18 February 2015

APLL: Public Libraries and Community Development / Module 1 / Activity 1.4

 Go to the Community Stories section of the Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition website, click on various regions of Ontario and read a number of the stories. Using the stories, find an example of at least five of the community development values and principles identified in section 3. Use your blog to reflect on the activity and what you believe to be the most important characteristics of a healthy community. 

Value: Service integration and/or enhancement of natural capacities and networks
Why: In the case of TROUT, the need was twofold - to maintain the handi-bus service for Community Care, and to use that to provide for an additional need in the community, rural public transit. By providing both services using one provider, the services are integrated. As well, since the handi-bus service was there and had the capacity to also serve as a rural public transit service, this tapped into a natural capacity to provide a new service as well as maintain a pre-existing service. It's also a great example of de-silo-ing in that there are multiple partners making this service successful.

Value: Upstream
Why: By providing dental care to those who could not otherwise afford it, a whole host of other health problems may be avoided. These are health problems which, down the line, can interfere with being able to work, as well as create a burden on the health care system. This kind of intervention can have very positive long term impacts on the lives of those who need it. I'm happy to say that Haliburton County also has a similar program, Volunteer Dental Outreach, which was incubated by SIRCH.

Value: Inclusive
Why: By consulting and listening to members of a diverse community, the police can better understand the needs, concerns, fears, and wishes of those they are serving and protecting. This also helps community members feel more secure and respected. By being inclusive, fewer people feel marginalized which leads to a decrease in crime.

Value: Community ownership
Why: Creating a local food supply through local producers and supported by local consumers, the community has ownership over their food and their health. As well, a social bond of mutual support occurs between producer and consumer, with the producer knowing they are supporting the health and food needs of the buyer, and the buyer knowing they are supporting the business and family of the producer.

Value: Community self determination
Why: The strategy was developed through public consultation by citizens to assess and address the needs within their own neighbourhoods. 


Based on this activity I think the most important part of a healthy community is having engaged community members. Engaged community members play a huge part in creating those things which we associated with healthy communities: life-long learning opportunities, skill development, civic pride, vibrant arts and cultural experiences, welcoming to newcomers, safety, cooperation and collaboration, inclusiveness, etc. Even if there is a leadership vacuum, having an engaged community means that needs will be met, and leaders will emerge by virtue of the fact that they care about what happens to one another. That said, leaders do play an important role in supporting their community by facilitating, supporting initiatives, and encouraging engagement.

1 comment:

Anne Marie said...

Erin, I think you've touched on the crucial defining feature of the community development approach - it's about engaging the community in solving their own issues/challenges. As a society, we've shifted from doing for to empowering to do for themselves with help!