The Community Capacity Building Program
"Focus on the future of your community
through a human resource development perspective with unique
orientations designed to build and shape your community. The
Community Capacity Building (CCB) Program provides unique orientations
designed to build and shape your community. The orientations
have been designed by various groups with a broad range of experience
to ensure maximum benefit for all groups and individuals interested
in strengthening our communities.
"We aim to strengthen our communities!
"The CCB initiative was designed with communities and individual
learners in mind resulting in the development of enlightening
and informative orientations which stimulate group discussion
and interactive learning."
"The contemporary view of capacity-building goes beyond the
conventional perception of training. The central concerns of
environmental management - to
manage change, to resolve conflict,
to manage institutional pluralism,
to enhance coordination, to foster communication, and to ensure
that data and information are shared - require
a broad and holistic view of
This definition covers both institutional and community-based
"One of the key requirements
in this regard is to recognise that
the social whole is more than
the sum of its individual components.
People form social systems which provide for a range of needs
not met through market transactions - households, communities
of interest, locality and neighbourhoods create networks of
mutual obligation, care, concern, interest and even conflict
(access to other points of view).
In the development and organizational
learning literature these networks, norms and trust which facilitate
co-operation for mutual benefit are referred to as
capital'. Social capital
can be thought of as the framework that supports the process
of learning through interaction, and requires the formation
of networking paths that are both horizontal (across agencies
and sectors) and vertical (agencies to communities to individuals).
The quality of the social processes
and relationships within which learning interactions take place
is especially influential on the quality of the learning outcomes
in collaborative approaches. Taken one step further, this suggests
that social capital plays
an important role in fostering the social networks
and information exchange needed to
achieve collective action
- and sustaining a social and institutional
environment which is ready to
adapt and change."
Building is part of]
Consensus Democracy: cpn.org
A New Approach to 21st Century
By the Kentucky Leadership Institute/Center
for Communities of the Future
America Speaks has issued the challenge
for governance in the 21st Century: "to regain some control
over the policies which affect our lives."
On first glance, simple solutions
seem to be available which can reenergize the democratic process:
"Get the right people to run; if only the people would let us
do the job for which we were elected; vote for term limits;
it's time for a third party."
On the surface these comments
appear to be right on target to solve the problem with democracy.
Such ideas reflect an assumption that the "machinery just needs
the right oil. "
This approach assumes that the
present institutional structure of decision making is correct
and there just needs to be "tinkering" with the system to make
it work. In the opinion of those working to design and implement
the concept of Consensus Democracy, the assumption is no longer
The idea of Consensus Democracy
is based on the theory that the structure of democracy needs
new scaffolding--a new concept of how decisions are made, a
new approach to the role of leadership and new methods and techniques
to build shared vision.
Consensus Democracy focuses
on the need to reengineer the approach to local decision making
in the 21st Century. It assumes the present system which
emphasizes political parties and simple ideology is unable to
be effective in a fast-paced age in which constant change creates
a new level of interdependency and complexity. It assumes
that the old idea of checks and balances will create tremendous
gridlock in a society increasingly diverse. It assumes that
the same forces causing business to rethink the need for involvement
of employees is creating the need for elected officials to develop
new processes for dialogue and decision making which will insure
"ownership by the people". It assumes that there is a need
to rethink what it means to be a "civil society" and that
the concept of the "common good " must be more than an aggregation
of individual rights. It assumes that people will be responsible
for their own communities given the capacities to be effective
in a 21st Century society.
The concept and implementation of
Consensus Democracy is just beginning to evolve. It is presently
the skeleton of a new approach to democratic governance sponsored
by The Center for Communities of the Future. Its focus is to
involve a network of communities throughout the United States
to test out and help adapt the concept as it develops. Feedback
of ideas, methods and techniques win be continuous.
The basic idea of Consensus
Democracy is that people need a new way to be involved in a
broadened approach to local decision making. Surveys have
shown that citizens no longer feel ownership of decisions which
impact their lives. There is little trust between citizens and
their elected officials. Every community is being overwhelmed
with change which is transforming an institutions. Left by itself
experience is a poor teacher of leadership. Too many people
feel that they have to make sure that they get their fair share
because of cutthroat competition and lack of ethics. All of
this leads to a society whose local communities no longer have
a sense that the "common good " is possible.
