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Capacity Building for Sustainability in CBR --  Round One


"Community Leader or Labor: The Frustrations of Building Radical Independent Alternative"

Terry Robson (University of Ulster, Magee College)

There are many who view the emergence of a community action dynamic as one which has the constituency and the power to affect the pace of local development. Such a dynamic implies a rejection of the planned economy as well as a passionate embracing of the philosophy of ‘small is best’. Many disenchanted by the failure of socialist parties to respond effectively to the widening gulf between rich and poor, turned to a more inclusive ‘community’ politics as an alternative. A new political correctness appeared in which community rather than class became the motor for change. Many of these developments satisfy a British ‘New’ Labour leadership’s needs aimed at minimizing and nullifying the negative effects of them finally abandoning socialist solutions. Against such a background community workers warmly embrace this new direction; enthusiastically endorsing a new communitarianism in which principles of subsidiarity are believed to have the power to replace a weakening welfare state. In this paper three contrasting examples are presented as evidence of these changes. All of the following represent the nature of the failing expectations taking place in the world of ‘community’ politics as the concept of ‘social partnership’ - driven by the needs of the state - becomes, instead, synonymous with compromise and concession. One represents the post-colonial political development of Northern Ireland in a post ‘Good-Friday’ agreement situation in which community continues to remain indistinguishable from sectarianism. Another in the United States representing the problems associated with attempting to build a radical base on the shaky foundations of communitarianism; whilst the other is concerned with the problems of responding to the economic and social problems of Romania through inadequate forms of charitable intervention.

"Creating Partnerships/Coalitions with the Struggling Communities in the Third  World Through Transfer of Improved  Practices the Area of Ecological Farming"

A.T. Dudani (Society for Citizen Concerns, New Delhi, India)

This Round Table will briefly sum up the present status of ecological farming world wide and attempt to see its possibilities for improving the social and economic quality of lives of the farming community which in the third world relies heavily on the inputs by women workers. The discussion will center around the many observed and recorded lessons learnt from the present day chemical based farming with special reference to health hazards, loss of soil fertility, salination apart from need for heavy energy and water inputs. It will also look at the loss of biodiversity in the process and reported reduced nutritional value of the farm products from chemical farming. The success stories from around the world will be discussed in ecological farming, including comparative farm yields and costs, important factors for the third world communities and the Governments who have to feed large populations. This will also cover possibilities of City Farming to feed the huge city populations and thereby help finding employments for the families and cutting down of transportation costs for supply of quality products. Important role of marketing will also be discussed. The discussion would also cover possibilities of international cooperation through exchange of volunteers somewhat on the line of earlier Peace Volunteer Corps of Kennedy days.

"Appalachian Alliance"

Harvard Ayers (Appalachian State University, Boone, NC)

A discussion of how a group of community activists and academics from Appalachia have formed the "Appalachian Alliance" in Beckley, West Virginia. The purpose of alliance is to identify the needs of communities from the communities themselves and have the academics provide these needs for studies, training, etc., including finding the funding for these projects. The services  include the wide range of things and subjects that academics could help with including computer services, science, social science, mapping, etc.

"Farmer-led Participatory Research: PR that Empowers Local Communities"

Astad Pastakia, Brij Kothari and Vijay Sherry Chand (Nirma Institute of Management)

This workshop will present findings that “farmer-led PR” can further be divided into specific categories: a) farmer-inspired b) farmer-initiated and c) farmer-supported. at least one case in each category. The role played by scientists in each case is very different. The levels of empowerment of the local communities are also different. The most powerful form of farmer-led PR is the last category viz. farmer-supported. Several cases were written by scientists from Indian research institutions will be presented.

Capacity Building for Sustainability in CBR --  Round Two

"The Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center: A Bridge Between Communities, Using Video Ethnography in Community-Based Research."

Vivian Chavez (University of Michigan)

This video is a 20 minute documentary that tells the story of Detroit's Community-Academic Urban Research Center (URC).  The video opens at a high point for the URC at a time when the group is celebrating its recent accomplishments.  Viewers are introduced to the center's partner agencies (6 community based organizations, the Henry Ford Health System, Detroit's Health Department and the University of Michigan School of Public Health) by situating them in Detroit and presenting the URC as part of a larger movement called "Community-based Participatory Research"(CBPR).  The concept of "community" is examined and the URC's vision is described with a potluck metaphor "every one brings something to the table."  The second portion of the piece gets into the specific projects the URC works on, their philosophy and perspectives about why/how the work they do is a good thing.  The principles of this new way of conducting research are reviewed and the advantages of this approach are presented over traditional ways of doing research that is conducted in communities not with communities. Finally, the video concludes by noting that this type of research requires time, long term commitment and trust in the process of participation.  Lessons learned and "words of wisdom" are shared with viewers to encourage the principles of building community, balancing power relations, equitable involvement and focusing on community assets as a part of a public health research agenda.


