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I live in a community-driven neighborhood in San Diego and wanted to contribute to the community building efforts. I was thinking of building a collective problem tree (and subsequently solution tree) to tackle community needs and identify assets and resources by interviewing individuals of this community. I would be posting this community needs assessment online, to raise awareness and try to promote meaningful actionable path to tackle those needs. I want to bring light to needs identified by community members, promote community ownership and mobilization of resources to eventually act upon those needs. I am still working on the questionnaire, do you have any advice by any chance? Thank you

            Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box, and please excuse our unforeseen delay in responding to your very thoughtful and well-articulated question.
            It’s excellent to hear about your activities and your plans to strengthen neighborhood life where you live. We surely support your goals.   There are many good ideas in what you write, and many of them may work out very  well.
            But you might want to take a step back and a second look at the methods you describe. What stands out most is that you seem to be doing this work all by yourself, where it could instead be more of a community effort. Engaging community members in the design (and, later on, implementation) can be empowering for them, and increase their future buy-in – not to mention that it can take much of the burden off of you!
            Also, when you say you would be posting this needs assessment online, do you mean that the posting would be of the results of the assessment, or rather that the posting would be the needs assessment itself.  If the latter, note that it’s quite hard to get people to answer surveys online, especially those taking more than a minute or two. 
            So we would like to describe an alternative approach, simply for your consideration.
            Rather than start with pre-conceived ideas, such as a Collective Problem Tree.  You could meet with small groups of neighbors, simply to talk about what’s going on the neighborhood and hear what’s on their mind. How do they see the needs (and assets) of the community?  What are they liking, what are they not liking, what issues are most important to them, how should those issues best be addressed, and what might they want to work on together?   Questions like that.
            You’d listen carefully to what they have to say.  And from those discussions, your interventions will emerge.  Maybe what emerges will be connected with your collective problem tree, or maybe not. The key point is that choices will be made by those most affected by them.  This is more of a bottom-up approach, rather than one which seeks to implement a concept from the outside.  It will draw on neighbor participation and contribution from the get-go. It will be more personal. And it may work out better for you and everyone in the long run. Your longer-run goals would not change, but the pathway for achieving them would be different.
            Just something to think about.
            In addition, you may find some useful background materials in the Community Tool Box. For example, you might look at Chapter 3, Section 13, Conducting Surveys, at https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing-community-needs-and-resources/conduct-surveys/main, as well as at other topics that may interest you, which you can find by  browsing the Tool Box’s table of contents.
            We hope some of these thoughts may be helpful to you. Thanks again for being in touch, and all best wishes for the success of your project as your work unfolds.

Question Date: جمعه, 04/21/2023