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How to Use It

by Phil Bartle, PhD

Welcome to the Community Empowerment Web Site

Who Should Use this Site?

This is a "cafeteria-style" collection of training material for community workers who are engaged in helping low-income communities and their people to overcome poverty.  The strategies and methods described here apply equally to rural and urban contexts. It can also be useful to educators and teams initiating or upgrading community empowerment or development programs.  If you are planning a community program, a technical assistance program or a project that has a community element, then these documents may be helpful in your planning process.  If you are managing, supervising or administering a program focussed on community capacity development, or one that has a community strengthening component, this will aid you in understanding the methods and principles used by your staff, and therefore aid you in co-ordinating them. If you are a student or a researcher, this can be a source of materials on methods and principles -- but it is not a source of academic or research materials.

What is Not on this Site

Fundraising: CEC does not provide project funds and is not in a position to provide assistance in obtaining funds, apart from providing a few guidelines in PRINCIPLES & TECHNIQUES OF FUND RAISING.

Research Data: Our focus here is on "how to" and “why” for field workers, not on "what happened" for researchers. Accordingly, this site does not contain case studies or examples (i.e. raw data) on community development projects, activities or programs.  The only research document on this site is a summary of a 1999 publication of the Institute of Social Studies Evaluation Research (1996-1998)which is included because its 17 research findings speak to the effectiveness of the CEC approach to community empowerment.

For The Science Behind Social Empowerment and more scholarly documents, see Dr. Phil’s Sociology home page.

Using this material

This is not a commercial site.  While the material is provided here for free as a public service, the Copyright for most of it is held by the Founder, Dr. Phil Bartle who would appreciate a request for permission and an acknowledgement for the use of any portion of this site in another publication. If you are operating a web site and wish to copy some of this material, please ask first, explain the reason, identify the author, and ensure you include a link back to this CEC site:  http://cec.vcn.bc.ca  For student papers, it would be wise to acknowledge your sources and avoid the shame of plagiarizing (copying material and claiming it as your own).

Apart from those considerations, any of this material can be copied, re-assembled, re-formatted and customized to support specific local needs, or just to educate others in this approach to community development. 

To facilitate this flexibility, many training documents on this site are designed for single page printing for handouts at training sessions for community field workers. Others are longer and can be used as reference. Black and white drawings are provided which can be used to illustrate the written training material. You may also translate the text into local languages and attach the drawings to your own training material.  For higher resolution images, please send your request to cec#vcn.bc.ca (change # to @)

Overview of Site Content

The hundreds of documents on this site focus on practical training with an emphasis on methods, skills and principles, not theory.  It is not intended to be academic, is not highly technical and is presented in plain language in a way that facilitates translation into other languages.  (see TROUBLESOME TEXT A Few Notes on Jargon ) As a whole, these documents amount to a comprehensive introductory textbook about community empowerment for community workers.

The key documents focus on methods of mobilizing and organizing communities, community groups and organizations, and on management training methods to strengthen them. Many of these fall within the mobilization cycle. The overall approach is participatory -- learning by doing.  There are documents on role playing, story-telling, facilitation, brain storming, community participation, social animation, learning an oral language and empowerment.  

There are several topics on poverty reduction, income generation (real wealth creation, not cash transfers to temporarily alleviate specific problems) and capacity development.  While wealth is far more than money, poverty is far more than the lack of money; as a social problem it calls for social –not individual– solutions.

Other documents provide practical descriptions of how to do things related to gender awareness and balance, functional literacy, community mobilization, planning change, project design, monitoring and evaluation, management training, writing proposals, report writing and fundraising.

How to Find Topics of Interest

Training Modules:  A module is a set of related documents for a single topic. These may include separate documents for the trainer, mobilizer trainees and community participants.  This page also lists Sociology Modules, Complementary Modules and other reference documents.

Key WordsThese are not definitions but notes about concepts related to empowering low income communities.  You can use this page to look up challenging jargon, or just browse through the words for another way of finding site content.

Site Map:  This page provides a comprehensive view of all site content.  You are encouraged to browse through all the topics listed to find the material that best meets your needs.

Guest Papers:    A few practitioners and specialists have volunteered to complement the content of some of the training modules.  Links to these documents can be found on the Site Map listed as “Guest Papers” in their topic section. 
If you are in a position to contribute a Guest Paper that could enhance the value of a particular module for community workers and mobilizer trainers, please visit our volunteer page for details on how to send us your ideas and proposal.

Languages on this Site

The documents on this web site were written originally in English and were drafted over a thirty five year period.  From the outset, site content was written and designed with a view to translating it into local languages.  Some documents have translations in 30 languages.  When visiting a document in English, you can click links in the left column to see its translation in other languages.  If you would like to translate one or more documents into any language, please see our volunteer page for details.

To send questions, or begin a dialogue on any topic related to site content - or to share stories of how you are using the material - write us at cec@vcn.bc.ca


A Community Meeting:

A Community Meeting

© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
Web Design by Lourdes Sada
Last update: 2015.10.06

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