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Ways of thinking about Community Engagemen

Date Released: Tue, 19 June 2012 09:00 +0200

The Director of Community Engagement at Rhodes, Di Hornby, recently addressed the ISASA (Independent Schools Association of SA) Conference for School Librarians in Grahamstown. She proposed the following framework for thinking about Community Engagement, which consists of three different models that can:

The Ostrich Model: Those who don’t believe that engaging with the community has anything to do with them, their school or their university; that it lies outside their mandate.

The Good Deeds Model: This model is the most dominant way of thinking. Those involved in these programmes are motivated by their sense of social responsibility and doing the right thing. It is about doing things for communities and mostly providing goods and things. Although there is a need for welfare programmes, these are inclined to deepen feelings of helplessness and the belief that in order to change the situation, help must come from outside.

The Strategic Model: This is a paradigm shift away from the deficit welfare programmes to realizing the potential of community engagement for the development of people and the shaping of new society. It is about recognizing community assets, about equal partnerships with communities and about mutually beneficial programmes.

This is not to say that these are absolutes, or that there are no0t degrees of community engagement that span more than one model, but it is intended to stimulate debate about the ways in which community engagement is approached.

We would be happy to receive any comments, critique or feedback on this form interested readers.