Any organisation undertaking community capacity building activity needs to plan its own activities.
Normally, planning should involve communities. Community capacity building should be led by communities, and involvement in planning can be an important way to build community capacity.
However, in some cases, organisations will need to take some initial decisions about priorities, which then drive future capacity building activity. There may be issues – like level of resources – that communities cannot influence, and it is important to be open and honest about the parameters within which community capacity building activity can take place.
In other cases, your organisation may simply not have the contacts to involve communities in planning. Building up trust and relationships takes time, and capacity building activity may be required even to begin planning.
Useful frameworks for planning
'How Good is our CLD?' is a self-evaluation framework for community learning and development. One of the key areas for assessment is ‘Policy Development and Planning’.
Key areas to assess performance against include:
- involving service users and other stakeholders in policy development and planning – particularly around aims, activities and measuring performance
- developing, implementing and evaluating plans – and linking these with the community plan and CLD strategy
- using performance information and planning for sustainability.
Develop your practice
How could your organisation plan community capacity building activity? Explore your organisation’s readiness to offer community capacity building support, thinking about these questions:
- What resources are available to support community capacity building?
- Why is the organisation dedicating resources to support community capacity building?
- Who does the organisation wish to support to build capacity? (This could be geographically or thematically.)
- How will staff identify what capacity building activity is required?
- Who is responsible for community capacity building activity within the organisation?
- Does the organisation have the skills to deliver effective capacity building activity?
- How does the organisation's activities link with what others are doing?
- How does planned activity link with local and national priorities?