Tool: Building Collaborative Readiness: Mapping Community Resources

Tamarack Institute
A frequent refrain amongst humanitarian actors is the limited time and financial resources available to support their work. This resource from the Tamarack Institute (drawing on the work of the Ontario Health Communities Coalition) highlights how communities have a range of investments, assets and resources, which can be tapped to support collaborative efforts to achieve collective results. Building from Kretzmann and McKnight’s work to transform traditional thinking and assumptions around low-income neighborhoods as places of problems and deficits to places of existing assets, the Ontario Health Communities Coalition (OHCC) has developed a tool for communities to map community assets.

Their tool lays out 5-steps to map community assets:

1.       Map individual capacity by identifying resources available in the community such as skills, historical knowledge, physical structures, natural resources, interests, and connections between people;

2.       Create an inventory of groups and organizations that work in or support the community. Mindful of the diverse range of actors and capabilities needed to solving complex problems, the inventory should be broad to capture resources that may be coming from the voluntary sector, faith community, private business, and others;

3.       Create the community map and identifying the problem that you are trying to solve;

4.       Use the mapped community assets to address challenges and needs;

5.       Strengthen existing relationships and identify potential new partnerships.

The community assets map can be useful for continuous analysis of the vulnerabilities, threats, and capacities within the community to track positive and negative changes over time. It can also serve as a participatory method to engage affected populations throughout the design and implementation of interventions to respond to identified threats and vulnerabilities, and thereby strengthen trust and relationships between communities and external actors. Furthermore, it may serve as an effective advocacy tool to effect changes in the community at a policy-level.

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