HADM 315
Health and Community Development (OCW_Rev. C4)


HADM 315
Health and Community Development (OCW_Rev. C4)

Health Administration 315

Unit 7: Are you an Effective Community Development Facilitator?

For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based
on people's love and concern for each other.

Millard Fuller


In the last two units, we presented principles to guide the process and approach to community development. In Unit 7, we look more closely at the roles and characteristics of effective community development workers, and the strategies they use to carry out their roles. In the first segment, we describe what community developers need to do, and what qualities they should possess to engage in those activities. You will see that the job description of community development workers has unusual characteristics compared to many other kinds of job descriptions due, in part, to the facilitation skills required.

Break-out groups at a Knowledge Cafe session.

Break-out groups at a Knowledge Cafe session. Dgurteen. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

In Segment 2, we offer some strategies that community development workers might use, such as 1) being a co-learner rather than an expert; 2) building social capital; and 3) making friends first, and meeting your program goals later. These might seem atypical compared with those commonly found, even for community workers.

Segment 3 is focused on assessing and building capacity as the foundation for community development work. Individuals and communities need certain capacities to be able to do the transformative work that is required to bring about real changes in development indicators, such as poverty, health status, education levels, a voice in the decisions that affect their lives, safety and security, and social capital.

In Segment 4, we describe community capacities that were derived from research projects in different community contexts, including shared vision, sense of community, communication, participation, leadership, resources, knowledge and skills, and ongoing learning. We also provide an opportunity for you to examine the nine domains of community capacity adopted by the Public Health Agency of Canada, as well as the tools and techniques they use to assess capacity building in health promotion programs.

In the last segment, Segment 5, we present some capacity building strategies and tools that community development workers can use to support capacity development in the communities with which they work, such as accompaniment (i.e., “walking with” community members, groups, and agencies), providing technical advice, providing technical backstopping, and providing relevant education and training.