Governance Leadership and Accountability
Australia & Pacific
01 June 16
WHY A GUIDE ON COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT?
The quality of community engagement is a key to how effective a project will be: if done well, community engagement can build strong relationships, increase ownership, ensure positive benefits for the community and contribute to the sustainability of project outcomes.
WHAT ARE THE LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THIS GUIDE?
This Learning Paper is aimed to provide useful information for NGOs and is based on research that gathered the diverse experiences and recommendations about community engagement from Ni-Vanuatu fieldworkers and staff working in 16 international and local government and non-government organisations.
HOW IS THE GUIDE STRUCTURED?
The guide is structured as follows;
• Why a guide on community engagement?
• What is effective community engagement?
• Community development and context in Vanuatu
• Project design
• Exit strategy and sustainability
• Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
• Community engagement approaches and tools in use in Vanuatu
• Participatory approaches to community development in use in Vanuatu
WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO FIRST?
Based on the literature and experiences of the Ni-Vanuatu community development practitioners, effective community engagement in Vanuatu can be defined here as:
The process of building relationships with groups of people who share a common identity or values based on geographic proximity, language, faith and/or custom in order to work towards common goals and bring about positive and sustainable change that is owned by the community and its members.
To engage we consult, listen, interact and liaise. Vanuatu practitioners have likened engagement to the establishment of marriage, noting that there were distinct progressive stages of relationship building: identifying prospective partners, introduction, courtship, negotiation and ultimately commitment to work together towards a common goal. High quality community engagement can:
›› lead to greater understanding and a better targeted program
›› find out and utilise existing community skills and resources that can help with ownership and sustainability
›› involve a heavy investment at the beginning and end of a project that adds value throughout the project.