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Empowered Communities research

Last year the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) in partnership with Local Trust embarked on their ‘Empowered Communities in the 2020s: shaping the future of community development’ research project. Sarah Williams, Head of Programmes and Partnerships at Think Global, was interviewed as part of the research in the summer of 2017 and we thought it would be interesting to share the findings with our network. If you haven’t seen them already IVAR have recently published two interim reports to provide a snapshot of the research findings so far.

  • The Issues report explores what motivates people to get involved in their communities, what it takes for communities to become more powerful and if community development is still relevant.
  • The Countries report presents findings from fieldwork in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with a focus on the differences between each country in terms of what conditions can support powerful communities in the future and where the challenges remain.

You can view both reports here, as well as other materials and updates from the project to date.

How is this relevant to global learning?

Whilst not all of this is directly relevant to our work there are some particularly useful sections for Think Global and the global learning network:

  • The section on what motivates people in The Issues report is both useful in our work encouraging action and for how we might work collectively as a network.
  • There is an interesting section in The Issues report on learning about political and economic power which is relevant to our education work.
  • The 4 nations context described in The Countries report could be useful in our work with sister organisations or useful for future Global Learning Programme (GLP).

The work of Local Trust and the follow-up work from this report could be interesting in the context of the global learning mapping work we are currently developing.

What next for Empowered Communities?

  • The IVAR team will be carrying out fieldwork in four places – Rotherham, Merthyr Tydfil, East Cleveland Villages and Milton Keynes – talking with local people about what’s needed to help build stronger communities.
  • The Empowered Communities in the 2020s final report will be published in the summer.

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