Capacity building- Engaging community stakeholders (SPF Step 2)

An important factor of capacity building in the creation of a successful program is to establish solid community relationships through an effective networking process. It is important to keep an open dialogue with stakeholders, which fosters buy-in and accountability, and ultimately leads to ownership. When a sense of ownership is reached it enhances productivity, which also leads to a sustainable solution, as opposed to a temporary fix.

When networking, it is important to reach out to the Stakeholders within the community that not only have the desire to implement positive change, but also have the ability to tap into local resources that make those changes possible. Some examples include law enforcement personnel, public school officials, members of the clergy or other religious entities, and community and civic leaders.

Another important factor to any sustainable program is active community participation. Ownership is only the initial step down the path to permanent change. Continuous participation in any program is crucial. A way to keep people vested is to ensure that they are actively engaged in the cause. This can be done by doing things like "passing the baton" through methods such as continuous stakeholder trainings, holding sample conferences, extending open invitations to coalition meetings and functions, regularly participating in community forums, and creating a volunteer roster for assistance with program based activities.

Taking a proactive approach by preparing subject youth for their futures as the front runners in their communities is also an essential element of capacity building, and can be accomplished through teen leadership programs such as the Teen Leadership Academy and We Are Change (WAC), both described in subsequent sections of this toolkit.

All of the aforementioned are factors in consortium growth and development. Coalitions should not be satisfied with standard progress, or take on an "as is" approach. They should strive to either add on to their existing programming, or enhance what's currently in place.

Tricks and tips

  • How to engage stakeholders: Approach by asking, "How can we help you?"
  • Don't get too big too fast. Take it one step at a time
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