What is the Community Tool Box, and what does it do?
The Community Tool Box is a free, open source “box of tools” that makes it easier for people to work together to strengthen communities and address issues that matter to them.
Used by nearly 6 million different people last year, the CTB has become the go-to resource for training and technical support for people in more than 200 countries.
The CTB is used to help guide efforts to address a variety of issues of importance to communities. For instance:
Supporting Substance Abuse Prevention Efforts in Utah
“When looking to the internet to find resources that can truly work to help us in our [substance abuse prevention] efforts, the FIRST place I go is to the Community Toolbox…We used the toolbox when we were [doing strategic planning] and collaborating with community partners... It was PRICELESS... There is nothing out there that is more comprehensive and easy to use. I hope and pray it doesn't go away and remains a resource I can utilize when needed.”
Heather Lewis, Provo, Utah
Training Community Members to Take Action in Mexico
“Children were being injured by vehicles travelling too fast through a barrio in south Mexico City. Our team used the Community Tool Box to prepare community members to address this issue, using CTB sections on conducting listening sessions and analyzing community problems to help plan for community changes… Community members identified, voted on, and built speed bumps [along the dirt road that ran through the barrio]. No further injuries occurred after this community-led change, a community solution brought about with the support of the Community Tool Box.”
Reported by Andrómeda Valencia Ortíz and Noemi Barragan, Mexico City
Troubleshooting in Addressing Ebola
“During 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners were trying to contain a massive outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease that caused major loss of life and socioeconomic disruption in West Africa. In Guinea, there was widespread resistance to efforts to implement safe burials and other practices intended to prevent disease transmission. The WHO used the Community Tool Box’s troubleshooting guide to assess opposition tactics (e.g., denial, discrediting) being used and to reframe communications efforts (e.g., working for safe and dignified burials). The CTB provided guidance that local health workers used to help bring the Ebola outbreak under control.”
Reported by Peter Malakele Phori, WHO Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo
Learning Skills for Food Security Work in Cambodia
“My team [Farmer Livelihood Development] is responsible for implementing a Nutrition and Food Security Project based in Siem Reap province, Cambodia. I write to express my sincere thanks to you for making the resource on Facilitation Skills available online for my own and team learning. We work closely with government Health Center (HC), local authorities and the community in 30 villages.”
Ray Sano, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Grantwriting Support for Tribes Working to Improve Child Welfare
“The Community Tool Box is my go-to site for all my needs in community research. My most recent experience sharing information from the site was during my work as a federal evaluator and technical assistance liaison to increase capacity of the Tribes. [Tribal members] used the grant writing section to improve their grants; helping them secure funding to protect their children and improve their child welfare systems.”
Carissa Coleman, Cedaredge, CO
Supporting Community Development in Papua New Guinea
“I have just established a community-based organization (Agarabi Community Development Agency) with the vision to see a poverty-free community in which everyone is empowered. The Community Tool Box helps me [with] almost everything I need to know about community development and how to manage a community-based organization… I can confidently say that Community Tool Box is doing so much by providing relevant and quality information available to assist people and organizations who have dreams to develop their communities.”
Oksie Kunapa, Papua New Guinea
Supporting Rural Development with Kansas Farmers
“My organization helps farmers sustain healthy businesses and [create] a sustainable environment… I have used the Tool Box in many ways over the years. I have used it to help me think through strategic planning as I work with non-profit organizations. I also have used it to help me plan better project evaluations. It also has been useful in project planning and grant writing.”
Jerry Jost, Kansas Rural Center
Strengthening the Workforce for Addressing Different Issues
With its focus on building core competencies, such as planning and evaluation, the CTB has skill-building tools that are applicable to a variety of issues. We have worked with partner organizations in designing “customized tool boxes” to build the workforce for addressing their priority issues. For instance, for efforts to promote healthy living and wellbeing, sustainable development goals, healthy cities and municipalities, and justice action.
Reported by the Community Tool Box Team
The Community Tool Box serves a large and diverse community-strengthening workforce—nearly 6 million unique users last year, from over 200 different countries.
Top 30 Countries (# of Unique Users) of the Community Tool Box
(Source: Google Analytics, January 2022-January 2023)
Since there is now a complete Spanish language version of the CTB, half of the top 10 user countries are from the region of Latin America (see Table above). Translation of the CTB into other major U.N. languages would vastly increase global use.
What would a Community Tool Box Fund make possible?
We have a guiding vision for how a dedicated fund or endowment would enable an even greater impact. These include both technological advances and a unique opportunity to help strengthen and revitalize the spirit of the communities that the CTB serves.
Advancing CTB technology, content, and access:
- Expanded language translation and cultural adaptation with partners in different regions of the world. Completed languages of the CTB include: English and Spanish. Translation is underway for: Arabic and Farsi, but more resources are needed to complete translation for the other approximately 50% of the 7,000 pages of the CTB. Future translation priorities include: French (especially for West Africa), Chinese, and Portuguese (especially for Brazil).
- Technology for a “smart” CTB site that can recommend tools relevant to users’ own work, and examples relevant to their context and region of the world.
- More interactive features that enable users to connect, network, and share innovations with other community builders through the CTB user network.
- Expanded and updated content of the CTB. The Community Tool Box—with over 7,000 pages of tools—is the largest source of free community-building information in the world. With over 300 “how-to” sections and real-life examples, there is a constant need for expansion and updating.
- Technology platforms to enable users to build their own “toolboxes” drawing on the open source content of the CTB.
Strengthening and revitalizing the communities the CTB serves:
- Co-Sponsor local, national and global “Community Action Prizes” to make visible the work people are doing to build healthier and more just communities.
- Continued access to the free resources that support health and development efforts locally, and globally
Why does your financial support matter?
The Community Tool Box is an established public good. In the past year, nearly six million people—from more than 200 countries—used this free resource to support their work in community health and development.
The CTB will be 30 years old in 2024, and it is time to secure its future through a dedicated fund or endowment. (This established account will be maintained by the University of Kansas Endowment Association).
Together, we can ensure that this public good will remain available for future generations working to create a healthier and more just world.
For the Community Tool Box Team (based at the Center for Community Health and Development, University of Kansas): Christina Holt, Steve Fawcett, Jerry Schultz, Vincent Francisco, Jomella Watson-Thompson, Bill Berkowitz, Tom Wolff.
HOW TO GIVE
Give online: http://www.kuendowment.org/ctb (Please specify the Community Tool Box in the "My gift will benefit" field.)
Mail a gift or pledge to:
Community Tool Box/KU Center for Community Health and Development Fund 04049
PO Box 928
Lawrence, Kansas 66044-0928
Center for Community Health and Development, University of Kansas
A World Health Organization Collaborating Centre
1000 Sunnyside Avenue, Room 4082
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7555
By Email: email@example.com By Phone: 866.770.8162
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