Empowerment evaluation (EE) principles as well as community and social change approaches present advantages instruments to implement the proposed program and monitor it. Taking into account that the target population, in particular, people with low income living in rural areas are in need of transportation, the application of EE and the above approaches would significantly contribute to resolving the specified issue. This paper focuses on ten principles and seven approaches with regards to the proposed program and discusses their impact on the community members.
Discussing Empowerment Principles
Improvement is the first principle of empowerment that implies assisting the target population to enhance the program. In particular, by helping them to enhance the program and adjust it according to their requirements and expectations (Fetterman, Kaftarian, & Wandersman, 2015). For instance, it is important to urge them to be more active and participate in the program development and maintenance. The community ownership principle should also be applied to organize a group of people who would represent the interests of the entire community. The increased responsiveness along with the complete satisfaction of the community needs would be the key benefits.
Consistent with the above principles, inclusion focuses on encouraging every member of the community who corresponds to the identified criteria to participate in the proposed transportation program. Considering that the given community consists of several ethnicities, it is essential to promote diversity awareness, thus integrating people. The impact of the democratic participation principle is likely to affect the target population by providing them with the opportunity to express their ides openly and be heard in terms of the specified issue. More to the point, the mentioned principle would promote fair decision-making, while encouraging people to participate. The principle of social justice aims at addressing social inequalities by means of creating a specific atmosphere of inclusivity and mutual trust (Fetterman et al., 2015). The given community is characterized by low-income and many homeless people that increases the risk of crime. As it was defined in the previous assignment, crime rates are actually high. Since the paramount goal of the transportation program is to improve socioeconomic status of people, it is critical to implement the principle of social justice. In particular, such a decision would allow addressing the above challenge by calling to families to participate for the common good.
By respecting and valuing community knowledge, it is possible to achieve greater collaboration. The very construction of the community, including its key representatives, ethnicities, issues, and positive aspects would help to come up with relevant solutions regarding the program. It is anticipated that while designing and implementing community knowledge, the role of the community members would grow exponentially. For example, to urge people to utilize the principle of community knowledge, it is possible to share the examples of other successful programs. As for the evidence-based strategies principle, it is great importance to apply both scholarly and local evidence (Fetterman et al., 2015). If scholarly literature may provide the general information, strategies, and theories, then the community data is likely to make the process of program implantation more specific. Particularly, the community members may focus on religion and social issues that are generic for them. The role of the program initiator, in this regard, is to assist in collecting and utilizing the evidence-based strategies, especially in the adaptation of outside information and the rejection of inadequate sources. At the same time, it is critical to respect the choice of the community and not to force them into the application of evidence presented by a funder or an evaluator.
The subsequent empowerment principle of capacity building refers to learning conducting evaluations. In other words, the application of this principle would allow the community members to create their own system of evaluation to judgments and interpretations. In many cases, the above is usually is directed at improvement and the addition of some benefits. In this case, the community is likely to suggest some additional thoughts on how to implement the program considering their specific community issues. The bottom line is that people should understand the very evaluation process and internalize it.
The organizational learning is to be utilized to inform data and implement the program in practice. To achieve this, it is important to focus on knowledge transferring and retaining within the community. This means that every community member should receive adequate and complete information about the program and have the opportunity to provide timely feedback. The learning is the most powerful instrument to be used to assess the organizational learning. In order to apply it in terms of the given community, it is possible to create specific internal study. The last principle of accountability emphasizes the expected and actual outcomes, both internal and external. Since the pivotal expected outcome for the proposed program is the improvement of social aspects trough transportation, the mentioned principle should focus on achieving them in terms of the identified timeframe, resources, and budget. The application of accountability is probable through feedback and alignment of individual and group interests.
Applying Community and Social Change Approaches
There are seven approaches that can be implemented to the given community, including consciousness raising, social action, community development, organizational consulting, community coalitions, policy research and advocacy, and alternative settings. Kloos, Hill, Thomas, Wandersman, and Elias (2012) reckon that the approach of consciousness raising refers to increasing people’s awareness and inclusivity in the program based on changing and challenging their conditions. This approach is likely to affect cognitive, social, and emotional sides of the target population through change and action.
The approaches of social development and social action may be considered together since their aims are rather similar. Particularly, social action defines specific strategies to reveal current obstacles and conflicts in terms of empowerment. As a result of removing the identified obstacles by non-violent action, it is possible to promote the community development based on the revision of errors and disadvantages. As claimed by Kloos et al. (2012), community coalitions may involve individuals, local organizations, and any other formation to represent the interests of a certain community. In the given case, the action plan is to be designed by the whole community to pay a close attention to the social issues, thus catalyzing change. The coordinated action is the paramount outcome of the implementation of such an approach. In its turn, coordination would lead to strong internal and external relationships.
The organizational consulting approach implies the cooperation with professional consultants who are expected to assist in social change and consult the local population regarding the proposed program. At the same time, they are to work on diversity issues and ensure its awareness by applying psychology instruments (Moritsugu, Vera, Wong, & Duffy, 2016). The consultative relationships are essential to be bilateral to make sure that everything is comprehensible. The approach of the alternative settings is to create an option that can be utilized in case the former conditions would not work. Accordingly, the alternative settings would be used to conduct the proposed program. This alternative affects the communities positively by providing choice.
Policy research and advocacy approach involves scholarly research of both internal and external data to inform decision-makers. According to Moritsugu et al. (2016), from the point of community psychology, the research should focus on such social issues as homelessness, a lack of access to social services, and family development. All of the above mentioned points fit the given community. Based on the research results, the program initiator would receive a complete picture of the situation that would allow coming up with the most appropriate program implementation strategies.
To conclude, it should be emphasized that the application of the mentioned principles of empowerment as well as approaches is rather important for the given community and the proposed program. Considering that the community encounters social problems in accessing services, it is critical to design and implement the transportation program. In this regard, the use of the discussed approaches and principles as a complex may significantly contribute to its effectiveness. In particular, it would affect by increasing the level of the community members’ participation and awareness along with their evaluation system regarding the program. More to the point, it is safe to assume that approaches and principles would also promote the integration of the community based on mutual trust and responsiveness. In general, the combination of the mentioned measures would affect the community members rather beneficially.
Fetterman, D. M., Kaftarian, S. J., & Wandersman, A. (2015). Empowerment evaluation: Knowledge and tools for self-assessment and accountability (2nd ed.). New York, NY: SAGE Publishing.
Kloos, B., Hill, J., Thomas, E., Wandersman, A., & Elias, M. J. (2012). Community psychology: Linking individuals and communities (3rd ed.). Cengage Learning.
Moritsugu, J., Vera, E., Wong, F. Y., & Duffy, K. G. (2016). Community psychology (5th ed.). New York, NY: Psychology Press.