Pauline E. Drake (Community Outreach Initiatives, Spelman College);  Victoria Durant-Gonzalez (Director of Community Service, Spelman College);  Drewnell Thomas (Neighborhood Planning Unit-K);  Roosevelt Thomas (Research Institute, Morris Brown College)

In 1999, the Atlanta University Center (AUC), the world's oldest and largest consortium of African-American private institutions of higher education, formed a partnership with three neighborhoods.  The AUC Community Partnership was an outcome of a two-day summit during which university and community representatives identified their community improvement concerns.  Workshop presenters will focus on two specific conference priorities: forming university/community partnerships and building communication and trust.  They will describe the formation of the partnership, the  resources used,  and approaches to ensure its long-term success. Workshop participants will share their experience with university/community partnerships, specifically barriers or challenges which they have encountered, approaches they have used to overcome the challenges,  strategies for sustaining the partnerships, and ways that community-based research can enhance partnerships.  Participants will benefit from the experience of a consortium  of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and three neighboring,  in-town communities as they build a mutually beneficial partnership that will overcome "town/gown" barriers.

"Life on the Borders: Community-Based Research and the Llano Grande Center"

Ernesto Ayala & Miguel Guarjardo

The Llano Grande Center conducts oral histories, publishes them, and uses them for classroom instruction.  The Center also conducts workshops on how to do that process with neighboring school districts.  The oral histories have been at the core of our work. Indeed, we gain great emotional and spiritual sustenance from the invaluable stories our elders share with us.  Our elders teach us many lessons; among them is the lesson of being proud of who we are, of the struggle we have experienced, and of the realizations that are yet to come. The Center has integrated a survey research component to its research work.  Their research exercises are more than academic exercises. Every piece of research their students and the Center do is used for the purposes of community and economic development. The workshop will discuss how the Center conducts research aimed at community and economic development; how this is done to stimulate informed decision-making by school administrators, as well as our city officials; and how this research is being conducted by students who are obtaining many capacity-building skills that will make them more marketable in the work force. The research is also extremely focused on education reform.  By having students conducting community-based research, we begin to eliminate the four walls that have traditionally isolated the learning that our students undergo.  Now the walls fail to exist as the classroom has now become the community. It is important to place the meaning of impact in the work we do. Our work and research is certainly used to inform our work, and improve programming, but at the vision is that the work we do transforms lives. This transformation occurs when we begin to tell the stories of our ancestors. But certainly there are other lives that are transformed and we share some of these stories and data during our presentation. But below, is a peek of what is to come.

"Training for CBR"

Casper de Bok (Science Shop for Biology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands)

Doing a research project for a community based organization or facilitating it demands some skills not generally offered in a regular curriculum.. Do you train your researchers or new staff in doing or facilitating CBR? There seems to be a need to train researchers or facilitators in CBR. Some CBR organizations, like some Science Shops in the Netherlands offer a training program for junior researchers students or new staff members. The needs for training might vary between the different organizations but obviously there also is a general training part. In this workshop some examples of training programs for students and staff will be introduced and the needs of CBR organizations for training programs will be investigated. The final goal of this workshop is to come to a set of elements that in general should be part of training programs for CBR researchers, students or staff. This set can be used in developing a general training program that can one of the activities of an international network.

"Capacity-Building for Sustainability: Where and How Do We Begin?'

Irene Luckey (Institute for Families in Society, University of South Carolina)

This workshop presents issues, principles, techniques, and lessons learned working with community groups in a statewide fatherhood initiative that serves both rural and urban areas in South Carolina.  The workshop highlights relationships among funders, universities, and communities in capacity-building efforts. The format of the workshop will be as follows. An exercise will be presented that will require the participants to break into small groups to address a situation that relates to capacity-building.  The groups will also be given the option to choose a situation from a group member, if that is preferred.  This option will allow the person to receive input and assistance with a situation of real concern. The groups will come back together as a whole to report on their group’s activity and perhaps if there is time some input from the larger group may occur. The content as well as the format of the workshop is structured with the hope that participants will leave the workshop with an expanded way of thinking about capacity-building and the coordinated way the relationships among the funders, universities and communities need to operate if capacity-building for sustainability is to happen. How do you please the funder verses what you want? Are you the facilitator or the problem solver to speak for the voiceless must be able to take the heat? Technical assistance: what kind, how much ?

