Assessing Community Readiness & Implementing Risk Reduction Strategies – Manual
Purpose of Guide
The guide integrates CAAN’s key tools and resources into the community readiness model, providing a user friendly, step-by-step Training of Trainers Guide for Aboriginal communities to:
- -Assess their community’s readiness to address risk reduction;
- -Determine culturally appropriate prevention and intervention approaches;
- -Implement the approaches to effectively reduce risk and reduce vulnerability for HIV infection; and
- -Provide wise practices that demonstrate successful application of the community readiness model for risk reduction and features various case studies outlining lessons learned.
What is a community readiness assessment?
It is a model for community change that integrates the community’s culture, resources and level of readiness to more effectively address an issue. It brings the community together, builds cooperation and increases its capacity for prevention and intervention. Readiness is “the degree to which a community is prepared to take action on an issue”.
For the purposes of this guide, the issue is risk reduction. A community readiness assessment will provide you with flexible tools to measure how ready your community is to determine risk reduction approaches and address HIV and HCV prevention. Knowing where your community is at before attempting to implement a risk reduction strategy will give you an appropriate starting point.
Community readiness is a concept that recognizes that Aboriginal communities cannot be forced into addressing issues but must be prepared physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It takes into account the broader realities that can make readiness challenging such as colonization, intergenerational trauma, family violence, racism, coping mechanisms (i.e. substance abuse, silence) and shame. Likewise, communities have their unique strengths and resources that can be assessed and included in a strategy such as traditional beliefs and the wisdom of Elders. A community readiness assessment can also bring to light and honour the work that is already being done.
An assessment will help your community scope out the problem and define it in your own community’s context, help the community take ownership of the problem and
increase the community’s capacity to move forward. Best of all, the benefits outweigh the costs; conducting the assessment is straight forward and not resource heavy or
We would like to thank the Colorado State University TriEthnic Centre for allowing CAAN to adapt their Community Readiness Assessment Model so that Aboriginal individuals and groups in Canada can use it to assess how ready their communities are to address risk reduction. We would also like to thank the communities that participated in the Walk with Me pilot projects for sharing their experiences.