The framework for a democracy
for the 21st Century needs to be based on principles that align
with the trends of the society. These principles need to
establish a basic understanding of how diversity can be brought
to shared vision; how a new concept of the common good can be
evolved; how new mental models can be created which give understanding
to the times in which we live; how leadership can be developed
capable of being able to manage systemic transformation; how
the communications technology can be utilized to unify a community
through the sharing of instant information; how varied networks
of citizens can be developed to build capacities for change
Any 21st Century approach
to democracy will need a flexible framework in which diverse
people can dialogue and not debate; in which systemic
thinking replaces a linear project mentality; where people
feel that their leaders not only want their opinion, but watch
as these leaders build new processes for active, direct citizen
decision making which includes anyone who wants to be involved;
where decisions will be synthesized constantly using the talents
of the diverse community.
There will be no one model of Consensus
Democracy. The principles of the concept have the flexibility
to be applied in as many ways as appropriate to diverse local
However, the scaffolding of Consensus
Democracy has phases of development which must be interconnected
to provide a system for managing community transformation.
Two components are generic to
- Developing "capacities
for transformation" -- Capacity Building
- Establishing three phases
for a process of community collaboration to identify and
resolve key issues
A key problem existing in an communities
is that not one is prepared to make effective decisions in a
complex, interconnected society. It is not surprising that strategic
plans are often ineffective. We leaders have not prepared our
communities with the "capacities" necessary to be effective.
Our society demands that we jump to action before we ask why
that action is necessary. In addition, our decisions are often
too narrowly defined and do not include strategies which will
be able to deal with the impact of constant change. As a result
our communities decide on simple projects which are based on
obsolete information and which focus on only part of the problem.
There is a need to prepare a community to think differently;
to have the ability to share information in real time; to develop
a cadre of diverse leaders capable of facilitating shared vision
among diverse citizens; and to create a network of citizens
throughout the community able to help manage change.
The "capacity building"
component should include the specific actions:
Develop a training program for
leaders to help them understand how to help manage transformational
change in a 21st Century Society.
Set a ten year goal to provide
"fiber" (fiber optics) and other methods of an electronic
Establish a strategy to emphasize
the idea of future trends in the thinking and operations
of the community.
Design and implement ways to
provide interested neighborhood citizens the skills and
knowledge necessary to help manage "process projects of
PHASES FOR BUILDING A CONSENSUS
SHARED VISIONOnce an effort is under way to develop
capacities in a local community which will lead to a new "framework
for the future" a second component part of the Consensus Democracy
system can be evolved.
There is a need to understand
that citizens will feel ownership of decisions made in their
community only when those interested have had an opportunity
to help identify key issues and help develop and vote on strategies
to resolve the issue.
The Consensus Democracy concept
of community decision making is built around three phases
of citizen involvement:
PHASE 1: The initial phase
is focused to allow all interested citizens to set
the agenda (define and set priorities for key issues). This
can be done a number of ways although surveying using
a network of citizen leaders to distribute the packets probably
most effectively balances the need for accurate information
with the need for adequate citizen discussion and involvement.
In the foreseeable future, electronic means will be used to
have a consensus table of priority issues identified.
PHASE 2: Once one or more
key issues have been identified, a two day "community" congress"
is held to bring all interested participants to a central location
to determine what the important "factors" are that relate to
the issue(s). Groups of twenty diverse citizens are created
to focus on dialogue to define "factors of interconnection".
Wireless technology is used to allow all participants the
opportunity to vote for the top factors. The second
day is used to talk about key strategic issues to be used as
a format for building two or more alternative action plans.
The same format and technology is used to set priorities for
the strategic issues. The goal of the two day event is to "frame
the key issue" to allow an effective understanding of how all
factors and strategic issues relate to the "key issue".
PHASE 3: The groups of
twenty are continued for one to two months to talk about how
action plans can be developed. Additional citizens are added
who have shown interest and who have been brought up to speed
in a specific makeup training session. They are then integrated
into existing groups unless new groups of twenty are needed.
Once these "citizen teams " have finalized at least two action
plans, the plans are sent to the original citizens in
final surveys for their vote. Other methods of citizen
voting can be added to include the idea of TV-telephone hook-up
The intent of Consensus Democracy
is to reformulate how local democracy operates in the 21st Century.
As with any new idea, this concept will need to be tested and
evolved as appropriate methods and techniques are developed.
However, the basic principles of Consensus Democracy recognize
the need for a new institutional way to allow all citizens to
have access to direct control of the decision making process.
New advances in human and electronic technology allow new structures
to be established. The continuous improvement of democracy
is as important as the continuous improvement of humanity. Only
by recognizing the need for new ways of thinking about how we
build the common good in a world of constant change can our
Click here to connect to
The Center for Communities of the Future's CPN affiliate page.