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Introduction to Community and Community Assessment
Terms in this set (22)
The word 'community' originated from the Latin word communis which means common, public, general or shared by all or many. It later develop into its Latin translation _______________ which translates into community, society, or fellowship.
Understanding the Community
___________________ entails understanding it in a number of ways. Whether or not the community is defined geographically, it still has a geographic context -- a setting that it exists in. Getting a clear sense of this setting may be key to a full understanding of it. At the same time, it's important to understand the specific community you're concerned with. You have to get to know its people -- their culture, their concerns, and relationships -- and to develop your own relationships with them as well.
The following are common Aspects on how to describe the Community. But Community Description can be as creative as you're capable of making it. The more important thing is that you capture the important information depending on the purpose why you are making the description.
Aspects for Community Description:
_______________ - Every community has a physical presence of some sort. Most have a geographic area or areas they are either defined by or attached to. If the community, is one defined by its population, then its physical properties are also defined by the population: where they live, where they gather, the places that are important to them. The characteristics of those places can tell you a great deal about the people who make up the community. Their self-image, many of their attitudes, and their aspirations are often reflected in the places where they choose -- or are forced by circumstance or discrimination -- to live, work, gather, and play.
The facts about the population that you can find from census data and other similar statistical information. Some things you might like to know, besides the number of people in the community: Gender, Racial and ethnic background, Age, Marital status, Family size, Education, Income, Employment and Location
The long-term history of the community can tell you about community traditions, what the community is, or has been, proud of, and what residents would prefer not to talk about. Recent history can afford valuable information about conflicts and factions within the community, important issues, past and current relationships among key people and groups -- many of the factors that can trip up any effort before it starts if you don't know about and address them.
COMMUNITY LEADERS, FORMAL AND INFORMAL
Some community leaders are elected or appointed - Barangay Officials, Chairman, Kagawad, Mayors, Councilors. Others are considered leaders because of their activities or their positions in the community -- community activists, corporate CEO's, college presidents, doctors, clergy. Still others are recognized as leaders because, they are trusted for their proven integrity, courage, and/or care for others and the good of the community.
COMMUNITY CULTURE, FORMAL AND INFORMAL
This covers the spoken and unspoken rules and traditions by which the community lives. It can include everything from community events and slogans -- "Matira matibay sa Barrio Dalisay" -- to norms of behavior -- turning a blind eye to alcohol abuse or domestic violence -- to patterns of discrimination and exercise of power.
Most communities have an array of groups and organizations of different kinds -- service clubs (Lions, Rotary, etc.), faith groups, youth organizations, sports teams and clubs, groups formed around shared interests, the boards of community-wide organizations, as well as groups devoted to self-help, advocacy, and activism. Knowing of the existence and importance of each of these groups can pave the way for alliances or for understanding opposition.
Every community has institutions that are important to it, and that have more or less credibility with residents. Colleges and universities, libraries, religious institutions, hospitals -- all of these and many others can occupy important places in the community. It's important to know what they are, who represents them, and what influence they wield.
Who are the major employers in the community? What, if any, business or industry is the community's base? Who, if anyone, exercises economic power? How is wealth distributed? Would you characterize the community as poor, working, class, middle class, or affluent? What are the economic prospects of the population in general and/or the population you're concerned with?
Many aspects of social structure are integrated into other areas -- relationships, politics, economics -- but there are also the questions of how people in the community relate to one another on a daily basis, how problems are (or aren't) resolved, who socializes or does business with whom, etc. This area also includes perceptions and symbols of status and respect, and whether status carries entitlement or responsibility (or both).
ATTITUDES AND VALUES
What does the community care about, and what does it ignore? What are residents' assumptions about the proper way to behave, to dress, to do business, to treat others? Is there widely accepted discrimination against one or more groups by the majority or by those in power? What are the norms for interaction among those who with different opinions or different backgrounds?
IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING COMMUNITY
-Knowing the context of the community so that you can tailor interventions and programs to its norms and culture and increase your chances of success.
-Gaining a general idea, even before an assessment, of the community's strengths and the challenges it faces.
-Capturing unspoken, influential rules and norms. For example, if people are divided and angry about a particular issue, your information might show you an event in the community's history that explains their strong emotions on that subject.
COMMUNITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT
_________________ is the process of identifying the strengths, assets, needs and challenges of a specified community. Assets refer to the skills, talents and abilities of individuals as well as the resources that local institutions contribute to the community. Local institutions may include political, religious, educational, recreational and youth organizations; community, civic and service groups; local businesses; nonprofit organizations and volunteer groups.
______________ seek to gather accurate information representative of the needs of a community. Assessments are performed prior to taking action and are used to determine current situations and identify issues for action. Needs assessments establish the essential foundation for vital planning.
________________ provides community leaders, workers and volunteers with a snapshot of local policy, systems, and environmental change strategies currently in place and helps to identify areas for improvement. With this data, communities can map out a course for improvement by creating strategies to make positive and sustainable changes in their communities.
__________________ identifies the strengths and resources available in the community to meet the needs of community members. The assessment also focuses on the capabilities of the community, including its citizens, agencies, and organizations.
NEEDS AND RESOURCES DEFINED
Needs can be defined as the gap between what is and what should be. A need can be felt by an individual, a group, or an entire community. It can be as concrete as the need for food and water or as abstract as improved community relationship.
based on what individuals feel their needs are. The standard may change based on each individual's point of view. It's important not to dismiss perceived needs as merely opinion. Taking into account the feelings and concerns of community members should be an essential component of your assessment.
defined by the number of individuals who sought help. Individuals may have felt a need and acted upon it. Be mindful of the false assumption that all people with needs seek help.
are needs deemed universal, including those for survival (i.e. food, wat based er, safety, and clothing).
are needs rendered necessary on equity. The standard may vary based on population differences.
__________ or assets, can include individuals, organizations and institutions, buildings, landscapes, equipment -- anything that can be used to improve the quality of life.
are resources in an area that accommodate satisfy some requirements for those around them. These resources may include people, sites or buildings, and population assistance. Public schools, parks, community centers are some of the examples of community resources.
GUIDELINES IN CONDUCTING COMMUNITY ASSESSMENT
• Form a planning group that represents all stakeholders and mirrors the diversity of the community
• Design an evaluation process for the Assessment
• Decide why you want to conduct the assessment
• Determine what data is already available
• Figure out what other information you need
• Decide what methods you'll use for gathering information
• Decide whom you'll gather information from
• Decide who will collect data
• Decide how you'll reach your informants
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