Important Considerations for Engaging with Communities

1. The capacity and ability for different actors and rights holders to participate.

Does the use of technology exclude certain people from engagement activities? For example, it is important to consider whether the group or community you are engaging with has reliable access to technology and online internet services. Before you begin any community engagement work, take some time to consider:
  • Remote communities
  • Marginalized groups
  • Rights holder groups
  • Cultural considerations for using technology

2. The knowledge or skills to efficiently use technology

Additionally, some groups may be harder to reach, or not have the knowledge or skills to efficiently use technology (e.g., certain age demographics). Unclear communication via technology can lead to misunderstandings between those engaged in a project.

3. Digital safety and critical thinking is NECESSARY

Technology can be a powerful tool, but it also comes with some risks.

  • It is important stay vigilant about protecting your privacy, and keeping personal information limited and professional.
  • Although technology is a useful tool for spreading awareness or information, there is just as much likelihood that misinformation is posted about online as well. You should always consider the validity and credibility of information that you are viewing, using, or promoting. When looking at information from a study online you might ask yourself ‘who funded this study?’, ‘how long was the study?’, ‘who were the participants?’, and so on.

In reflecting on these considerations, you can revisit Module 1 Lesson 3: Who is involved with community engagement?

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Building Sustainable Communities: Creating Connections for the Future by Ryan Plummer; Amanda Smits; Samantha Witkowski; Bridget McGlynn; Derek Armitage; Ella-Kari Muhl; and Jodi Johnston is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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