Measuring success

Measuring success is always a problem with the “soft” stuff of Community Development. You can count buildings built, questionnaires filled in, jobs created, community volunteers volunteering etc. And you even begin to record outcomes like “people feel a sense of belonging” or “people think they have more chance of getting a job”, though this does miss the content and meaning to the people themselves. But Community Development needs to be seen at greater depth than all this, and also at greater breadth (in terms of facets of life and community) and greater length (over time): all together.

It may be possible to track measurable outputs and outcomes over time and over larger parts of community life, IF you can get funding for constant information gathering and sharing across a community.

But even then, I think you’d miss the real success of the journey. Might old fashioned story-telling have a part to play in this? Or maybe you’d only get this by being part of it.

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