An Agent of Regenerative Societal Transformation through the Forms and Processes of Strategic Development Scholarship-based Community Regenerative Development and Engagement (CRD&E).
The Center for Community Excellence (Center4CE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity organization and a CRD&E practitioner established in 2005 and qualified by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Its vision is to be the standard bearer for CRD&E in Africa. Its mission is: “To provide more inclusive and better-quality CRD&E services directed at beyond Sustainable Development Goals accomplishment, improving quality of life in the shortest time possible”. To this end, in 2015, the Center4CE fostered the establishment of the Charles Odeyale Foundation (COF) for Community Sustainable Development in Nigeria as an affiliate. COF is also registered in the United States; it operates as the International Consortium of Universities for Africa’s Sustainable Development (ICUASD). ICUASD is housed at the Centre for Sustainable Development at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.
The CRD&E practice environment is education-based, focusing on individual, organization and institution capacity-building, mapping and leveraging. It involves the use of anchor projects’ activities for teaching/learning, training, mentoring, conducting research, providing relevant public services, and promoting relevant policy evolution. This is termed Strategic Development Scholarship (SDS), an experiential/transformational learning, a form and process of CRD&E. The requisite goals and objectives of CRD&E are strategic priorities of SDS, featuring:
The Center4CE links and works with academia and other representatives of the stakeholder-sectors to enhance the relevance of, foster excellence in, and improve access to local information and knowledge for CRD&E. As alluded to above, its strategic approach/tool is SDS-based CRD&E. Generally, education is regarded as the only instrument through which the society can be transformed. It is described as “the greatest resource” in the societal transformation endeavor, (Schumacher, F., 1973). Further, John Dewey and Julius Nyerere, (in Hatcher, J.A. and Erasmus, M.A., 2008), have described education as the fundamental method of social progress and reform. They theorized that combining critical analysis with positive action would not only ascertain the link between education and real-issues, but also help to solve the problems of society, which requires participatory action by local stakeholders, including entities-in-situation. This recognition led to UNESCO’s concept of Education for Sustainable Development. This same recognition also led Odeyale, C.O. (2007) to conceiving and developing the concept of SDS for Community Sustainable Development (CSD). So, SDS/education is an element of a viable all-inclusive empowering system of approach indicated for Social Innovation (Odeyale, C.O., 2007), e.g., community-level SDGs accomplishment.
SDS shares the same characteristics with Participatory Action Learning and Action Research (PALAR). SDS-based CRD&E practice operates within a community comprised of representatives of stakeholder-sectors of private, public, academia, civil society/NGO, and Social Enterprise; forming a Penta Helix Partnership (PHP) on CRD&E, whether they know and/or acknowledge it or not. The SDS-based CRD&E practice environment is an integrated top-down, bottom-up and lateral CRD&E approach that seriously considers local characteristics and citizens’ attitude, needs and participation, and the involvement of nongovernmental public services providers. SDS provides chances to go beyond the goal of achieving cognitive and behavioral changes in individuals and groups, to the goal of systemic, structural and cultural changes. It’s an approach to effective, collaborative, innovative, and self-developed community engagement, where a shift is needed in mind-sets, paradigms, and skills for social justice and CRD&E.