Not everyone wants to climb the same mountain
Capacities and growth should be congruent with community and business aspirations. Regional communities are frequently hamstrung by cynical, and more often than not false, perceptions about their capacity for growth. They also feel they cannot access finance specialist business advice as readily as metropolitan businesses. Regional communities can also suffer from an image problem. They should be overhauled to ensure the significant people resource and opportunities do not remain untapped.
In a context of health and well-being promotion, building capacity can mean building recognition of the issues. Developing strategies which can be more efficient and sustainable. Efforts must extend beyond traditional health sector boundaries and into the community environment as a whole.
The capacity building incorporates advocacy and relies on building partnerships, both within the community and external to it.
Ways to improve community capacities
Research and experience tell us that unless it is a time of crisis less than 30% of the community will want to be engaged in community development. Of course, people circumstances change so it is not always the same 30 who will not commit. Here is a list of suggestions to improve community engagement:
Improve engagement and participation
- How many members of the community are participating?
- How many drop out when the going gets tough?
- Are the stakeholders working in teams or individually?
- Are projects able to attract more people to volunteer?
Develop local leadership and champions
- Are any leaders and champions emerging?
- Will leaders be able to cope with additional workloads?
- Are the stakeholders sharing their skills and knowledge?
Build empowering organisational structures
- Are the various community groups working well together?
- Are groups inclusive and welcoming of new members?
- Will it help build better organisational structures?
Increase community members’ problem assessment abilities
- Are groups able to focus on a problem and reach a satisfactory conclusion?
- Will the various programs reduce problems and frustrations?
- Are the community development programs having the expected impact?
Enhance community member’s ability to ask ‘why.’
- Does everyone understand the ‘why’ things are the way they are?
- Are the stakeholders monitoring their processes within the projects?
- Are the Stakeholders setting their own goals and identifying new projects?
Improve community resource mobilisation
- Reallocation of resources can improve capabilities
- Are the stakeholders exhibiting their work, coming up with ideas?
- Are stakeholders being productive and engaged in purposeful activities?
- Who is proactive in sourcing worthwhile community projects?
Strengthen community links to external organisations and people
- Are members of groups inviting new members to join them?
- Will you be increasingly engaging with local facilities or public spaces?
- Are the stakeholders accessing new external partnerships?
- Is the community becoming more active in the local affairs and projects?
- Is there evidence of companionship and caring and sharing?
Create equitable relationships with external organisations
- Are the stakeholders accessing external support services?
- Could the community utilise more advisors to improve performance
- Encourages the development of new and exciting partnerships?
Increase community control over program management
- Is the community active in the management and decision-making process?
- Are projects sustainable as a result of the stakeholder’s involvement?
- Is funding adequate to ensure sustainability?
Put fun and excitement into the community
- More exciting jobs for the future are emerging
- Unemployment becomes less of an issue
- Youth are not bored or leaving the district
- Fun and excitement retains citizens and businesses
- It grows new business opportunities
- Use fun to grow non-profit organisations to solve social problems
- Addresses any isolation and loneliness issues
- Are the community health issues addressed?
Changes improve a community’s capacities
Successful change within the community will require integrating systems and equipment to enhance collaboration. Planning usage and knowledge management are all critical to increasing capacity.
Look to improve the capacity with better utilisation of the local plant and equipment.
Those who leverage new tools and technology can successfully take on more projects. They can help expedite growth by supporting smarter entrepreneurs and enterprises focused on the future. Generate ideas on how to increase your community’s capabilities and bring about the changes wanted and needed.
Capacity building should be part of the familiar practice of workforce development. Capacity building taps into existing abilities of individuals, organisations or systems. It increases involvement in problem-solving decision-making along with ownership and completion of tasks.
There is much to be done to improve our regional, rural and remote communities. Entrepreneurial activity can become, a valuable and sustainable community asset. Utilise entrepreneurship as an essential catalyst in promoting economic activity and job creation.
Entrepreneurs can give a community the capacity to cross-pollinate modern-day and existing ideas with existing skills and innovative strategies.
- Help to focus on core businesses and core competencies
- Improve access to scarce resources, technology skills and capital
- Improved service levels
- Lower costs relative to existing systems and activities
- Capacity flexibility and improved time management
- Management of the growing economic and marketing complexity
- Assist in extending to global market opportunities
- Introduce a range of initiatives required to thrive and survive.
Every community needs to be always on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities if they are to prosper. There needs to be a constant support for the community leaders, nurturing new leaders and creating a continuous learning environment.
“The tragedy of life is often not in our failure, but rather in our complacency; not in our doing too much, but rather in our doing too little; not in our living above our ability, but rather in our living below our capacities”. Benjamin Mays
“The capacities by which we can gain insights into higher worlds lie dormant within each one of us”. Rudolf Steiner