Document Text (Pages 291-300) Back to Document

Community Capacity and Governance – New Approaches to Development and Evaluation

by Banyai, Cindy Lyn, PhD


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The public exhibition took empowerment to the next step by putting the group members in
the center of attention as the ones to guide their fellow community members through the group
process and lead the discussion through their photographs and video. It is at this point that
empowerment makes the leap to leadership development, as those involved with the project gain
confidence and start to take initiative on issues that affect them within the community thus
sparking dialogue with others to create change. This kind of activity and discussion within the
community builds its capacity.

The varied groups that participated in the forum provided interesting and varied feedback.
However, a smaller, more intimate group would probably have provided for more in-depth
conversation, possibly more critical in nature. The organization of the forum was ad hoc, but the
process and results were positive. More planning would lead to more effectiveness. Patience
and perseverance on the part of the exhibition conveners is important in this context.

3. Implications of Findings

The trial cases and the public exhibition show the usefulness of the PPE and PVE method as
a tool for both governance and community capacity building. This section is devoted to fully
explaining the potential uses and benefits of these methods. Both examples from the cases and
support from the literature are used here to make the case for PPE and PVE utilization.

3.1. Contribution to Governance

The PPE and PVE are evaluations and the importance of evaluation in relation to governance
was established in Chapter Three and Chapter Six. However, since the methods also incorporate
techniques of action research, community participation, and the use of non-traditional media, the
link to improved governance through the use of the methods needs to be further highlighted.

As was touched upon earlier, conducting evaluations endogenously and on an ongoing basis
is an important part of the cycle of policy management and is a practice that ensures appropriate
policy design, as well as buy-in and engagement of stakeholders (Balassanian, 2006, p. 27;
Dobbs & Moore, 2002, p. 170).

If either PPE or PVE were incorporated into an evaluation system that was consistent with
the policy management cycle, it could prove to be a very important tool in gathering stakeholder
feedback in a truly participatory fashion. Mayor M. Sales recognized the potential of the
methods during the public exhibition. PPE and PVE answer calls to supplement passive
evaluation techniques with effective and interesting participatory evaluations (Kaufmann et al.,
2002, p. vi; Razafindrakoto & Roubaud, 2002, p. 144).

PPE and PVE contribute to accountability and transparency in governance (Jackson &
Kassam, 1998, p. 13; Vernooy et al., 2003, p. 149) because of their trul participatory evaluative
nature. Using PPE or PVE will also help policymakers ensure that their initiatives will produce
the intended outcomes because they provide knowledge on the present situation and feelings of
community stakeholders (Small, 1995, p. 949). The methods also contribute to the development
of more contextual policy (Bodorkos & Pataki, 2009, p. 1124; Jackson & Kassam, 1998. P. 14)
by providing voice to local stakholders. This also reinforces the need to incorporate PPE or PVE
into the evaluation system in the policy management cycle, in order to best produce continuous
and relevant information on the progress of policy outcomes. For the Pagudpud case trails, the
intent of the PPE and PVE was to provide an overview of the community capacity there and not

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provide specific feedback on a particular policy, program, or project. Therefore, these results
may be best utilized as a sort of ex-ante evaluation with the methods later being used to look at
policy specifics.

3.2. Contribution to Community Capacity

While the benefit the PPE and PVE make to governance is straightforward, the potential use
of the methods as an approach to community capacity building can be even more impacting. The
methods inherit all of the community capacity building potential that action research and
participatory evaluation have. They are also easy to organize and coordinate, as well as unique
and interesting to participants.

In terms of PPE and PVE being participatory evaluations, they bring the benefits of social
learning (Balassanian, 2006, p. 26; Fults, 1993, p. 88; High & Nemes, 2007, p. 111; UNDP,
1997, p. 30; Vernooy et al., 2003, p. 149), policy contextualization (High & Nemes, 2007, p.
111), empowerment and provision of voice (Fujikake, 2008, p. 6) and ownership of local policy
(Fults, 1993, p. 242; Razafindrakoto & Roubaud, 2002, p. 128; Vernooy et al., 2003, p. 149).

