Module 1: Stratégies de développement communautaire - Collaboration communautaire | fr - 895 - 57477
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Collaboration communautaire

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Introduction to Community Development

Community
Development
Strategies

Community Collaboration

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Community Collaboration

Introduction

In almost any kind of community initiative, finding other groups and organizations with similar interests, that are willing to work with you on common issues or projects, is strategically advantageous.

Community Awareness

Community Collaboration

List of the benefits that can result from collaborating with others:

Synergy

The sharing of resources and expertise can make daunting tasks more manageable. Also, it may be that you require technical expertise, knowledge or facilities that your own organization cannot provide.

Community Awareness

Increased participation leads to increased community awareness. By involving a number of organizations, your issue or message can be transmitted to a great many more people, and, through word¬of¬mouth with their associates, to an exponentially larger pool of people.

Share resources:

The sharing of resources and expertise can make daunting tasks more manageable. Also, it may be that you require technical expertise, knowledge or facilities that your own organization cannot provide.

Overcome Obstacles

Obstacles faced by one group may be overcome by another group.
Effective Representation: A partnership, coalition or network has more power to influence policy than a single organization because a larger and broader section of the community is represented.

Avoid Duplication

Working together can help ensure efforts and services aren’t being unnecessarily duplicated, and that there is an appropriate distribution of resources.

Access to Constituents

Sometimes one partner will have a high degree of organizational capacity for planning and implementing programs, but has not developed a trusting relationship with the community it wishes to serve, such as people with disabilities, aboriginal groups, grass roots community groups or particular ethno¬racial communities. They may benefit from partnering with others who serve as a bridge into the community.

Access to funding sources

There may be grant opportunities for which your organization is not eligible, but one of your partners is. By working as a collaborative these funds can be accessed to support your initiative.

Community Collaboration

Types of Collaborations

There are many different types of collaborative arrangements, ranging from loose network affiliations to fully collaborative structures with complex and formal relationships. The following is one set of categories used to indicate the nature of the relationship among collaborative members. However, in reality, collaboratives frequently develop a mix of the various attributes outlined in the following descriptions.

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Community Collaboration

Networks

Members of a network have informal ties to each other and non¬hierarchical relationships. There are few expectations of members and no official obligations. Informal networks may emerge simply due to the clustering of people and activities, but frequently networks are deliberately established to promote the sharing of information, tools and resources among individuals and organizations with similar interests.
Networks have many benefits; they can:
• enhance communication, co¬operation and mutual support among organizations and community members
• raise the standards and quality of services;
• encourage the development of new models of service
• provide opportunities to form strategic partnerships.
Networks generally do not carry out work, per se, although members may collaborate on tasks and activities, and so generally require relatively little investment in their development and maintenance. However, successful networks require a certain degree of coordination and management. Communication vehicles must be established and maintained, the network must be promoter to prospective members and members must be engaged.

Community Collaboration

Networks - Example

The Ontario Health Promotion Resource System established a set of indicators of network effectiveness which may have relevance to other types of networks as well. They are:
• the extent to which the relationships established within the network contribute to the planning and implementation of new programs or activities and take advantage of new opportunities
• the extent to which the members actually function as a network; [e.g., share information and resources, use common tools and templates, adopt similar administration and reporting procedures, use each others’ materials, make referrals to each other, link websites and otherwise interact with each other]
• the range of services and supports provided by the network as a whole; the strength of the relationships between and among network members
• the extent to which individual members of the network perceive the benefits of their involvement [1]

Community Collaboration

Community assets include:

• Skills, knowledge, talents and experience of local residents
• Community associations, many of which provide benefits far beyond their mandate
• Businesses
• Schools, churches, libraries and other institutions that operate within the community
• Municipal services such as police, fire, parks and recreation services
• Other social services and community organizations
• Physical structures; e.g. town square, heritage buildings Natural resources; e.g. river, trees, green space

Community Collaboration

Alliances

Alliances involve more formal relationships among organizations and individuals, and usually focused on a particular issue or mission. While it is unlikely that there will be legal obligations in place, there will be clear expectations around task performance, contributions and conduct. Alliances are often formed as a means of influencing policy; either to formulate a strong response to a new policy that is seen as detrimental, or to advocate for the development of a policy.



Community Collaboration
Coalitions

A coalition is formal relationship among more than two organizations and perhaps involving individual members as well, which enables them to work together on a specific issue or project. Quite often the coalition will have its own funds and staff, either allocated from members’ own organizational budgets and human resources, or funded by an external source.
There are three main types of coalitions [2]:
• Grassroots coalitions form in times of crisis to pressure political decision¬makers to act. They are usually organized by volunteers and are political, controversial and short¬lived.
• Professional coalitions may form in time of crisis or as part of a long¬term strategy to increase their power and influence. Usually a lead organization is established that contributes significant staff and financial resources.
• Community¬Based coalitions have broad community representation and involve both professionals and volunteers/grassroots leaders. They tend to be focused on positive action to improve conditions in community, worksites, schools or other local institutions. Often one agency takes a lead administrative role and seeks funding to support the coalition and its activities.


