THE COMMUNITY ORGANIZING PROCESS : THE COMMUNITY ORGANIZING PROCESS (illustrated)
Bicol University College of Education
Revised edition 2006 The Organizing Process the BEST way…. : The Organizing Process the BEST way…. To achieve your objective, you will have to undergo the different phases in the process of community organizing. These are: AREA SELECTION : AREA SELECTION Site selection must follow the general design of your program, certain criteria have been used to determine the project area. These are: The site must be a depressed area with major of the population belonging to the sector your program wishes to organize; AREA SELECTION : AREA SELECTION An area with about 150-250 households would be ideal for you if you are working with a partner; and The area must not have a serious peace and order problem. Initially, you can gather socio-economic, demographic and geographic data of selected municipalities from municipal agencies that will assist you in the selection of project site. You can also inquire from friends or contacts regarding the characteristics of possible project areas. Slide 5: AREA SELECTION It is also best to consider your level of commitment, as well as that of the other project staff, which could affect your personal adjustments to situation in the field. Introduction : Introduction To be an effective community organizer, you must first be able to answer the question. What is Development? And more importantly, For whom is development? This is important because it will: : This is important because it will: help you decide where you stand in society, and clarify your approach towards solving society’s problems of poverty and injustice. Introduction : You must be able to situate yourself and your work in the context of present social realities. To do this, you must have a critical understanding of the different theories of development and history of your people. To guide you in your practice and that is, organizing. Introduction What is Community Organizing? : What is Community Organizing? Community organizing is a problem-solving approach whereby the community is empowered with the knowledge and skills to identify and prioritize its needs, and problems, harness its resources to deal with these problems and take actions participatively. What is Community Organizing? : What is Community Organizing? Community organizing is not the end in itself, nor is it merely a technique. CO works towards the government of people to determine their own development and shape their own future. It deals with the active and collective participation of the people in development work. What is Community Organizing? : What is Community Organizing? Your role as an organizer is to facilitate that process and bring the people closer to their goal of self determination. Entry into the Community : Entry into the Community Once you have selected the area, you are now ready to enter the community. Begin with a visit to the local community officials to inform them of the objectives and nature of your stay in the community. Any other important person who accompanies or visits you in the community must also be introduced. Entry into the Community : Entry into the Community Select a home to live in which it will facilitate your work. Choose to stay with family of good reputation. Adapt a lifestyle and personality that is in keeping with the community. When talking of the program, avoid raising the people’s expectations. Keep a low profile. Avoid attracting unnecessary attention to yourself. Be honest and sincere and share your strengths as well as weaknesses to the people. Social Investigation/Community Study : Social Investigation/Community Study Your first few weeks will be spent on getting to know the community well to be able to draw out a program that will maximize the participation of the community members. A community study must be regarded both as a phase of a long process and as a process itself. As a phase, it comes at the beginning as an essential requisite for any action. As a process, it is a continuing activity set to fulfill definite expectations at definite periods. Slide 15: Making a community study can take several forms, including: Social Investigation/Community Study Gathering and reviewing secondary data sources such as records and documents. Holding personal interviews. Slide 16: Social Investigation/Community Study Conducting a survey; and Observing people and their environment Slide 17: Social Investigation/Community Study Initially, you can prepare a guide for community study which can be divided into major areas of investigation such as:
cultural aspect of the community Slide 18: Social Investigation/Community Study You can also look into organizational aspects by getting a list of existing organizations in the community
membership and activities Your preliminary study can include the community’s: : Your preliminary study can include the community’s: physical characteristics (e.g.)
climate, etc. 2. demographic characteristics
age and sex
groupings Slide 20: Once you have been integrated into the community, you can then conduct a study to explore the community’s different economic, political and social structures and their various interrelationships.
