Collaborative Community Empowerment: An Illustration of a Six-Step Process

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Abstract

This article illustrates a method used in a community empowerment project where community members and university facilitators collaborated to increase the capacity of the community. The method may have practical uses in collaborations with community groups. The six-step process enabled the community groups to accomplish their short-term community goals: developing effective after-school programs and resolving problems of damaged homes and blighted properties in a relatively short time and continuing on their collaborative work. Having a social ecological model as a conceptual framework was helpful for the community to assess their status and develop action plans. Consistent community meetings, open communication, focused community leadership, community networking, and collaboration of community organizations and a university were the factors that reinforced the empowerment process. Challenges such as maximizing limited resources and generating more participation from the community need to be resolved while the reinforcing factors are cultivated.

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