Community Collaboration

Partnerships

In business, a partner is someone who shares both the risks and profits of a business venture. Partnerships between non¬profit organizations can be defined in similar terms - it is a relationship in which the organizations share resources and responsibilities to achieve a common objective, as well as any resulting rewards or recognition. Partnerships are formal relationships that are defined through a written agreement or contract.
The Hamilton Public Library partnership (see archive.ifla.org/IV/ifla71/papers/041e-Hovius.pdf) shows a number of partnerships they have established and gives tips on developing and maintaining successful partnerships. According to the presentation partnership development requires:
• time
• effort
• small steps
• shared success
• trust
• respect

Community Collaboration

Full Collaboration

When organizations fully collaborate on an initiative, the collaboration takes on its own identity. In a full collaboration, the new entity will have its own budget, constitution or terms of reference, dedicated human resources and a plan of action. For example, walkON[3] is a community partnership including local Heart Health projects, municipalities, and public health Units formed to promote walk-able communities by raising awareness and educating the public. walkON has its own website and produces its materials under the walkON logo. It has its own funding sources separate from those of the collaborating organizations.

Community Collaboration

Collaborative Roles

There are many different roles that organizations can play in terms of their relationship with each other, such as:

Convener

Convener - Initiates a public discussion of a community issue

Evaluator

Evaluator - Provides information about how well the collaborative is performing and whether its objectives are being met. [4]


Capacity Builder

Capacity Builder - Provides resources and skills training to community members to increase their ability to effect change. Capacity¬builders aim to increase skills, knowledge and resources, but also community power and ownership.


Catalyst

Catalyst - Provides initial leadership and credibility but is committed to a longer-term strategy

Partner

Partner - Shares in risks, responsibility, investment and rewards.


Community Organizer

Community Organizer - Interested in who is “at the table”; i.e. who is involved and who has decision¬making power. The community organizer works to maximize community participation and to ensure that those who are traditionally excluded from decision¬making are included as full partners in the process.


Conduit

Conduit - Acts as the “lead” organization in that it manages the necessary contractual and financial obligations that come with receiving grants. It is important that the conduit not be allowed to dominate the initiatives as a result of taking on this role


Advocate

Advocate - Focuses on changing policy or systems


Technical Assistance Provider

Technical Assistance Provider - Provides data, technical information, professional opinions or particular skills


Funder

Funder - Provides financial resources, and may also be actively involved in the design and evaluation of the project. A clear understanding of the scope and limit of their authority is required.


Facilitator

Facilitator - Assists in community problem¬solving process by liaising among various players and being a source of fairness, encouragement


Community Collaboration

Factors That Contribute To Successful Collaborations

There are many different factors that can contribute to a effective and successful collaboration.

People

People - Organizations do not work together, people do - thus individual characteristics will be a factor in whether the collaborative is successful or not. Check out the “chemistry” between people and their level of commitment to the collaborative.

Planning

Planning - Working together effectively requires a great deal of planning. All aspects of the collaborative, including purpose, function, decision¬making process, the risks and benefits to each member and anticipated results needs to be considered, agreed upon and committed to (usually by signing a written agreement). Subsequently, every meeting, every workplan, every approach to a prospective member or funder, has to be planned.


Communication

Communication - There needs to be a transparent flow of information among members, and mechanisms for ensuring that all members are kept up¬to¬date on matters relating to the collaborative and have clear means of voicing concerns and suggestions.


Vision

Vision - Create a shared vision and common goals that incorporate all of the members’ perspectives and interests, and identifies mutual needs that cannot be met by one organization alone.

Leadership

Leadership - There are many options for leadership; e.g. elect a Chair or Co¬Chairs, or establish different roles for different members. It may be formal or informal. Shared leadership can renew energy and increase commitment.


Learning Together

Learning Together - Partnerships involve learning about each other, about the issues or needs that are being addressed, and about how to work together effectively.


Trust

Trust - Take some time to explore your common ground. “Trust is built through mutual respect for each person’s experience, knowledge and contribution. “


Technology

Technology - Electronic communication can enhance and support the work of the partnership by facilitating connections and opportunities for innovation. An assessment of current systems and technical capacities of each of the members is required before effective information and communications systems can be established.


Time

Time - Do not give in to the pressure for speed and action. Getting to know each other in order to developing a solid partnership takes time, as does planning and implementation.


Flexibility

Flexibility - As circumstances change, one or more members may not be able to contribute to the extent originally intended, or may not be able to remain involved at all. The remaining members will have to make adjustments accordingly.


Community Collaboration

Challenges of Collaboration

While the vision of a collaborative may be very compelling, every day realities may pose considerable challenges and tensions. Before starting or joining a collaborative, it is important to have a clear understanding of the risks, challenges and expectations that are involved. Each organization has to assess the level of risk the collaborative entails to the organization, in terms of finances, reputation, time, energy and other “lost” opportunities, and decide if it is acceptable. You will want to have a clear understanding of the conditions for withdrawing from the collaborative, and be prepared to absorb any failures. What sounds good in theory may not work as well in practice, especially working within community settings where there are many variables beyond your control.
Probably the biggest challenge in developing and managing a successful collaborative is finding the time and energy to nurture the positive relationships required to function effectively, particularly in times of rapid change or increased pressure on resources. It is often commented that working collaboratively takes longer and is more complex, difficult and sometimes frustrating, but we may also develop superior solutions and have a greater impact.

Introduction to Community Development

End of Unit:
Community Development Strategies
- Community Collaboration
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