This can also include an assessment of the people’s levels of consciousness based on their social-economic classes. Integration : Integration The process of social investigation is closely incorporated into the various forms of community integration. Integration is a continuing effort to abide community life. It is accomplished by living with the people and sharing the same experience with them. Integration : Integration There are several ways by which you can integrate with the people. you can participate in their economic activities; 2. share in their household work, or 3. join them in their social activities Integration : Integration You can think of a hundred and one ways by which you can be closer to the people and their way of life. A piece of advice though – avoid excessive drinking as well as courting or flirting with women and men in the community. Do not gamble. Slide 24: Remember, too, that an important component of organizing is documentation.
It will be to your advantage to keep a diary of your daily activities, experiences as well as impressions of and reflections on your interactions with the people in the community.
This can be useful reference in the future, which you can also share with other organizers. Integration Slide 25: After a period of about four to six weeks , you are now ready to write the results of your community study.
Community data can be reported and the initial phase of community organizing can be documented.
This will also help you evaluate the feasibility of the program in the community. Integration Contact-building/Spotting Potential Leaders : Contact-building/Spotting Potential Leaders In the process of integration and community study, conscious efforts must be made, to identify contacts in the community, who can provide and/or validate information about the community and its people.
You can develop this group of contacts into a pool of local organizers, or leaders for the program. Slide 27: Some criteria that may be used as a guide
for identifying contacts/ potential leaders
include the following: Contact-building/Spotting Potential Leaders : Contact-building/Spotting Potential Leaders Once you have identified your contacts, you can now hold a series of informal, individual or small group discussions with them.
These will serve as avenues for raising their consciousness, and helping them realize the importance of concerted’ and collective action. Core group formation : Core group formation With your group of contacts, you are now ready to form the core group.
Core group formation is the laying down of the foundation for a strong community organization.
The core group can come mainly (though not only) from the group of contacts.
The core group represents the most advanced group in the community in terms of consciousness. Core group formation : Core group formation You can initiate a series of meetings and discussions among the members of the core group, so they can exchange knowledge and insights towards a deeper understanding of the problems, resources and dynamics of their community. Core group formation : Core group formation The core group can then lay out the plans and tasks for establishing a community organization composed of various sectors of the community Core group training and mobilization : Core group training and mobilization The core group may initially undertake training in leadership and organizing.
You can conduct the training yourself or seek the help of other resource persons.
Training activities should include assessment and reflection sessions.
When the members have gained the needed knowledge and skills, they can then conduct their own training for other sectors of the community.
Other mobilization activities may be planned to sharpen the skills of the core group.
As these mobilization efforts gain, greater ground and reach a wider segment in the community, the functions of a community organization can be formalized. Formation of a Community Organization : Formation of a Community Organization After some time in which the capabilities of the core group members have been sufficiently tested, and when an adequate number of people have been attracted to common goals and objectives, the formalization and expansion of the core group can now be done through the formation of a community or sectoral organization. Formation of a Community Organization : Formation of a Community Organization The formal setting-up of the organization will involve:
planning for a general assembly
drafting a constitution
drawing up organizational plans
Electing officers and assigning persons to particular tasks Formation of a community organization : Formation of a community organization The organization will then serve as the people’s instrument for identifying their needs, and concerns and more importantly, for planning solutions to their problems in a collaborative effort. Formation of a community organization : Formation of a community organization Please remember that the phases in the organizing process described in this guide are not a step-by-step prescription of what is to be done.
Your whole stay in the community is a continuous process of integrating with the people, conducting social investigation, building contacts, and launching mobilizations.
Sometimes, all of these happen simultaneously. Formation of a community organization : Formation of a community organization The formation of a community organization is, by no means, the end-goal of this whole undertaking.
The organization provides the people with a venue for collective action, and by such action, their capabilities to deal with their needs and problems are strengthened.
But you will continue to work with the people, building them as they start to build their capabilities.
For only when people are able to say that “we did it ourselves” will you know that you have done your job right, and you have done it well.
Shared by Dr. Jo J. Paje
BUCE Slide 38: Community Organizers……