IFAS Community Development: Empowering Your Community, Stage 5, Implementation 1 M ark, A. Brennan Muthusami Kumaran, Randall Cantrell, and Michael Spranger 2 This paper is part of a series of discussions on community development. This series includes specialized papers on civic engagement, community action, and other topics important to the developm ent of community. Introduction The Implementation stage launches all planned efforts and directly attempts to facilitate community change. Building on the previous four stages of community action (Theodori, 2004; Brennan, Kumaran, Spranger, Cantrell, 20 13 ; Marcus Brennan, Kumaran, Cantrell, and Spranger, 20 13 ; Brennan Regan, Kumaran, Spranger, and Cantrell 20 13 ; Brennan, Kumaran, Cantrell, and Spranger 20 13 ), it is time to commit all resources and transform plans into specific action s Including Implementation in Your Cooperative Extension Work Throughout the previous stages, resources were gathered and assessed, subgroups formed to focus on specific tasks, and active ci tizens recruited. In the implementation stage, these resources are formally committed and people are given the task of going forward to achieve the goals established by the community action organization and its subgroups. To maximize their impact, each sub group should: 1. Meet to review goals, objectives, and immediate steps for action As action efforts are launched, it is essential that all participants be clear about the planned goals and the methods for me eting these goals. It may be the case that newer activists are uncertain or unclear about the specifics of how change will be achieved. A brief meeting or transmission of information (email, fax, action guide, etc.) would be useful in making certain that everyone involved is aware of (1) how to proceed a nd (2) the resources available to support successful action. 2. Identify clear and measurable stages or benchmarks for all objectives While goals, objectives, and action plans have already been established (stage 3) it will be useful to identify clear ben chmarks or measurable impacts. This will serve to provide activists with feedback and to show that action efforts are making progress. S uch measurable impacts will also show the general public that the organization is fostering positive changes on behalf o f the community. As milestones are achieved, these can be promoted and marketed accordingly. 3. Take action Empowered with plans and a detailed background, activists and subcommittees can move forward. As they take action, opportunities and mechanisms for feedback and discussion should be presented. These opportunities can be communicated through meetings, informal gatherings, email or established communication mechanisms to provide the insight and advice needed to adjust action plans. 4. Celebrate achievements (and failures) As achievements are made and measurable impacts achieved, it is important to celebrate and promote them through informal celebrations, in the media, and in other promotional avenues. It may a lso be the case that some action efforts have failed. The fact that these did not reach success is irrelevant, and should be celebrated as the first efforts of what will be many valid acti on efforts to come Community development is achieved if diverse gro ups are brought together and channels of communication established. From this process, future efforts will emerge that can achieve continued success. 5. Evaluate and readjust Community development and locally based action are never ending process es Both need to be continuously cultivated. As progress in various forms is made, it is essential that mistakes, barriers and inconsistencies in application be identified and addressed. To fine tune action efforts, opportunities to effective ly measure outcomes and provide feedback are vital to the long term achievement of goals.
To provide feedback, formal debriefing meetings should be established at the conclusion of action efforts. These meetings can evaluate progress, identify barriers and explore new means for dealing with unforeseen problems. At these debriefing meetings, all subgroups/committees can report on their activities, achievements, progress, obstacles, and methods for adjusting to challenges. All of these meetings s et the stage for long term action efforts and continued social changes. The development of community is not a one time event in which success or failure is detailed. It is a process where success is measure d by the ability to conven e actively interested and diverse c itizens Conclusions Through all of the stages discussed, but most directly seen in the implementation stage, community citizens unite and work towards shared goals. In the community action process, channels of communication and interaction are established that cut across class race and other lines. Such remarkable achievement represents our definition of community development. This process must be promoted and fostered on all possible occasions. Building on the success achieved by this active group, the long term process of achieving social change can begin. This long term course of action will be characterized by numerous successes, as well as failures and setbacks. By producing a cohesive group of residents, a structure is in place that will operate proactively to positively shape local well being. This group will also be able to respond to threats and emerging problems within the community In the end this coordinated local capacity will contribute to social and economic changes that benefit all community citizens and groups. References and Useful Reading Brennan, M. A. M. Kumaran, M. Spranger and R. Cantrell. 20 13 The Importance of Local Community Action in Shaping Development EDIS Gainesville, FL: Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication number: FCS 9209. Brennan, M. A. M. Kumaran, R. Cantrell, a nd M. Spranger 20 13 Empowering Your Community: Stage 3, Goal Setting and Gainesville, FL: Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication number: FCS 9213. Brennan, M. A. C. Regan , M. Kumaran, M. Sp ranger and R. Cantrell 20 13 Empowering Your Community: Stage 2, Gainesville, FL: Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University o f Florida. Publication number: FCS 9212. Luloff, A.E., and J. Bridger. 2003. Community Agency and Local Development. Pp. 203 213 in, Challenges for Rural America in the Twenty First Century edited by D. Brown and L. Swanson University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. Marcus, J. M.A. Brennan M. Kumaran, R. Cantrell, and M. Spranger 20 13 EDIS. Gainesville, FL: Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Scienc es, University of Florida. Publication number: FCS 9210. Theodori. G. 2004. Preparing for the Future: A Guide to Community Based Planning College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Cooperative Extension Service. Rural Sociology. 35 (1): 54 68. Wilkinson, K.P. 1991. The community in rural America New York, NY: Greenwood Press, 1991. Suggested Websites The Asset Based Community Development Institute. www.abcdinstitute.org The Community Development Society. http://www.comm dev.org/ Community Resource Group. http://www.crg.org/ Civic Practices Network http://www.cpn.org/ International Association for Community Development. http://www.iacdglobal.org/
Footnotes 1. This document is FCS9230, one of a series of the Family, Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date September 2005. Reviewed: January 2009. Visit the EDIS Web Site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. 2. Mark A. Brennan, former Assistant Professor of Community Development, Muthusami Kumaran, Assistant Professor of Nonprofit Management and Community Organizations, Randall Cantrell, Assi s tant Professor and Extension Specialist for Housing and Community Development, Michael Spranger, Professor and Extension Specialist for Community Development Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville FL, 32611.