MAKING THE ENVIRONMENT MORE ENABLING
Self Reliant Communities Do Not Exist in a Vacuum
by Phil Bartle, PhD
Introduction to the Module (Hub)
Documents Included in this Enabling Environment Module
Political and administrative laws, regulations and practices affect the strength of communities
We usually think of a community mobilizer as a person working directly in a community: informing, organizing, guiding, in order to stimulate community members to unite, make decisions, take action and become empowered. The work of mobilzers goes beyond the community, and includes all things that affect both the strength and the strengthening of communities.
All the things around every community that affect the community, can be considered the environment. With today's environmental concerns, we usually think of the physical and biological conditions around every community, but here we look at the political, legal and administrative conditions within which every community must exist. These can and often do have profound effects on how strong a community may be, and on how effective a mobilizer can be in stimulating increases in strength. Even the methods and strategies of mobilizers must be adapted to the laws, regulations and practices that affect communities.
There are several ways you can influence the modifications of that environment, and you should be thinking of them now. To advocate is to argue in favour of something. Doing it is called "advocacy." All your work in trying to modify any of those laws, regulations and practices can be considered advocacy of some type or another.
The core document in this module, Enabling Community Empowerment, describes various ways to have some influence on the environment of communities, whether directly as a mobilizer working to raise public awareness, as a professional adviser providing advice to persons in positions of power, or when you leave the profession of mobilizer and work in some position of power and/or influence.
The document Preparing a Community Development Policy Paper, is aimed at members of parliament, or equivalent, but is one which you should read in order to give effective advice.
Remember that if you are working to change that environment, it is to make it more enabling of community self reliance. It is not to help communities (encouraging dependency), but to help communities become more able to help themselves.
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