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Community Capacity BuildingCommunity Capacity Building

Community capacity building refers to the identification, strengthening and linking of your community's tangible resources, such as local service groups, and intangible resources like community spirit.

Your community's definition of capacity will change as the community grows but it is basically the infrastructure of individual skills and knowledge networks, organizations, businesses that a healthy community is built upon. Community capacity will allow you to get done what needs to get done.

For example: Chatham-Kent Community Capacity Builders Forum

The Chatham-Kent Community Capacity Builder's Forum was established in the spring of 1999, bringing together business, labour, service clubs, community groups, volunteers and various government departments that meet informally on Saturday mornings every second month. Their goals are to break down barriers to working together, discover their strengths and how best to share community resources. In 1999 the Forum initiated an 18-month community capacity building project entitled "Nurture the Future". This project was aimed at identifying overall community needs and the social capital available to address them.

Numerous initiatives are under development as a result of this project, including a children's safety village, community development activities within a low income neighbourhood, volunteer development programs and workshops on community capacity building. A series of outcome indicators, including environmental indicators, have been identified and baseline data is being gathered. Annual evaluations will monitor these indicators in order to determine the degree of success of the project.

Community capacity and social capital:

These two terms are very similar but not interchangeable. Community capacity is the ability to use the networks and norms that comprise your social capital. You must recognize your social capital to build your capacity and you need to build you community capacity to effectively use and develop your social capital. The more you exercise one, the stronger they both get.

Why build capacity?

CCB is not an economic cure-all but it will act as a magnet for economic growth. Even the poorest or smallest community contains resources and networks that can be harnessed to build a healthier community. The resources to handle a community's affairs effectively, are often present in the community. Your community is diverse and full of ideas and opportunities you or your group have never considered.

Building Communities from the Inside Out
Website for the book by John P. Kretzmann and John L. McKnight on effective community-building strategies.

Community Toolbox
Community building tools and resources.

Aspen Institute-Measuring Community Capactiy Building

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