This strategy enables groups to meet their stated objectives in a way that also strengthens the people in them, so they can build on the collaborative experience and bring about lasting change in their communities.
In the course of working as a group on a particular community issue, relationships are strengthened, skill levels are raised, and individuals are empowered to tap institutional resources and one another for future endeavors.
Supporting individuals in a given group to build their capacity for long-term effectiveness involves a progressive turning over of leadership to group members as they work toward the objectives they have been convened to achieve.
Once a group is functioning well, with clearly understood objectives, protocols in place, and roles in operation, participants are ready to be “stretched,” and urged to apply what they have learned to other situations. This can take the form of site visits, community meetings, and travel to interface with non-group members from the broader context.
Stronger individuals and groups, and the resulting relationships formed, are absolutely key to long-term change at the community level.
When an initiative is proposed, a key consideration for the facilitator is whether the project has the potential to positively affect the community.
The work of this stage involves clarifying particulars of the strategy and process design with the convener to ensure that the project gets off to a strong and well-coordinated start.
In the process of spelling out operational protocols and attitudinal expectations, participants begin to get to know one another.
Having internalized project goals and protocols, participants begin to work collectively and assume stronger leadership roles.
Site visits, community meetings, and interactions with resource people stretch the participants’ content knowledge, encourage their use of judgment, and strengthen their cohesion as a team.
A final report is produced in this stage, along with a strategy for its distribution. Closing activities recognize the group’s accomplishments and set the scene for future alliances.
Stage 7: Iterative Impacts
Participants are emboldened to build on the relationships and skills they’ve developed to pursue change in their communities going forward.