Stratégies et rôles Processus
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Introduction to Community Development

Community
Development
Strategies

Process Strategies and Roles

For the purposes of this course, the general community development process can be synthesized into the following basic steps. However, community development is an organic process, so that while the "steps" are presented in a logical order, in reality they may not follow sequentially and some steps may either be skipped or carried out simultaneously with other steps.

Process Strategies and Roles

10 Steps to Community Development [1]

Whether you want to be an active member of the community, an effective service provider or a community leader, you will have to be familiar with its issues, resources, needs, power structure and decision¬making processes. Your initial orientation could include reading your local newspaper regularly, attending community events, reading reports and familiarizing with available services as well as community projects and activities. Close observation of the community as you interact with it will also provide significant insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the community.

Process Strategies and Roles

1. Learn about the community

You won't be able to learn everything you need to know by reading and observation. You will need to talk to others about their interests and perceptions to put it into context. You can contact community members through formal channels, such as joining a local organization, or informally by chatting with people that visit the library or that you encounter in other situations, such as at local stores or attending school activities. By listening to the community you may identify an area in which there seems to be a common interest in making a change.
Staff need to maintain regular contact with the community to collect enough information to make sound recommendations and decisions on health services and priorities and to identify important community issues

2. Listen to community members

Process Strategies and Roles
Once you have identified that there are some common interests among community members and you have identified a few individuals who seem willing to work on a community development initiative, the next step is to hold a community gathering. In some circumstances it may be appropriate to invite representatives of specific organizations or sector to attend, but more often it would be a public event for a neighbourhood or, for other types of communities, for all the identified members. The purpose of this gathering would be to develop a shared "community vision"; i.e., through imagining their ideal community and discussing their ideas together they will determine arrive at a common vision and some broad strategic directions that all are committed to working towards. You may also use this gathering to ask for support for the initiative, elicit community input or invite members to join a steering committee or help in other ways.

Process Strategies and Roles

3. Bring people together to develop a shared vision

To be able to work effectively in a community development context, you will need to gather some information about your community. It is extremely helpful to undertake a comprehensive community assessment which will collect both and quantitative data on a wide range of community features.
Unfortunately, often time and budget restraints will necessitate choosing between methods and limiting the assessment to particular areas of interest. Deciding what and how much information to collect may be aided by a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the community, which may point to particular areas being higher priorities for action.
There are many methods of community assessment used in community development practice. A few of the more common methods are listed below;additional information is contained in the resources section.
Compiling a community demographic profile is an excellent start. It is helpful to update the profile periodically so you will be able to track changes that occur within your community and respond accordingly. A demographic profile includes statistical information about age, gender, language, visible minority status, education, and family income.

Process Strategies and Roles

4. Assess community assets and resources, needs and issues

Other community statistics may also be of interest to you, such as crime rates, morbidity and mortality rates, or availability of affordable housing. Some of these are available from government offices, but local data may be obtained from local agencies; e.g. the local police service will have crime statistics.
However, simply collecting information is not sufficient; it must be analysed in order for it to be meaningful. For example, you might be interested in the relative proportion of seniors to youth in your community, or the proportion of the population for whom English is a second language. You may want to compare the most recent data available with previous years; perhaps to identify the rate of growth of the population, changes in ethno¬cultural patterns or age distribution.
Statistical information isn't the only type of information that is important to collect. Finding out how residents perceive their community is also essential to effective community development practice. Community surveys, community asset mapping, environmental scans, focus groups and key informant interviews are other methods of obtaining community data. The City of Calgary has an excellent publication on community assessments. It contains background information on the need for community assessments, describes various methods and provides easy¬to¬follow worksheets for planning and implementing a community assessment process.[2]

Process Strategies and Roles

5. Help community members to recognize and articulate areas of concern and their causes

In any community development process, it is the community that is in the driver's seat. Community members will define the issues and the process for resolving them, which might be quite different than what would be proposed by an external "expert". However, it is the community members that are most familiar with the situation and, in many cases, have knowledge and wisdom that an external "expert" lacks. By providing tools, resources, meeting space and facilitation, community developers empower the community to start to take ownership of the issues and the development of solutions.

