Community capacity building: fostering economic and social resilience


1. Community capacity building (CCB) focuses on enabling all members of the community, including the poorest and the most disadvantaged, to develop skills and competencies so as to take greater control of their own lives and also contributes to inclusive local development. Not only can communities be more cohesive but they can also be more resilient and better placed to confront economic and social challenges. Meaningful and effective community capacity building can be stimulated and fostered by national and local governments, and by the capacity which communities have already developed, so that power becomes increasingly embedded within them.

2. CCB has developed as a concept because of the need for strategies to address major social and economic decline in towns, cities and regions experiencing significant economic change and the consequences of deep-seated and long term worklessness and benefits dependency.

3. Following the OECD study on Community Capacity Building (presented and approved at the 52nd LEED Directing Committee and published in 2009 as Community Capacity Building: Creating a Better Future Together), further ideas are presented here as to how to extend and embed its analysis into a broader programme of work.

4. This document presents, in detail, a project of work on ‘Community Capacity Building: Fostering Economic and Social Resilience’, its methodology, objectives and outputs. The specific focus of the project is to enhance local and national governments’ capacity to design and implement strategies to build, rebuild and sustain community capacity – especially in deprived communities and in towns, cities and regions suffering from economic decline, worklessness and benefits dependency. To this end the project will identify the current approaches to CCB, the obstacles to designing effective CCB strategies, together with the drivers to more effective empowerment at local level. Emphasis will also be put on the skills and institutions needed in a community to actively build or rebuild local social and economic life. Recommendations will be developed and international examples of good practice (‘learning models’) will be provided.

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