Community Engagement

Topics: Ethics, Community practice, Community building Pages: 6 (1968 words) Published: May 14, 2013
Engaging in the community as well as engaging ourselves with the issues of our society makes us aware and open to the different theories regarding the roles and relationship that contributes to it. Awareness and being concerned to the society are some of the characteristic that we all should have to be able to understand what the things that most of the times are affects our engagement to the society that we have now. This essay mainly gives knowledge and understanding about community engagement and critically discusses the role as well as the relationship of community engagement to the society. In addition, there are some relevant theories to be used in discussion on the roles and relationship of community engagement to the society that may help better understand the nature of community engagement such as ethical theory, communicative theory and citizenship theory.

There are several definitions of community engagement and these definitions represent or symbolize the culture, beliefs and tradition of every group that provided the meaning of it. Even though community engagement is defined differently or characterized in many different ways by various groups, still these definitions have only one common meaning.

Generally, community engagement is defined as the process wherein community groups or institutions work mutually to address circumstances and situations that impact or greatly influence the well-being of those groups. In practice, community engagement is a combination of social science and art. The science comes from sociology, political science, cultural anthropology, organizational development, psychology, social work, and other disciplines with organizing concepts drawn from the literature on community participation, community mobilization, constituency building, community psychology, cultural influences, and other sources. On the other hand, the vital artistic element needed for the community engagement includes the utilization of understanding, skill, and sensitivity to apply and adapt the science in ways that fit the community and purposes of specific engagement efforts (SCDC 2009)

Community Engagement is the process of creating a harmonious relationship within community members who will do their tasks side-by-side with the society as an on-going partner, in any and each way imaginable, producing an army that can maintain for the mission, and with the ultimate goal of making the community a better place to live (Gottlieb 2009). ‘Engagement helps communities articulate, develop and achieve their goals’ Sarkissian (2009,pp. 5-6). From that definition, community engagement has to recognize their goals before involve other community to help with.

According to Howard & Butcher (2007), community engagement refers to the collaboration between the higher education institutions as well as their larger communities, which include the local, regional/state, national and global communities to achieve a common beneficial trading and development of knowledge as well as resources in a context of reciprocity and relationship. There are several activities that a community engagement has. These include service-learning, voter registration drives, community-based research, community-centered forums, alternative spring breaks, community-based internships, and lastly, the community service.

In addition to the definition given, the National Standards for Community Engagement define community engagement as the one which develops and sustains a working relationship between one or more public institutions and one or more community teams, to better help them both to understand and work on the needs or situations that the community encounters (SCDC 2009).

When it comes to the roles of community engagement to the society, probably the most common question being raised is on the importance and role of it and how does it function to the community. As mentioned above, community engagement refers to the...
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