If we genuinely want to empower [communities], we must do it in such a way that they become independent of our charity, that they become self reliant, that they can sustain their own development without our help. [3]

Process Strategies and Roles

6. Establish a 'vehicle for change'

In most circumstances it will be necessary to create a "vehicle for change" for an organizational change, which in most cases will start as a steering committee. Depending on the circumstances, this nature of the group could range from a few unaffiliated individuals or a coalition of organizations and institutions. In time, the steering committee may evolve into or be adopted by a community organization. There is a wide range of activities that the steering committee will need to undertake to ensure that it will be able to plan, organize, implement and evaluate the initiative effectively, including developing a charter or terms of reference, establishing governance policies, obtaining sufficient resources to carry out the work and identifying potential partners who can contribute to its success.

Process Strategies and Roles

7. Develop an action plan

Assuming that the community as a whole has set the strategic directions for the initiative, the steering committee will now develop the action plan. Depending on the size of the group and the complexity of the initiative, there may be other steps between setting the strategic directions and the action plan. You may want to create a comprehensive strategic plan containing long, mid and short¬term objectives, and mid¬level plans for communications, resource development or human resources. In addition, if there are a number of activities or events to plan, you will need a separate action plan for each one. The point you need to arrive at is a well thought out plan that is easily comprehended by community members, clearly links activities with objectives and indicates responsibilities, time frames and resources required.

Process Strategies and Roles

8. Implement action plan

This is the heart of the initiative, in which financial and human resources, including volunteers and community members, are mobilized to take action. This may take many different forms. Perhaps the community has decided to establish a coalition against homelessness and is working to ensure all organizations that come into contact with homeless persons are able to provide referrals to appropriate sources of assistance. The actions might consist of:
• working with community workers to identify needs and appropriate services;
• developing informational brochures;
• eliciting support from targeted organizations;
• distributing the brochures to the organizations;
• meeting with organizational representatives to provide further information.
In addition to implementing the various action steps, it is important to ensure that the factors that are required for the success of any community initiative are in place, such as:
• shared vision and purpose
• concrete, attainable goals and objectives
• sufficient funds, staff, materials and time
• skilled, participatory leadership
• clear roles and policy guidelines
• mutual respect
• open communications, including both formal and informal methods
• recognition that there are "process" people and there are "action" people; ensure there is a variety of ways of participating in or contributing to the initiative
• time and resources management; don't take on more than you can handle at one time; set priorities
• conflict management; don't let problems slide ¬ address them in an open, honest and timely manner
• good record¬keeping; e.g. financial reports, meeting minutes, successes
• celebration of successes
• fun; don't forget to celebrate your successes ¬ even small ones!
Process Strategies and Roles

9. Evaluate results of actions

Traditionally, community development workers have relied more on their own experience, anecdotal evidence from others to guide their practice rather than formal evaluation procedures. Often it is difficult to find reasonable and appropriate measures in terms of the cost and time involved, especially when the desired outcomes, as is often the case with prevention and capacity¬building initiatives, may not be seen for several years. However, there are many reasons why it is important to evaluate your work. Most importantly, you may need to demonstrate that you have not caused any harm to others through your actions.
Other reasons to evaluate may be to demonstrate the effectiveness of the initiative so that it will be continued, to satisfy funder requirements and to provide information that will be useful to others or to subsequent initiatives. Evaluation plans may be formal or informal and tailored to the needs and resources of the group. IN community development, a participatory evaluation method is usually conducted in addition to or sometimes in place of more traditional method. Participatory evaluation involves program participants and/or community members in the evaluation design, data collection, and the analysis and interpretation of results.
"If one is concerned with increasing people's capacity to participate fully and gain some degree of control over their lives, then research methods themselves can be part of this method." [4]

Process Strategies and Roles

10. Reflect and regroup

Allow time for the group to catch its breath before embarking on the next initiative. Thank everyone that contributed and make sure there is good follow up communication with media, partner and funders. Celebrate your successes and reflect on any disappointments that might have occurred. Discuss how well the organizational processes and structures worked and identify areas that need some attention before the next rush of activity occurs. Also, it is important to provide a space for participants to reflect on their personal development as a result of being part of the group. When the group is ready to tackle a new initiative, they might want to revisit the community assessment information and the strategic directions and decide whether either of those steps need to be repeated.


Process Strategies and Roles

Community Development Strategies

There are many different strategies and methods used in community development. Below is a chart of those that are most commonly used.

Locality Development

Features:
• Improvements in the well¬being of local citizens through increased resources, facilities, services, etc., brought about by the active involvement of citizens.
Examples:
• Building a community centre
• Home renovation subsidies

Social Action

Features:
• Seeks a redistribution of power
• Focus is on a specific issue
• Advocacy activities; for example
Examples:
• Anti¬poverty activists seeking increases to social assistance rates.

