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I am a social work faculty member at a university in Lebanon. I am working with several colleagues in an interdisciplinary research cluster. We are assisting the national Red Cross in developing a community assessment. This was to be used in short term planning at the various regional branches and then long term planning nationally. Recently, what is locally being referred to as a "revolution" has occurred. But it might more accurately be described as massive civil disobedience. There have been a few violent incidents that have been quite isolated. Yet, I think there is a strong possibility that this will escalate. I am suggesting to the cluster that we temporarily terminate our work. We cannot assess a community that is in crisis. I was interested in your thoughts or advice.

Thank you for your response and the availability of the toolbox. It has been enormously helpful to me over the years in teaching community development and in my work in the community.

Hello Michele,
Thank you for contacting The Community Tool Box. We are pleased to hear that we have been helpful over the years with your work in the community.
In regard to deciding whether to suspend the work there are a few considerations.
1. Will the potential violence place individuals who are collecting data in danger?
2. If there is, indeed, a "revolution" taking place and it looks like things might change somehow (political, economic, cultural), how will the outcome impact the community needs and assets? If the current conditions may result in greater or different needs or somehow affect the results you might achieve, then it is important to wait and capture the needs once the environment is stable enough to formulate and implement a plan.
3. If it looks like this "revolution" will be an ongoing string of civil disobedience over a length of time, then you might want to do the assessment and include questions about how this is impacting community members and include this in your planning.
4. You might consider doing an abbreviated version during this time of unrest to determine short term needs at this time, and then conduct the more comprehensive assessment at a later date to be used for long-term planning.
In summary, the first consideration should always be safety. After that, the primary consideration is timing to complete the assessment when you will get the most useful information that can be incorporated into short- and long-term plans without the distortion of results that some extreme but passing events may provide.
Please stay safe and write again if you have further questions.
The CTB Advisor

Question Date: Wed, 11/27/2019