OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Exploration of the Community’s Power.

Empowerment is what the community needs for its betterment.

Photo of Emerimana Daniel Christian
4 1

Written by

All over the world, there are people who need to be empowered financially. Identifying these people is very difficult, as they are submerged in a flood of other people, but possible. They can be tracked down through the use of the power of the community. Therefore, this paper discusses how the power of community might be used in order to financially empower people who need it. The paper highlights three steps that can be followed in the process of identifying the people who deserve to be financially assisted; the steps that include locating the community, brainstorming with the community, and make decisions accordingly to the brainstorming results.

Image title
In this picture, I was with standard 7 or grade 7 pupils when I was collecting stories on how can we use the power of communities to empower those who need it most.

All communities are powerful in terms of assisting a person to identify people who need to be financially empowered. Yet, in order to empower those who real need to be financially empowered, a person would be careful when choosing the community whose power he or she might use. The person would keep in mind that the community power might be influenced by the location. For example, the views about a needy person in United States are different from the views of a needy person in Kenya. So, it is advisable for the funder to take time and know where to start. He or she had to make a research and find out the poor communities. Such an end can also be reached by using common sense. For instance refugees or displaced people are normally in most cases vulnerable people. Though vulnerable, among them are those who are talented and have well set minds. Talking to this young people in the above picture; it was a real experience on how talented people are though their inability to show up their talents.

After location of the community to interact with, a person has to explore the power of this community. The best way to explore the power of a certain community is to engage in brainstorming sessions with some of the community members. Refugees United Organization, which is one of the international organizations that operate in Kakuma Refugee Camp here in Kenya, applied the question-answer technique to find out what service refugees need which is not provided in the camp. Many people suggested ideas about keeping their documents, involving the documents they get from UNHCR and the government of Kenya. The organization came up with a project that it called M-Health. It concerns keeping documents online so that when a refugee loses this or that original document, it can still be possible to download a copy from his M-Health file. So, a funder can also use the technique, during brainstorming sessions, to get people who real need to be financially empowered.

As discussed in the paragraph above, exploring the power of the community, through brainstorming, leads to the identification of the people who merit to get empowered financially and how they would get empowered for the betterment of the community. The decision to empower the people rests with the funder. Therefore, the last step in terms of using the community power to empower people who need it most concerns making decisions accordingly to the result of the brainstorming. Getting the identified people would be the first decision. When the people are met, they would be asked to present their action plans. If their actions plans are found admirable, the financially needy people can then be provided with the empowerment in question.

To conclude, in order to use the power of the community to financially empower people who need it most, a person would explore the power of a chosen community. He or she would brainstorm with members of that community and ask them to show people in their community who need to get empowered financially and why they think the people need to. Their discussion would be well planned and happen through the application of the question-answer technique.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Tina Mao

Hi Daniel, I totally agree with what you are saying here. In order to help a community to improve, it's not just a matter of financial assistance. It's also about utilizing the strengths of the community and improve the community as a whole. Even if there is financial backup, it cannot be guaranteed that a community can get better. And if it does, it is still limited if there is no leadership and no organization to help guide them in the right direction. Furthermore, the needs of every community is different. So you like you said, before providing financial assistance to a community, one must first understand the needs of the community and the resources they already bring to the table. From there, those elements can be leveraged by using financial means to help improve the community. Thank you for bringing awareness to this issue.

View all comments