Act & Communicate
For a self-strengthening process to produce concrete results, sooner or later your community will need to ‘act’. This typically includes developing and implementing one or more specific initiatives.
These initiatives should draw from the understanding of your community’s own strengths and challenges and the threats and opportunities it faces (see #Understand) in relationship to its role as custodian and vision of the desired future (see #Vision & Celebrate). In other words, your community should together consider and agree on what needs to happen for its shared vision of the territory of life to become reality.
For instance, if your community wants to maintain its territory for healthy living, it needs to prevent the establishment of ecologically damaging industries. This might involve figuring out how to stop such industries from obtaining government concessions. If your community wishes for local youth to stay local, rather than migrating to towns, it can enhance the local education and livelihood opportunities. This requires foresight, dedicated planning and resources.
In connection to developing action plans, and to self-strengthening processes more broadly, your custodian community is likely to relate with others – such as other communities, allied organisations and the government – and communicate in strategic ways about its territory of life. This may happen at various levels – e.g., local, landscape, national and international — and for a variety of reasons. Communication initiatives are often devised to inform others about the territory of life and the community’s action and customary/legal rights and responsibilities. One common aim is to make sure that your community is appropriately recognized, supported and respected, and another is to obtain help in specific activities, according to what the community has decided.
…the many benefits of good communication: Communication initiatives often bring benefits to the community that go beyond the obvious. For example, through developing and sharing communications, your community reinforces its internal awareness and transparency, and thus, improves governance. Communicating also forges connections with other communities. You can inspire other communities… and, likewise, hear from them, discover similarities, learn from them and ultimately collaborate with them (see #Act with Others). Communication approaches need to be strategically designed and tailored to their specific context and needs. Useful information and material will likely exist from the prior #reflect, #document and #understand elements but more could be generated by a dedicated community Communication Team, who should be specifically knowledgeable and active.
Header Photo: © Ashish Kothari