Community Capacity Development and the Sussex County Health Coalition

Posted By on August 30th, 2018

Community Capacity Building (CCB) is a conceptual approach to social-behavioral change and addresses systems level needs to lay a foundation for community health improvements. It is a method to understand the barriers that people, governments, organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) need to overcome to allow them to achieve community health goals.

Community Capacity Building is a long-term process. For CCB to work, the planning needs to be inclusive of stakeholders; ministries, local authorities, non-governmental organizations, professionals, community members, academics and more. Capacity building uses a community’s human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional and resource capabilities to tackle community problems. Those problems can be related to policy, systems, programs and agencies.

This method of development takes into consideration the potential, limits and needs of the people of the city, town, county or state concerned. CCB can happen in three levels but is the most impactful in my professional opinion when the three levels are aligned with common purpose.

  • Individual level – Community capacity-building on an individual level requires the development of conditions that allow individual participants to build and enhance knowledge and skills. It also
    calls for the establishment of conditions that will allow individuals to engage in the “process of learning and adapting to change”.
  • Institutional level – Community capacity building on an institutional level should involve aiding institutions in modernizing existing systems and supporting them in forming sound policies, organizational structures, and effective methods of management and outcomes.
  • Societal level – Community capacity building at the societal level should support the establishment of a more interactive public administration that learns equally from its actions and from feedback it receives from the population at large. Community capacity building must be used to develop public administrators that are responsive and accountable.

The Sussex County Health Coalition exists quite simply to help the community identify its greatest health concerns and help the community develop its capacity to address those concerns.

SCHC sees its role in fostering collaboration, providing education, driving community planning that helps build individuals, organizations and community capacity to address complex social issues. For far too long this community, through band aid approaches and in siloed formats with fragmented plans and fragmented funding, tried to address complex health and social problems. We build solutions on outdated and crumbling foundations, implement best practices in systems that are not working and shovel programs onto communities not ready to receive, implement or sustain them.

SCHC seeks as an intermediary to help improve foundational needs, create and change systems and support organizations and communities in the process of being ready. Without this necessary role, one that is often overlooked and not funded, we continue to run the risk of poor outcomes and wasted resources. Which, quite frankly, at the end of the day is a poor health outcome for you, your friends, your families and our community. Collaboration, coordination and unified implementation and accountability do not just happen on their own. SCHC was designed as that intermediary and serves a purpose in impacting greater collective impact. If you do not understand what we do or why we do it, ask us! If you want to be a part of it, sign up to be a member. Our impact is only as great as our partner’s Impact.