Capacity Building for Sustainability in CBR --  Round Three

"Health Assessments in Community-based Research"

(Susan Patton, Larry Patton, Environmental and Community Health Organization Sheila Wilson, Larry Wilson Appalachian Focus)

The Environmental and Community Health Organization, Inc., was established as a non-profit community health, education, and research organization in October 1997.  E.C.H.O. was organized to work with individuals and organizations in communities to increase public awareness concerning health problems directly and indirectly related to adverse environmental exposure.  They have developed an innovative approach to community health assessments and work with communities who have been or are being exposed to adverse environmental exposures that are affecting the health of the people and the ecosystem of their communities. We work with a community leadership committee that is established in each of the communities to decide the design of their health assessments. E.C.H.O. has been conducting health assessments in the community of Yellow Creek, Kentucky, since October 1997.  The community was exposed to hundreds of heavy metals in their water, soil, and air in the 1970's and 1980's from a now closed tannery in the city of Middlesboro, upstream of their watershed.

We are fortunate that Yellow Creek is our prototype community. The community leaders associated with Yellow Creek Concerned Citizens have assisted in contacting residents for appointments.  Our project would not exist without the support and participation of the community group and its leadership.  The YCCC has made decisions as to how they want the project to evolve in their community.  We have completed over 100 assessments and have an EPA Environmental Justice grant to continue the work in 2000.

"Making Paticipatory Evaluation "Real" for Stakeholders"

(Linda Von Dreele, Christine George, Loyola University, Chicago)

Description coming soon

"Building University Infrastructure for CBR"

Jacque Caesar & Thomas MacCalla (National University's Center for Community-based Research, Evaluation, and Training )

The workshop will demonstrate how to build a university infrastructure for community-based research, enhance student learning and foster academic scholarship and community resource partnerships through civic engagement and open-ended education.  The one-hour workshop will be characterized by an open-ended format of "information giving, information receiving, and information exchange."  Participants will be encouraged to ask questions and explore ways in which collaboration can be crowned king and the university and/or the community can take the lead in forming and sustaining the partnership. The workshop will explain the product and process of the presenter's most recent endeavors.  The first deals with a border community in San Diego County.  The players involve the City of Chula Vista, its library and recreation departments, the "most needy" elementary school schools, neighborhood children and families, National University, and other community service providers in the region.  CCRET conducted a four-month evaluation project of a pilot collaborative educational program called STRETCH, an acronym for Safe Time for Recreation, Enrichment, and Tutoring for Children.  The focus is on the "what" and "how" of organizing service learning.  The key elements of the strategy and process include: a) curricular change, b) introspection, c) reflection on teaching and learning implications, d) observations on "what works" and "what does not work" for the prospects of replication and e) online options for service learning training, professional development, and progress monitoring.

"How Do You Evaluate Community Capacity Building?"

Douglas Greenwell (Georgia State University Neighborhood Collaborative)

Description coming soon

"Partnering to Ensure Technology Access to Disadvantaged Communities: The Family Technology Resource Center Model"

Dara O’Neil (Georgia Tech Research Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology);  Mindy DiSalvo (Family Technology Resource Centers, DeKalb County School System)

In this workshop, participants will learn how an effective partnership between an inner-city school system and leading research university (Georgia Institute of Technology) has led to several millions of dollars in increased funding for the Family Technology Resource Centers (FTRCs) of the DeKalb County School System in Atlanta, Georgia.  The FTRC is a successful program that keeps 14 school facilities and community centers open after traditional hours to provide computer-based learning opportunities for all community members, generate parental involvement in the classrooms, and ultimately result in improved test scores for students, improved job status (raises and promotions), and jobs for persons previously unemployed. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology lend technical, fund-raising, and evaluative expertise to the FTRC program, while researching its impacts as a nationally recognized model of powerful technology integration in traditionally underserved communities. The presenters will outline ways in which the partnership is mutually beneficial, and delineate steps that similar communities and researchers can follow to leverage assets from both a practitioner and academic perspective.


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