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Working with communities

Assessment description

Using the case study provided, you will identify one element of structural disadvantage experienced by groups or individuals within this community and ways in which particular community development processes could be utilised to foster community empowerment, active citizenship, and self- determination.
Assessment aims
Your ability to identify and critique the nature of power in relation to the ways in which particular communities come to experience structural disadvantage, and the means by which that disadvantage is maintained, is essential to community development practice. This will enable you to analyse a specific practice example and to identify the ways in which a worker can redress undermining power relations.

150 words – identify/describe/critically analyse an element of disadvantage

(Ife 2016, p. 61) This is A structural perspective – disadvantaged because of oppressive and inequitable social structure (e.g. class, gender, capitalism, income distribution, institutional racism).

The individual impacted in the case study is the Syrian man, in this scenario, he is facing a structural disadvantage. Being a newly arrived migrant without the English language, would definitely lead to feeling of isolation and individualization of problems. He would also be experiencing a loss of community and relationships as his wife and children remain in Syria.
It is evident that he might also be experiencing some financial hardship as he does not yet have a full wok entitlement. Reason could be due to having weak social network and the lack of opportunities. According to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity (1999), moving to a new country and having to rebuild a new life can lead to people living without basic human rights. Other people in the group such as the young people who are involved in the anti-social behaviour could also be experiencing the same problem of low income and unemployment. Reason being that the powerful majority do not wish to provide services to tackle unemployment issues in the community.

What strategy and why?
250 words – practice example one (self-determination) fostering community capacity for identifying their own needs and solutions.

Process of valuing local skills: by finding out what Syrian man skills are

Start from group own needs
Inclusive and meaningful participation strategies are requisite for achieving self-determination.
The worker could enable the Syrian man and the group of youth, to develop skills and competencies, knowledge, structures and strengths, to become more strongly involved in community as well as wider societal life and take greater control of their own lives and that of their communities.

Can help build strong, cohesive communities for the benefit of all groups in a community.

You are in charge of your own life
The community need to be welcoming

Think beyond the public meeting and recognize that there are other ways for people to participate (Ife 2009, p. 40). Storytelling, singing, dancing, morning coffee etc..

250 words – practice example two (active citizenship)
inclusive participation in community processes and/or democratic decision making.
Moves beyond embracing human rights to exercising them

Get them to contribute to decision making processes as this is a fundamental civic right.
The worker should encourage other people to learn the skills of participation in traditionally white male activities (Ife 2016, p. 278), value equally other forms of participation and change the nature of those traditionally exclusive activities.

Encourage participation in community activities, but particularly in the engagement with the idea of rights and responsibility. Educate the Syrian man and the youth to help them engage in democratic life to enable them to practice their rights and responsibilities (Ife 2009, p. 137)

Engaged in pathways towards employment/ training opportunities for work experience.
Advocating with services and organisations about specific learning needs of young people and migrants.

Dependency on the welfare state is due to a lack of opportunities to acquire work, education and training, not due to a lack of initiative and self- reliance (Wharf Higgins 1999). Further, equality can only be secured once social and economic rights have been acquired.

Respect towards individual difference, and to recognise diversity, work together for a common good.
Conflicts resolution are characteristics of active citizens

Citizen power – citizens representatives on policy making bodies
Citizen Control – is people power, people controlling the processes determining direction, and having the power to make decisions themselves

Delegated power – neighbour planning councils. Delegated with the power to make decisions

Partnership- citizens’ advisory boards. Enables people to negotiate with the powerful, but still no process of an outcome.

(Arnstein, S.R. 1969, “A Ladder of Citizen Participation,” JAIP, vol. 35, No. 4, pp.216-224).

250 words – practice example three (community empowerment)
building community capacity to lead and achieve shared community goals.

The worker could encourage the community to take control of the community garden project themselves. It is through this that they can learn to have more control over their community and their lives (Ife 2016, p. 263).

The worker should closely work with people to help them recognise their own skills and knowledge.

Policies to ensure adequate income is empowering (Ife 2016, p. 66)
Helps individuals and communities to take control over circumstances that affect their lives (Dooris 2013, p. 89).
Engage in the bottom up approach to help determine who is included and leading the process, and who is excluded.

The worker could engage in the principal of consciousness raising (Ife 2016, p. 278) by talking with the Syrian man who does not yet have full work rights, as this will provide a real opportunity to examine together the structural reasons for unemployment.
By speculating with the youth about

speculating about why there has been an apparent rise in unemployment, talking about what it must be like for young people whose only option is casual work at a fast-food outlet, and so on.
consciousness raising: the sharing of experiences of oppression, and the opening up of possibilities for action (Ife 2016, p. 278). By talking about unemployment

Consciousness raising is essential part of empowerment, seek to engage in consciousness raising practice. Examine together the structural reasons for Syrian man unemployment (Ife 2016, p. 278).

Grassroots process by which communities become responsible, empower themselves, create employment and economic opportunities

Bottom up approach
Consider who is included and leading the process, and who is excluded, and voices not being heard.

Since it’s a structural perspective, empowerment is necessarily important for social change, in order to dismantle the dominant structures of oppression (Ife 2016, p. 61)

Positive, reduce detrimental effects of poverty by access to affordable, healthy foods and learning skills about how to grow food.
Empower participants to have autonomous role with food production system, promote better health through consumption of fresh food and facilitate mental health and wellbeing

Community building through community services
Goal: building community through partnerships, learning, gathering, identifying issues and community assets
e.g. includes both people connections and services, independent learning centre for young people