Community Capacity Building

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Section 3

Step 4 – Assess Community Capacity and Readiness

The fourth step of CCB is to assess the current community capacity and readiness for the change desired. Over the next few steps, we will present step-by-step directions on what to consider.

  1. Identify the existing structures and strengths in your community (general and specific) [10]. This step helps the community explore existing strengths and identify areas for improvement.
    1. General structures and strengths entail the general capacity of your local organizations, motivation of these organizations to expand services or be part of planning, existing partnerships, funding, and infrastructure.
    2. Specific structures and strengths are specific to the identified topic, for example, active community groups working in this area, and resources, knowledge, and skills within the community in this area. Additionally, these may involve specific individuals of a community (leaders, community elders, service providers) and an existing sense of community among its members.
  2. Reach out to individuals, groups, and organizations within a community, and together identify for each their level of involvement and relevant responsibilities. Levels of involvement are [2]:
    • Core: active groups, organizations, individuals, and community leaders who are part of the community planning team.
    • Involved: leaders, organizations, and groups that will be frequently consulted as a part of the planning process.
    • Supportive: community members who are supportive of the goal and may provide assistance.
    • Peripheral: local authorities, tribal councils, and funders who need to be kept informed about the process.
  3. Collaborate with your new partners and develop or strengthen relationships within pre-existing and new structures within your community [3].
    • Network and collaborate.
    • Establish and maintain effective communication.
    • Raise awareness about your work.
    • Provide avenues for dialogue.
    • Build support.
    • Gather feedback.
    • Explore innovative ideas and expertise.
  4. Work together to further identify pre-existing resources and strengths with your new partners.
    • Identify skills and knowledge, as well as areas of improvement.
    • Identify gaps, such as motivation, funding, space, resources, access, and connectedness between rural and remote areas and other communities.

Step 4 – Assess Community Capacity and Readiness Example

  1. The community team identifies the following existing structures and strengths:
    • General: active alcohol strategy committee and prenatal care network; partnerships between the two; access to space for community activities; eagerness to expand activities; funding; technology; peripheral services are willing to help as needed.
    • Specific: local organizations working on reducing harms related to alcohol consumption; perinatal and infant health care in community; parenting groups; members who work with people who are pregnant and using alcohol; knowledge and skills of the service providers related to FASD. In addition, there are community leaders and elders who believe in the importance of the project and can play a key role.
  2. The team reaches out to others in the community to invite them to participate in the project and together they identify each interested individual’s levels of involvement.
    • Core: Elder Rose, members of the current alcohol strategy committee, prenatal care network, recreation head, two pregnant people
    • Involved: Saskatchewan Prevention Institute; Health Canada; PHAC; Public Health; Community A
    • Supportive: Library staff; recreation staff; grocery store owner; pharmacist; parents of young children, community group
    • Peripheral: Elders Council; Mayor/Chief; Town Council
  3. Collaborate.
    • Once agreement is reached to work together on this CCB project, the working group defines roles and responsibilities, sets up standards for the method and frequency of communications and feedback, and begins to collaborate on the process.
  4. Work together to further identify pre-existing resources and strengths with your new partners.
    • The working group looks at what strengths and resources each member brings to the table and recognizes if there are strengths missing. These can be filled by making direct invites to the core group or considering who else may be involved in the project outside of the core group (see #2).