PPE and PVE are both a means and an end in community capacity, empowering people to
realize their potential and use their capabilities, as well as to confirm ownership of the policy by
the community (UNDP, 1997, p. 12). Additionally, assessing community capacity can building
it if a truly participatory approach to the evaluation is taken (Mendis-Millard & Reed, 2007, pp.
543-544), as it is with the PPE and PVE.

As a form of action research, PPE and PVE benefit the community through the
empowerment and increased ownership of local situations and initiatives by participants (Small,
1995, p. 944), the activation of local capabilities (Bodorkos & Pataki, 2009, p. 1123), and social
change (Bodorkos & Pataki, 2009, p. 1123; Kirk & Shutte, 2004, p. 238).

PPE and PVE can be categorized as a leadership development strategy for community
capacity building. This is due in part to its background as an action research method whereby
participants explore their current realities, desires for future development, and expound upon
ways to pursue those goals (Kirk & Shutte, 2004, pp. 244-245). Additionally, projects with the
intention of community development inherently result in leadership development in terms of
enhanced human resource capital and social capital (Saegert, 2005, p. 10; Zacharakis & Flora,
2005, p. 303).

All participants of the case trials, including those that participated in the public exhibition,
were engaged and began dialogue and personal thought on community issues. According to the
feedback surveys, some were even inspired to become more active in the improvement of the
community. This indicates the beginning of leadership development at large.

Furthermore, Ms. Tamargo, as a participant in the PVE trial, indicated that she began to think
about her community in new ways after her participation in the project, giving additional support
to the leadership development contention. In fact, particularly, among the video group,
leadership development was observable through their actions, discussion, and demeanor at the
public exhibition, where each member actively took the lead during the video presentation.

PPE and PVE contribute to the development of a sense of community because it helps to
increase the trust between community members, as well as the understanding and cooperation to
achieve common goals and the reinforcement of local identity (Jackson & Kassam, 1998, p. 11;
Pavey et al., 2006, p. 106; Vernooy et al., 2003, p. 149). They do so through their facilitation of

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community discussion and through providing a forum through which community members can
get to know one another.

The methods also contribute to development of pride in their community (Fujikake, 2008, p.
6). In the PVE trial case, the reinforcement of local identity can particularly be seen. Through
the public exhibition surveys many respondents indicated that the video and photos helped to
inspire feelings of pride in their community.

The use of photography and video helps to stir conversation and allows a starting point for
community members to share stories and explore their collective history (Lykes, 2006, p. 273).
They help local participants in an evaluation record their perspective in ways that traditional
evaluation are limited (Rietbergen-McCracken & Narayan, 1998, p. 212). This unique aspect of
the PPE and PVE also contributes to the development of sense of community through the
discussion on their shared history and the creation of a new shared story.

The commitment of the community is increased through the use of PPE and PVE because it
is mode through which local stakeholders can directly participate (Pavey et al., 2006, p. 106;
Vernooy et al., 2003, p. 149). Furthermore, not only do participants take the opportunity to
participate in PPE or PVE projects, they may be encouraged to participate in other civic activities
(Fujikake, 2008, p. 6).

The ability to set and achieve objectives is increased through the use of PPE and PVE
because it helps local stakeholders create a clearer picture of their expected outcomes of the local
policy structure, as well as collect their thoughts and ideas on areas where they would like to
action (Vernooy et al., 2003, p. 150). Furthermore, the learning that takes place through the PPE
and PVE process contributes to the potential of change because “knowledge and learning are
fundamental dimensions of historical processes of innovation and social change (Johnson, 2007,
p. 277).” The methods can ultimately facilitate social change (Bodorkos & Pataki, 2009, p.
1123; Mendis-Millard & Reed, 2007, pp. 543-544).

