Comprehensive community engagement in creating a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all is more than a product of research. In order to address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice, all stakeholders must be involved in each step of the mapping process, from concept to the establishment of goals, targets, indicators and performance measurement.
What are the goals of community engagement?
Simply put, community engagement seeks to engage community to achieve sustainable outcomes, equitable decision-making processes, and deepen relationships and trust in communities, large and small. it is generally accepted that engagement seeks to create partnerships with all segments of any given community with the goal of deeply engaging them in joint decision making.
How do we define community engagement?
That being said, community engagement means different things to different people and there is no widely accepted definition of community engagement.
Crispin Butteriss, a founding director of Bang the Table and the Chief Practice Officer, suggests that community engagement is both a process (how we do things e.g., ensuring that communities have a say in decision making) and an outcome (what we want to achieve e.g., community building or involving parents in a school). For instance, in planning and decision making, community engagement is largely used as a process, but in community development and service delivery, community engagement is often both a process and an outcome. In summary the, community engagement is about (1) decision making, (2) relationship development, or (3) capacity building.
No matter you define the goal of community engagement, most agree that the input of ALL key stakeholders is what defines a successful engagement process and outcomes.