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Building Block 9: Determine Responsibilities for Community Development

This last component is about who takes responsibility for community development and how. Different models are conceivable here, depending on the context, organisation and culture. As discussed above, however, responsibility for this approach should not only be linked to individual functions or hierarchical levels, but should be balanced as a mixture of top-down and bottom-up responsibility. A lively community is characterised by the fact that as many actors and groups of actors as possible take on community development tasks. In this respect, it is desirable that all groups of actors familiarise themselves with the community development approach. It is very beneficial if the management level is convinced of the approach and is prepared to facilitate useful structures and to moderate community development as a participation and communication process with all relevant groups of actors. A "Chief Community Officer" at board level is also conceivable. However, the approach could also be taken from the bottom up by a particular group of actors in the context, so that the work of persuasion and mediation is initiated from there. Regardless of where the initiative comes from, it is crucial that this initiative is taken up by other groups of actors and that it results in a continuous participation and communication process within the community.

In any case, to establish community development in context, it can be helpful to create a role or team with a kick-off function

  • to promote the approach in context and train groups of actors accordingly,
  • to design and initiate a participation and communication process of community development,
  • to develop a strategy on how to delegate community development tasks to stakeholder groups,
  • to describe development needs for the task area in a medium and long-term perspective,
  • to ensure on an ongoing basis that community development is tracked and maintained over the long term, and
  • to start prototypical projects and impulse-giving activities of community development.

For the "start-up team", it is important at the beginning

  • to define the team's scope of responsibility and resources in its starting lineup,
  • to develop their own understanding of the field of community development,
  • to realise the individual and collective role finding as a team, and
  • to form an identity and trust within the context.


For the ACCESS context, the following questions arise:

  • How are the (sub-)cultures of the ACCESS context shaped and what are the facilitating and hindering factors for the necessary continuous communication and participation process?
  • How can planned community development tasks be transferred to as many actors and groups of actors as possible in the ACCESS context?
  • In what ways can the community development approach be disseminated in the ACCESS context?
  • How can management levels be brought on board in the ACCESS context and what supportive structures can they facilitate?
  • Which groups of actors in the ACCESS context could be particularly enthusiastic about this approach?
  • How can a community development role or team be created in the ACCESS context in the near future? How should this ideally be staffed?
  • Which roles in the ACCESS context have a high affinity with the community development tasks outlined? How could they be integrated into the start-up team or how could synergies be created?