Monday, November 26, 2007

The Sense of Community - What is a Community? Mobilization Capacity & Readiness for Focused Action

The following three section in this sequence are taken from Effective Community Mobilization, Lessons From Experience. Published by the Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

Unforunately I am unable to publish this as a table, as it should be. Hopefully it will still make sense. Numbers coorelate with the same numer under eash of the three headings.

The Sense of Community - What is a Community?

1. Sense of membership
2. Mutual importance
3. Shared world views
4. Bonding/networking
5. Mutual responsibility for the community

Strong Sense of Community
1. The active participants proudly display symbols of membership in the community.
2. The active participants recognize, cherish, and support the contributions of each other.
3. The active participants hold common beliefs and promote shared values important to them.
4. The active participants enjoy one another and look forward to time spent together.
5. The survival and health of the community is a primary concern of all its active participants.

Weak Sense of Community
1. The active participants do not view themselves as a community.
2. Participants are active only because one or a few powerful persons are involved.
3. The active participants hold fundamentally different beliefs and values and cannot reconcile their differences.
4. The active participants have no affinity for each other, and relationships are formal or superficial.
5. One or only a few persons struggle to keep the group together.

Mobilization Capacity

1. Sustained leadership
2. Formalization
3. Rewards and incentives
4. Internal and external communication
5. Community organizational know-how
6. Behind-the-scenes support

High Mobilization Capacity
1. Strong leaders have emerged to keep activities on track and motivate other community members to stay involved.
2. Clear procedures, manuals, ground rules, and role definitions exist to provide a framework for community member participation.
3. Those involved feel valued and appreciated and receive rewards that make them feel their efforts are worthwhile.
4. Active members share experiences and information on a regular basis, and the effort is well covered by local media.
5. A community member with years of successful community organizational experience is actively involved in recruitment and resource mobilization.
6. A highly effective support team functions to handle day-to-day logistics and provide technical assistance as needed.

Low Mobilization Capacity
1. The effort is muddling along without leaders who have the qualities to provide direction and motivation.
2. Community members function in an ad hoc manner, and newcomers have to define their own roles.
3. Participants don't feel that they receive rewards that compensate for the cost of their involvement.
4. Members rarely communicate with one another outside meetings or contact the media to get coverage of their activities.
5. The active members are inexperienced at working on a community-based project.
6. Tasks sometimes fall between the cracks or logistics are poorly handled because there is no one specifically responsible for their functions.

Readiness for Focused Action

1. Clarity of goals
2. Feasibility of plan
3. Capabilities and resources
4. Citizen participation and control
5. Passion for immediate action
6. High-performance team functioning

High Capacity for Action
1. The issues facing the community are clear, and consensus exists on the types of responses needed.
2. A practical and flexible action plan is being implemented and updated based on accurate feedback.
3. A practical and flexible action plan is being implemented and updated based on accurate feedback.
4. The initiative is made up of and controlled by, members of the targeted community and includes active participation of those most affected by the proposed changes.
5. The members are committed to making some positive, goal-directed and well-conceived change happen in the community as quickly as possible.
6. The members can function as a high-performance team to get the job done.

Low Capacity for Action
1. There is concern but no consensus regarding the direction for responding.
2. The group is muddling through with quick fixes and unrealizable schemes.
3. The members have no access to--or are not aware of--the talents, skills, and resources that are needed to mobilize.
4. There is minimal representation by persons who will be affected by the initiative.
5. The members like to talk, argue, and push their views but are not committed to making some positive change in the community.
6. The members have a hard time coordinating action and working together.

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