Getting Involved in Mississippi Community Empowerment Efforts

Learn how individuals and organizations can get involved in Mississippi's community empowerment efforts. Understand how Community Economic Development (CED) works, how Community-based participatory research (CBPR) can help address health disparities, how training c

Getting Involved in Mississippi Community Empowerment Efforts

Community Economic Development (CED) is a vital process for any community, regardless of size or location. In the current globalized and digital era, it is essential to understand the factors that influence CED. When properly implemented, CED has the potential to help communities remain competitive and adapt to a complex and ever-changing environment.

Community-based participatory research (CBPR)

is a promising strategy for addressing health disparities.

It encourages community-specific and culturally appropriate responses that take into account the diversity of subgroups. A key component of CBPR is to build community capacity and foster joint learning. For this, community organizations (CBOs) must be equipped with the language of research and the skills necessary to participate in the research discourse. Training and education are important tools for developing research capacity, which will allow CBOs to better advocate for and improve the health of their communities.

The Community Advisory Board for Community Participation and Population Health Research is composed of 19 community leaders who represent a wide range of racial and ethnic backgrounds from government, healthcare, social services, and community organizations. Research conducted by or in collaboration with communities is likely to be more meaningful and will lead to findings that can inform practice and have an immediate impact on community health. These functions range from economy (providing goods and services) to socialization (transmitting knowledge, values, and behavioral patterns) to social control (influencing behavior to conform to norms), social participation (allowing residents to participate in their communities), and mutual support (providing help in times of need). The Mississippi Community Merit Program and the expansion of Chambers of Commerce are examples of positive local responses that have recently taken place.

There are some strong communities in Mississippi that have seen a revival of the community development movement. Arts industry organizations strive to enrich the lives of their audiences through entertainment and learning about themselves and others, broadening the role that the arts play in Mississippi communities. However, focusing only on vertical links can compromise the autonomy of the community, relying too heavily on external organizations for progress. We can draw some general principles of community organization from successful programs and from the logical framework through which a strong community is recognized.

After-school programs for at-risk youth, public artworks to revitalize city centers, or music festivals that bring together diverse audiences are all examples of successful arts-based community development programs that use community-driven planning and the power of the arts to create stronger communities. Community development is about people planning to change a specific situation in their communities. A paradigm is needed that integrates the role and value of community participation as a cornerstone for addressing health problems faced by communities. In Mississippi, an overwhelming proportion of the population lives in urban and rural commercial areas.

Lionel Wright
Lionel Wright

Amateur twitter evangelist. Hardcore beer guru. Avid food trailblazer. Amateur bacon aficionado. Incurable web guru. Award-winning twitter aficionado.

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