The Global ARC is helping communities use science and technology to address their concerns. The Global ARC creates demonstration models that display how science and technology, contributed by universities, can be brought to bear to address neighborhood challenges identified and defined by residents experiencing those challenges.
These models become living laboratories for building healthy communities. In order to build these models, all residents must have an active voice in the decision making that impacts their lives. Therefore the Global ARC assists various segments of the community, whose voices are not included in decision making processes, to become organized and actively engaged.
- Participatory Action Research (PAR): A powerful tool for articulating an issue and building/strengthening leadership. In some cases, we work with the staff of the organization to train them on how to conduct a PAR and consult with them as they take their members through the process. In other cases we work directly with members of the organization to conduct the PAR.
- Participatory Narrative Development: Developing a narrative involves working with the staff and leadership of an organization to reflect on and tell the story of a campaign, a victory, etc. This narrative also becomes the basis for extracting lessons learned from the experience so they can inform future campaigns.
- Participatory Community Assessment: We do not do “Needs Assessments.” Our approach is to work with constituents to develop a process for assessing what their community needs, wants and is willing to contribute and then working with them to begin to use that assessment to guide any actions they may take in the future.
- Program Evaluation/Appreciative Inquiry: Our approach to evaluation is significantly different from the traditional approach. We work with organizations to integrate assessment-monitoring into their work in a way that is minimally intrusive, supports the group by reporting on its progress, and extracts lessons that are fed back into the group in a timely and useful manner. We also see evaluations a tools in an organization’s campaign and work with organizations to assist them in integrating the findings into their campaign.
- Popular Education: We see community engagement as an act of trust that, particularly when working in disenfranchised communities, begins with a conversation. A conversation that is intentional in its attempt to bring the person into the public dialogue by making the connection between the person and the issue and giving light to ways in which s/he can become engaged. If this conversation is being held with someone the person knows and trusts, the likelihood of them entering the public dialogue increases significantly. We work with organizations, using a Popular (People’s) Education approach to develop their capacity to build a network of trusted associates who then have these conversations with their family, friends, neighbors, etc.
- Developing Learning Organizations: A learning organization is an organization that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself. Becoming a learning organization requires intentionality and planning. We work with organizations to develop their capacity to become learning organizations through organizational and leadership development, strategic planning, program planning, managing change, etc.
- Demonstration Projects: Often the best way to sell an idea is to create a demonstration of how that idea would look in practice. We seek and support opportunities to create successful projects that demonstrate the value of Authentic Demand. We presently manage a 2,700 square foot plot of land that is being developed as a neighborhood garden and learning-research center that can bring the latest science in agriculture to the community.
- Link Communities to University-Based Resources: Communities and universities are each vast sources of knowledge and each has much to offer the other. However, the gulf between the two makes it difficult to build meaningful and authentically reciprocal relationships. We act as facilitators in the development and maintenance of mutually rewarding partnerships addressing current challenges to community well-being.