Social Planning

Features:
• Rational problem¬solving process to address social problems
• Involves needs assessments, analysis of service delivery mechanisms, systems co¬ ordination and other technical expertise
• Involvement of community members in consultation, interpretation of results and service planning

Examples:
• Conducting a needs assessment of people who are homeless and using the results to plan a new housing development in needed locations, with appropriate services on¬site.


Social Reform

Features:
• Activity by one group on behalf of a relatively disadvantaged group

Examples:
• Advocating for community acceptance, supports and services for people that have a mental illness


Community Relations

Features:
• Focus is on increasing social integration
• Often attempts to improve the social status of minority populations

Examples:
• Mediating between community factions
• Anti¬racism programs

Social Capital Formation

Features:
• Focus in on connections among individuals ¬ social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness
• high social capital = effective schools, governments, lower crime, higher economic equality, greater tolerance
• includes political engagement, civic and religious organizations, family gatherings, socializing, group recreational activities

Examples:
• Creating places and opportunities for community members to gather and network with each other
• Orientation programs to welcome newcomers
• Community activities to develop and/neighbourliness

Capacity Building

Features:
• Capacity is the participatory leadership, skills, resources, knowledge and tools of individuals in communities and organizations that enable them to address, and have greater control over, conditions and factors that affect their quality of life.
a)
b) Individual Capacity is the sum of the assets (skills, talents, experience and knowledge) possessed by an individual that will help them succeed and contribute to their community.
c)
d) Organizational Capacity is the participatory decision¬making, program development, planning, research, resources, tools, skills, education & training, knowledge contained within an organization
e)
f) Community Capacity: the combination of a community's commitment, leadership, resources and skills that can be deployed to build on community strengths and address community problems and opportunities.

Examples:
a) The Search Institute [7] has identified the essential development assets for children youth that will enable them to thrive.
b)
c) organizations can enhance their capacity in many ways, such as professional development activities, involvement of all levels of the organization in planning, and recognizing the unique talents of individuals
d)
e) Some indicators of high community capacity are inter¬ agency networking opportunities, collaborations and partnerships to address broad community issues, community pride, local government support for community activities and high quality education, health and social services.

Asset¬Based CD

Features:
• Assets are the gifts, skills, resources and abilities of community residents; sometimes physical resources are also included

• Every community has a unique combination of assets upon which to build its future

• Starts with identifying assets rather than needs

• Is internally focused and relationship¬driven

Examples:
• Some communities have mapped the location of their community assets (people, businesses, services, buildings, natural features) and used the data to connect people with similar interests, or people in need of help with someone that can provide it. Co¬ operative businesses and new volunteer groups have been established from community mapping projects.

Process Strategies and Roles

Community Development Roles

A community developer may take on a variety of different roles and s/he works with the community. However, in all the roles, the worker always respects the autonomy and self-determination of the community members and does not impose an externally directed agenda upon them. Their work conforms to professional standards and ethics and is comprehensive and systematic in its approach.

Currently, there are few positions that are explicitly named "Community Developer" and it is increasingly more common for managers and employees in a variety of settings to be expected to take a community development approach to their work. There are many opportunities for anyone who is involved with community members to incorporate a community development role into their practice.

Process Strategies and Roles

Development Roles

In community development literature, the roles commonly ascribed to community development workers are enabler, guide, technical expert and liaison.[8]

Guide: As a guide, the worker helps the community identify their goals and find the means to achieve them.

Enabler: The worker can enable the community in a variety of ways. S/he might facilitate a problem solving process with the community, which could include helping them to articulate dissatisfactions and identify their causes. The worker could also help them to organize and plan their activities and encourage positive interpersonal relationships. The enabler role is most associated with locality development strategies.

Technical Assistant: This "expert" role is most associated with social planning. However, in all forms of community development there is usually some need by the community to access technical support, in areas such as community assessment, media relations, accessing information or project development.

Liaison/Advocate: Depending on the nature of the community and the type of community development initiative it has taken on, there may be a need for the worker to assume a liaison or advocacy role. S/he may be the intermediary between the community and other bodies such as government, institutions or other community factions. The worker may be asked by the community to present their views, access information or negotiate an agreement.

End of Unit:
Community Development Strategies
- Process Strategies and Roles
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