PVE and PPE contribute to the community’s ability to recognize and access resources by
helping them to recognize and activate local capabilities (Bodorkos & Pataki, 2009, p. 1124). In
the Pagudpud trial, new natural resources were discovered by the photo group and in both of the
groups, the participants own resources were recognized and accessed. These discoveries could
have a resonating effect, encouraging the participants, including the exhibition participants, to
think more critically and work more diligently to identify resources within their community.

4. Chapter Summary

This chapter introduced the newly constructed methods participatory evaluation using the
non-traditional media of video and photography. PPE and PVE are qualitative, concept-driven
evaluations that incorporate tenets of action research and collaborative inquiry into their design.
The use of PPE or PVE fulfills the call from academics and practitioners that evaluation be
useful and provides voice to local stakeholders, render viable, accurate and practical information,
and emphasize outcomes and the process of evaluation.

By looking at the trial cases of PPE and PVE that were conducted in Pagudpud, Philippines,
it can be seen that action research can be incorporated into participatory evaluation and that
using non-traditional media, such as photography and video, is an interesting and useful method
of data collection, as well as an activity that a group can coalesce around. The findings reveal
that these types of evaluation have the dual function of providing information for policy-making

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and build community capacity by empowering people through information dissemination, critical
community discussion, and leadership development.

Unfortunately, these trial cases had a few issues that should be corrected in future research.
The first is that the projects should have been conducted by an internal facilitator in order for
them to reach their full potential community capacity building development. However, as
explained earlier, that was not possible in this trial. Additionally, in participatory evaluation, it is
necessary for the participants to be involved in the indicator selection and the judgment of the
indicators against their selected criteria. In these trial cases, the participants chose images that
depicted their interpretation of community capacity using the A-A-A framework presented in the
beginning of the projects. It would have been better if there had been more discussion allotted to
the internalization of the framework and the selection of local indicators and criteria that the
groups could analyze. While there is much potential for these methods, there is still a need for
further refinement and research on their implementation, the long term benefit of their use, and
other potential benefits and drawbacks.

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9. Summary of Work

There is a moral, economic, and security imperative to give credence to grass roots
alternative development and poverty alleviation. With more than a billion people
continually enduring hardships due to human poverty and structural inequities, there
has never been a more opportune time to refocus on how to make the global economic
system work for everyone. Poverty reduction strategies should not be created in a vacuum from
the top-down, but rather be a component of proactive and participatory development enacted
within the community. It is for this reason, that community capacity, which attempts to describe,
incorporate, and promote social and economic activities in a community and their stakeholders,
is significant in relation to human development poverty alleviation.

Globalization has brought modernity to the doorsteps of the developing world and brought
the lives of people in developing countries closer to their already developed neighbors. The state
of the world is what makes this work relevant and the desires of so many to improve it provide
further impetus for the pursuit of proactive governance and equitable standards of living.

The field of development has evolved from focusing on only economic development to
including ideas from participatory development, sustainable development, and human
development. These permutations of the original concept of development can be grouped under
the umbrella of alternative development and serves as the leading paradigm guiding this work.
Special consideration was also given here to rural development, due to the high instance of
poverty in rural areas, and community development, because of the concepts being advocated for
throughout this work.

“Strong communities are those that offer members positive ways to interact, important events
to share and ways to resolve them properly, opportunities to honor members, opportunities to
invest in the community, and opportunities to experience a spiritual bond among members
(McMillan & George, 1986, p. 14)." The strength of communities can be described through
identifying the attributes of community capacity. Human development can be best undertaken
by understanding the importance of community capacity and then building strategies for
development or revitalization through consideration of community capacity.

The development of larger conceptualizations of community is heavily reliant on the
development of social capital between its various stakeholders. Social capital describes the
bonds between people and has been recognized as a contributing factor to community
development and community capacity.

Community capacity has become somewhat of a buzzword as of late and there is much
contention over its meaning and use. This works contributes to the clarification of it meaning
and places the concept into a useable analytical framework that is applicable to policy
management and evaluation. Community capacity is established here as a holistic approach to
analyzing factors that affect governance and development. According to the understanding of
the literature and its real world application, community capacity has been intrinsically linked to
local stakeholders and the provision of opportunities for them to exercise their voice.

