Building community capacity is critical
Capacity building is something everyone talks about, invest in, they practice it. How does it apply to a community and our families, what is really meant by it and how can we measure it?
Capacity has been a make-or-break issue for many communities, with many small towns and villages falling by the wayside. While others are reinventing themselves by introducing capacity building programs. Success requires insight, foresight, agility, and tools which help, not hinder. Increasing efforts need to be made in most communities to increase capacity to achieve their objectives.
While there is nothing new about communities struggling because of their capacity it has certainly accelerated in recent years. Change is now driven by globalisation and exponential growth in the developments in technology
Many communities have objectives for high growth. Others simply need to improve the services being offered. In today’s complex and often volatile, even hostile environment, planning, predicting results and implementation capacity building is challenging.
Evolving community member preferences and expectations are keeping leaders on their toes. Leaders need to keep their communities moving forward and focused on community problems, frustrations want and need. This is particularly important where budgets and other resources are at a premium and must be used wisely.
Attempting to measure a community’s capacity regarding outcomes can be difficult. The varying nature and sizes of the communities. Identify operational aspects which represent community enrichment and empowerment.
Coping with knowledge overload
Today’s growing amount of information and knowledge requires communities to use new methods to make sense of it. If capacity is to be increased, it is no longer acceptable to make decisions based on best guesses and gut feelings. Making use of Big Data should now be high on the community agenda.
People are in awe of some people’s capacity to make things happen. They struggle to understand why they cannot achieve the same level of results. More often than not it is because they waste enormous amounts of time and resources on trying to implement the wrong strategies and actions. The wrong strategies lead to wrong outcomes, and capacity becomes severely limited. In increasing community capacity, strategies need to be well focused.
With great outcomes comes much noise and fanfare, lots of people talking excitedly and sharing their stories and photographs. The activities associated with great success, on the other hand, are far more discreet. The process of creating success happens quietly, behind-the-scenes with people of capacity.
Their capacity comes from experience. Experience in overcoming obstacles, focusing on essential initiatives, and eliminating the busy, busy syndrome associated with menial tasks. They get on with the job; procrastination is not in their makeup.
Ways to improve capacity
Often, building a community is not about big blocks of learning and work, but incremental adjustments to what it does and how it goes about doing things. To strengthen the process of building community capacity, project coordinators should question and answer how their project implementation will:
- Will improve community engagement and participation
- Develops local leadership and champions
- Builds empowering organisational structures and frameworks
- Increases community members’ problem assessment abilities
- Enhances community member’s ability to question the status quo
- Improve the community’s mobilisation of resources
- Strengthen community links to external organisations and people
- Create equitable relationship and new partnerships
- Increase community control over program management
- Put fun and excitement into the community projects.
- Celebrate and reward success with appropriate recognition.
No matter your current situation or what your future holds, addressing these issues will improve the capacity building efforts. Even if you have limited experience with capacity building, they will put you on the right track.
Bees have great capacity building outcomes because they cooperate.
Cooperation is fundamental to capacity building
Regional communities are frequently hamstrung because of negativity. More often there exist false perceptions about capacity building for growth. People also feel they cannot access finance and specialist business advice as easily as metropolitan businesses. Regional communities can also suffer from an image problem. To insure available people resource and opportunities do not remain untapped, overhaul the community image quickly.
In a context of health and well-being promotion. Building capacity can mean building recognition of the issues and developing strategies that can be more effective and sustainable. Efforts must extend beyond traditional health sector boundaries and into the community environment as a whole.
As capacity-building incorporates advocacy both within the community and external to it, so it needs to rely on building partnerships.
Within all of us is a divine capacity to manifest and attract all that we need and desire. Wayne Dyer
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. Mahatma Gandhi