We want to share some guidelines and lessons that we’ve learned through what is required to engage your community. These are some of the steps we followed to ensure beneficial community engagement:

– Identify Context and Purpose for engagement
– Identify Community Space for engagement
– Identify strong community stakeholders who are well respected and active in the community
NB: Engagement activities should not be burden to community

– Planning with Key Stakeholders
* Plan engagement activities with Community Members you already know
* Plan engagement activities with Community Members you don’t know
– Prioritize engagement activities
– Identify roles of stakeholders in Community Engagement
– Create your engagement Implementation Plan

– Involve key community stakeholders from the offset
– Build Relationships
* DO NOT make promises
– Establish Community Champions
– Communication mechanisms to enhance engagement
– Align with Community (Stakeholders’) Vision and Mission

– Divide engagement activities in subsections
– Engagement with community becomes part of community activities
Monitor Progress of engagement
Maintain relationships with community and its members
– Transfer of responsibilities to Community champions

– Establish Community Co-champions who are identified and mentored by Champions
– Continuous monitoring of progress
– Strengthen relationships with community and its members
– Engagement activities objectives/goals measured and assessed
– Future engagement objectives identified

Using the above steps (iterative steps) proved to be helpful in establishing the community engagement and the Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs). We trust that this could also be useful to you when establishing relationships in communities in tension for ICT development.

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