Community capacity is becoming increasingly more important as authority is being
decentralized, as it is in many countries. This is because communities with a high amount of
community capacity have a better understanding of the assets at their disposal, as well as a
greater understanding of knowing what they need and want and avenues to achieve such.
Community capacity facilitates governance and the A-A-A framework is a tool through which
communities can better identify and assess their situation to further facilitate local activity

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planning. Human development and poverty alleviation is aided by considering community
capacity because it helps to illuminate alternative, local, and organic ways in which a community
can utilize its assets for local improvements that best reflect the needs and desires of the local
people.

Community capacity is the ability of all members of a community to access and use their
assets to set and achieve objectives. Community capacity in the context of a developing
community needs special consideration, especially in comparison to already modernized and
developed contexts. The A-A-A framework also provides the special considerations that are
specific to any context by articulating many factors that can be easily overlooked by traditional
planning, such as the identification of multitudes of stakeholders and community agents and
taking the entirety of the community into consideration as a preliminary step in planning. The
expansion of the contextual influences offered here also helps to make the A-A-A framework
more applicable to developing communities.

Through the analysis and exploration presented in this work, community capacity can also be
seen as a framework to guide human development and poverty alleviation. Community capacity
building strategies such as leadership development, organizational development, community
organizing, and inter-organizational collaboration help to make governance overall more
effective and contribute to the institutionalization of decentralization through the creation of a
populace that is well equipped facilitate localized participatory policy management.

Understanding the necessity of community capacity in participatory governance is the key
link between concept and application. Community capacity can only be valuable as a conceptual
framework if it is applicable to governance frameworks and mechanisms. This work seeks to
link the two areas through formulating community capacity into an easily understandable
framework, the A-A-A, which can be paired with public administration tools, such as the logic
framework and methods of evaluation found in the policy management cycle. With a clear
linkage between concept and application more effective governance, particularly in terms of
human development and poverty alleviation, can be achieved.

Governance is established here as the system through which authority is exercised and has
grown to include governments at various levels, service agencies, and private enterprises
involved with public service delivery. Democracy and participatory governance are the most
prevalent and popular forms of governance and are practically implemented through local
governance, decentralization, and localization. Localized governance is important because it
contributes to democracy through the development of political, organizational and leadership
capacity at the local level, thus increasing people’s participation, as well as providing a check to
higher levels of authority, thus increasing good governance.

Public administration has moved governance toward democratic participation and the global
market. Some tools have emerged to facilitate participation of stakeholders to promote good
governance. A policy management cycle that includes evaluation and links it and public
feedback to the next policy planning phase increases the efficiency of public management and
the effectiveness of policy. The logic framework is an organizational tool that can be used to
describe any portion of a policy structure in its entirety, and provides common structure and
vocabulary for public administration, while evaluation is becoming the most important and
useful public administration tool for the promotion of good governance.

The major paradigms ascribed to in this work are post-modernism, post-positivism, and
contextualism because they are the most appropriate for studying about community capacity and
governance, particularly when participatory methodologies are being used. Reflexive research,

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adaptive research, ethnography, qualitative research, and action research are also outlined here as
major approaches that were taken for this research. Specific methodologies employed to obtain
data for this work were secondary research, case studies, observation, photography, focus
groups, interviews, and surveys. This work seeks to emphasize the idea that qualitative data,
complementing quantitative data, is essential for effective policy making.

Despite the limitations inherent in using these methods and the specific ones that were
incurred through the field research, this work was still able to make a coherent case for the
abridgement of the concept of community capacity and the development of non-traditional
participatory evaluation.

1. Contribution to Conceptual Development

Part of the academic contribution of this work is the development of the concept of
community capacity. The concept of community capacity was introduced and developed in
relation to the agents responsible for community capacity building. Community leadership was
also designated as a twin concept to community capacity. The reorientation of the global
economic system to focus on community-driven economics is also proposed as way to
incorporate the newly progressed concept into a practical paradigm to facilitate human
development and poverty alleviation.

