoring the combination of large-scale initiatives (such as the 2030 Agenda for sustainability) and macroeconomic strategies within Men's Shed policies increases their success chances.
According to Dempsey et al. (2011), the main factors that favor sustainable community development projects are the interactions among the residents in the form of active participation in the development projects, interaction networks, and security awareness. Men's Shade development programs create an environment where these aspects can be attained through volunteering. The participants in Men's Shade development projects freely interact and share fundamental ideas on development (expressing desired outcomes) while protected and guided by the code of practice established by the AMSA. Members of the Australian Men's Shed Association and the Shedder's as a whole also have a duty to protect themselves from risks emanating during their activities. Ninson, (2018), also identifies that the connection between users and the development projects plays a critical role in enhancing interactions; therefore, all stakeholders must be in cooperated in development projects. Their involvement should also not stop at project initiation as synchronizing their objectives from launch to implementation makes them feel obligated to sustain the projects. Men's Shade projects involve all the stakeholders irrespective of their age (6-99 years), gender, ethnicity, and social standing. The nearby community is also given priority in joining Men's Shade programs that are within their proximity thus creating an efficiency the utilization of local resources to support the project (Pretty, 2003). The in-cooperation of various activities for one to participate in further ensures the use of artistic expression as a means of relieving tensions and solving social challenges that may impede development projects.
Community development aims at achieving economic and social prosperity with the help of community members. By integrating the community members within the projects Men's Shade projects foster an appreciation and sustenance of their projects by the local community members. Aligning the International, National and local strategies within the projects, creating stable interaction networks and eliminating barriers of entry into Men's Shade programs will also play a critical role in increasing their success.
Australian Men's Shed Association (2017). Men's Sheds FAQs. Retrieved on 25th October from https://mensshed.org/about-amsa/
Dempsey, N., Bramley, G., Power, S., & Brown, C. (2011). The social dimension of sustainable development: Defining urban social sustainability. Sustainable development, 19(5), 289-300. Retrieved on 24th October from http://www.academia.edu/download/39927545/The_Social_Dimension_of_Sustainable_Deve20151112-26318-xoapzg.pdf
Ellinger, Christopher (2005). Report on Social Healing Arts: How the Arts Serve Social Healing and How to Support Fulfilling Its Potential. Electronic document. Retrieved 26th October from http://zings.org/sha/research.php.
Eversole, Robyn. Knowledge Partnering for Community Development, Routledge, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central. Retrieved on 27th October from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ecu/detail.action?docID=1818210.
Hillier, J., & Haddock, S. V. (2016). Social Innovation and Territorial Develop. Social Innovation and Territorial Development. Retrieved on 26th October from http://www.applis.univtours.fr/scd/EPU_DA/2009ebook_McCallumetal2009_Social_Innovation%20and%20territorial%20development_Ashgate.pdf#page=42
Ife, J. (2013). Community development in an uncertain world: Vision, analysis, and practice. Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.
Ninson, E. A. (2018). Evaluating Community Development Projects Using the OECD Evaluation Criteria. Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 14(30), 37-45. Retrieved on 25th October http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=4&sid=1c7ec450-95ec-4b87-be29-c232f51cf9af%40sessionmgr4009
Pretty, J. (2003). Social capital and the collective management of resources. Science, 302(5652), 1912-1914. Retrieved on 23rd October from https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/65915/1060_Pretty_Social_Capital_Collective_Managem.pdf?sequence=1
Snijder, M., Shakeshaft, A., Wagemakers, A., Stephens, A., & Calabria, B. (2015). A systematic review of studies evaluating Australian indigenous community development projects: The extent of community participation, their methodological quality, and their outcomes. BMC Public Health, 15 Retrieved on 25th October from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1779676499?accountid=776
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