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Morino Institute From Access to Outcomes: Digital Divide Report and Dialogue
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Working Through the Community




Jan 30, 2001


Kit Collins

Many thanks to our small working group for the sub-list on Community Capacity/Planning. We have tried to capture a sense of your dialogue to date (Jan. 27th posting to the D-D-Community Capacity sub-list).

As we head for next week's target date for a one-pager, we look to you for helping, among other things, to sharpen our articulation of:

a) the components of recognizable community capacity: characteristics, organizations, key players, practices and relationships;

b) the centrality of strengthening a community's capacity in order to achieve positive social outcomes through the application of technology;

c) the importance of aligning the application of technology with community-identified needs;

d) the necessity of a community planning process that identifies community needs, priorities, leverage points...and utilizes reliable channels to effect change.

1. To date there is general agreement that the path to real change will come through the strength and vitality of the community system, that is to say, the networking and convergence of the community's socially positive organizations, leaders, non profits, business and community partnerships, faith-based institutions, schools and agencies - combined with the actions of neighborhood activists, elected officials, parents, young people and citizen groups. Essential to driving change within the community system are the inherent assets of the community and a resolve to optimize resources.

Question: What have we missed here? Are there other elements that strengthen capacity and open the way for effective application of technology? What is the key to identifying trusted leadership? What is the strongest rationale for investing in building community capacity?

2. There is a sense that community planning efforts must identify the real beneficiaries, be broadly inclusive, tap trusted local leadership, be community-driven, be clearly outlined and concrete, and point to clear long term tangible and sustainable benefits for the community itself.

Question: What have we missed here? What are the risks and benefits of basing change efforts on community-identified needs and intended outcomes? What planning approaches are likely to be best suited here? What can we learn from groups that are already tackling community building efforts? What is/has been effective or ineffective? Why? Are there examples that we can identify?

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