Community has been established here as a suitable starting point for evaluative research and
policy management. Community is both the place we live and the people and things we know.
These qualities help to build the localized concept of community, as well as distill the concept to
its foundational components in order for it to be expanded beyond the smallest propinquity.
Through recognition of importance and efforts of inclusiveness, a truly international community
can be born.

Furthermore, communities should be recognized as complex systems with multiple
stakeholders. By conceptualizing these complex relationships and functions, which is more
similar to reality, useable analytical frameworks for policy creation, leadership promotion, and
other development strategies can be better created.

The cases of rural revitalization from Japan in Chapter Five highlight the refined concept of
community capacity. The Chaskin Framework, which this work is based off of, is simplified,
particularly in visual representation, into the Attributes-Agents-Action (A-A-A) cycle. The A-A-
A cycle represents the refinement of the terms of the Chaskin Framework, emphasizes the
importance and role of the contextual influences, and demonstrates the cyclical nature of
community capacity. The cases of rural development from Japan also help to contextualize the
attributes of community capacity by focusing on a community with a particularly strong and
noticeable SCOR attribute. All of these aspects were uncovered through the cases studies from
Japan. This model is one of the main contributions of this work.

The case of Himeshima stands apart from the other Japanese case studies because it focused
on the agents of community capacity. Himeshima provides a better understanding of the
significance of community capacity and the effects of community agents in relation to
community leadership. Community leadership is the ideal outcome of community capacity
development and is what community agents should be striving for because it ensures that the
community develops according to its own objectives consistently. Community capacity and
community leadership evolve simultaneously. The singular instances of leadership facilitate the

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progression of the A-A-A cycle to produce a more mature policy structure with more varied and
sophisticated outcomes, higher levels of community capacity, and more leadership.

Pagudpud shares much in common with places around the world that wish to see
improvement in their community. This case of Pagudpud shows some ways in which a local
administration can work toward improving the lives of the people they serve, as well as some
community capacity building strategies that will help to facilitate the success of local activities.
The policy structure of Pagudpud was analyzed using the logic framework and its community
capacity was assessed through the A-A-A framework. What can be seen is that there are many
activities being undertaken in Pagudpud and community capacity building is taken into
consideration through the 10-K Initiative. This is how community capacity building strategies
can be integrated into a policy framework.

In terms of governance, this work emphasized the need to focus on the localization of policy
structure and evaluation and this can be done through decentralization policies and practices.
This can be considered another expansion on the concepts of localization and evaluation.

Localization encourages people to organize and collect their demands at the local level and
strengthens their position against other interests. It is also consistent with the nesting concept of
communities, fostering the development of policy links between the levels of governance and
recognizing the importance of delegate discretion. Localization is important because it
contributes to good governance and empowers local stakeholders, which leads to success with
human development and poverty alleviation efforts.

Localization is important for improvement of evaluation systems and the attainment of
aggregate development goals. The importance of localizing evaluation has been recognized,
most notably in the case of Nepal and Bohol, Philippines, and measures are being taken to
incorporate the local level in the evaluation process. Although the reform toward localization is
underway, there are still doubts and hesitations in its implementation. However, through
trainings like the one that officials from Nepal are involved in and pilot localization projects, like
the one in Bohol, Philippines, effective localization of evaluation can be achieved and
improvements in the evaluation system can be seen.

The implementation of localized evaluation is pivotal to the implementation of a fully
functioning evaluation system that is incorporated into a complete policy management cycle, a
productive atmosphere of evaluation (evaluation culture), and appropriate policy structure and
organizational infrastructure. By localizing evaluation, local administrations build evaluation
capacity through the process of evaluation, which, in turn, also promotes ownership of
development projects and provides voice for local stakeholders, as well as increase the amount of
transparency, responsibility, and accountability in all levels of the policy structure, which are
some of the primary objectives of evaluation. The localization of evaluation is truly a key
component for the success of projects and ultimately national policy and its impact on the
evaluation process should not be downplayed or overlooked.

