Community Development

The community development process emphasizes the importance of engaging community stakeholders in the work to end sexual violence.

Community development work begins differently than traditional education and prevention work. Traditionally we think about what information we want to present to people in our communities and then make every effort to "get into" the places we think will be open to us. The community development approach is a broader way to look at the work and to expand opportunities and support for sexual assault prevention. This fundamentally different approach views community members, otherwise known as stakeholders, as resources and partners in prevention. The focus is on addressing the underlying conditions that support sexual violence (Stringer, 1999).

The Community Development Process

Community development

The process is key in community development projects. Keep in mind that the process:

  • Is led by the people (for the people, by the people).
  • Involves people other than service providers. Many times community coalitions or working groups are composed of the same old people. Community development involves people directly.
  • Is intended to transfer ownership of the solutions to ending sexual violence from you, a service provider, to them, the community. The idea is that service providers don't have all the solutions-that communities themselves do.
  • Is dynamic and changing. It will be varied and unique. Don't expect it to be similar in every community. However, it does have the same goal: to increase a community's ability and mobilize them to end sexual violence.

More detailed information can be found below in Related Content or in the Prevention Online Orientation Course.