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Table 2 A social capital approach in practice

From: Enabling pathways to health equity: developing a framework for implementing social capital in practice

For policy & decision makers For local practitioners For communities & individuals
Policies and frameworks guide and enable effective practice at the community level Skilled and well-supported community workers facilitate community development and local initiatives Individuals and groups in communities develop strong networks of mutual support and social action and gain economic and other resources as a result
Long term vision & commitment
• Focus on social and economic sustainability despite demands of short term political agendas • Base initiatives on analysis of changing needs and developmental approaches • Experience long term changes with positive impacts on health and wellbeing
• Endorse community capacity building and development as valued strategy across government • Develop strategies for meaningful change rather than ‘quick fix’ with superficial impact • People in communities are part of the solution instead of being seen as part of the problem
• Invest in the future through planned on-going programs rather than short term ‘projectism’ • Link small and manageable local initiatives into coherent programs through coordinated planning • See lasting positive changes occur through public funding
• Explicit policy statements on health equity • Community people come to recognize that meaningful change can happen
Sectors working together
• High level endorsement of importance of collaboration • Pool resources to achieve better outcomes through effective and efficient collaboration • Services and initiatives are better able to respond to people’s daily lives with consistency and coherence
• Integrate programs across sectors to avoid the ‘silo’ effect • Underpin projects and programs with long-term social & economic goals as well as short term milestones • Economic objectives support the achievement of equity and population health
• All sectors committed to social& health equity • Reward workers for working together to generate more effective ideas and share resources • Provision of support services such as transport and childcare improves access to services
• Make collaborative and cooperative ventures standard practice
Building effective relationships
• Provide incentives for programs and funding frameworks for community building and participatory approaches • Engage local people in developing positive strategies as a priority • Local people have good reason to become involved and stay engaged
• Support resources and training to develop healthy and long term relationships • Take time and care to ensure that involvement is democratic and relationships are respectful • Relationships are built on trust and respect for others’ roles and contributions
• Make workers feel supported and rewarded for taking on the complex and demanding work of community development • People have access to a variety of helpful support networks and social relationships (bonding, bridging & linking social capital)
• Attract and retain experienced and skilled staff to community development projects
Generating knowledge about what works
• Learn about complex models of change from national and international experience • Design projects using what is known about models of effective practice • Best use of available time and resources
• Provide support and resources for monitoring and evaluating change as it occurs • Ensure skills and resources are available to assist in gathering information about what works and why in the local context • Evaluation is directed towards learning and improving and based on an understanding of complex models of change
• Respect different kinds of knowledge and expertise • Collect valuable knowledge at the local level from workers and community members and use it to improve practice • People feel valued and able to work as partners in developing ideas and strategies for improving health and reducing inequities