The major issues with evaluation in developing countries described here are:
1. the need to build evaluation capacity;
2. the necessity of continuity in the policy management cycle through incorporating

evaluation;
3. the development of a culture of evaluation;
4. the need for coordination and involvement of all stakeholders, particularly local

stakeholders, in evaluation; and
5. the creation of legal and organizational structures for evaluation.

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These issues are cited as the major constraints to the progress of evaluation in developing
countries and their continued impact is seen in the failure of many human development
initiatives and stunted efforts in poverty alleviation. These issues can be addressed through
improvements in the way that evaluation is being approached and implemented. This work
suggests some progressive approaches to evaluation in response to the issues such as: a) assetbased
assessment, b) qualitative evaluation, c) participatory evaluation, and d) concept-driven
evaluation. These types of evaluation contribute to better governance and benefit communities
more than traditional approaches to evaluation. Furthermore, they address some of the issues
with evaluation, particularly building evaluation capacity, continuity in the policy management
cycle, developing a culture of evaluation, and bringing stakeholders into the process. Legal
frameworks and organizational structures are not necessarily addressed in work, but could be
facilitated by the adoption of these evaluation approaches.

2. Contribution of New Methods

This work has facilitated the creation of two new types of non-traditional participatory
evaluation, participatory photo evaluation (PPE) and participatory video evaluation (PVE). The
use of PPE or PVE fulfills the call from academics and practitioners that evaluation be useful and
provides voice to local stakeholders, render viable and accurate and practical information, and
emphasize outcomes and the process of evaluation. These methodologies sprung from the quest
to assess community capacity through the newly developed A-A-A framework and the desire to
explore truly participatory research and evaluation techniques.

PPE and PVE combine the concepts found in traditional evaluation, participatory evaluation,
and concept-driven evaluation with methods of qualitative and action research. The benefits of
these hybrid methods are wide ranging, encompassing both administrative and community
development functions. By looking at the trial cases of PPE and PVE that were conducted in
Pagudpud, Philippines, it can be seen that action research can be incorporated into participatory
evaluation and that using non-traditional media, such as photography and video, is an interesting
and useful method of data collection, as well as an activity that a group can coalesce around.
Designing a dual evaluation/development project using PPE or PVE provides a unique
opportunity for community members to engage in a proactive dialogue that will inspire greater
participation, as well as being a practical administrative tool.

3. Future Research and Final Thoughts

The concept of community capacity is far from being refined and while the A-A-A
framework provides a practical starting point for the incorporation of community capacity into
policy considerations it is still far from being a universal framework. At the very least, the A-A-
A provides an easily understood framework and diagram that can be contextualized and used by
local stakeholders once there is ownership and understanding among them. There is still a need
for more research and broader understanding of the concept of community capacity and the links
between social capital and human development.

Community-driven economics and community leaders are two concepts that are introduced
in this work in response to the problems of human development and poverty alleviation. Since
this is one of the first conceptualizations of community-driven economics and community

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leadership, there is a need for further research into their parameters and implications, as well as
their uses and incarnations.

While there is much potential for the methods PPE and PVE, there is still a need for further
refinement and research on their implementation and their other potential benefits and
drawbacks. This work is the first to advocate on a practical level for the use of non-traditional
media in truly participatory evaluations. Typically evaluation is held in the realm of
administration and photography and film is held in the realm of the arts, both with little
understanding of the other. However, through the trial cases, the benefits of both evaluation and
non-traditional media as an administrative and community capacity building tool can be seen.
Through further research into these methods, broader understanding of their benefits and the
experience of their use will be uncovered.

Our globalized world can no longer remain blissfully ignorant. We must be aware of the
situations that exist in our international community and our impact or potential impact on them.
Poverty can no longer be seen as ‘their’ problem because, inevitably, it will at some point affect
‘us.’ While we cannot go out and change the lives of all people directly, we can ensure that
those who are engaging in human development, poverty alleviation, and local policy creation are
doing so with an arsenal of tools that will truly affect change and benefit the quality of lives that
we all want to live.

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