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Community Organizing Participatory Action Research (COPAR) As a Tool for Development Definition: 1.

COPAR is a collective, participatory, transformative, liberative, sustained and systematic process of building people’s organizations by mobilizing and enhancing the capabilities and resources of the people for the resolution of their issues and concerns towards effective change in their existing oppressive and exploitative conditions (1994 National Rural CO Conference). 2. A process by which a community identifies its needs and objectives, develops confidence to take action in respect to them and in doing so, extends and develops cooperative and collaborative attitudes and practices in the community. 3. A continuous and sustained process of educating the people to understand and develop their critical awareness of their existing conditions, working with the people collectively and efficiently on their immediate needs toward solving their long-term problems IMPORTANCE OF COPAR COPAR is an important tool for community development and people empowerment as this helps the community worker to generate community participation in development activities. COPAR prepares people to eventually take over the management of a development program(s) in the future. COPAR maximizes community participation and involvement; community resources are mobilized for health development services. PRINCIPLES OF COPAR 1. People, especially the most oppressed, exploited and deprived sectors are open to change, have the capacity to change and are able to bring about change. 2. COPAR should be based on the interests of the poorest sectors of society. 3. COPAR should lead to a self-reliant community. PROCESSES/METHODS USED IN COPAR A PROGRESSIVE CYCLE OF ACTION-REFLECTION-ACTION which begin with small, local and concrete issues identified by the people and the evaluation and reflection of and on the action taken by them.

etc. history. rhythms and lifestyle in the community. water wells. TENTATIVE PROGRAM PLANNING. 3.CO to choose one issue to work in order to begin organizing the people. COPAR is GROUP-CENTERED and not leader-centered. immerse himself/herself in the community b. a systematic process of collecting. conversing with the people where they usually gather such as in stores. SOCIAL INVESTIGATION – community study. Methods of integration include: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ participation in direct production activities of the people conduct house-to-house visits participation in activities like birthdays. etc. analyzing data to draw a clear picture of the community. COPAR is PARTICIPATORY AND MASS-BASED because it is primarily directed towards and based in favor of the poor. or in churchyards ♦ helping out in household chores like cooking. 2. CRITICAL STEPS (ACTIVITIES) IN COPAR 1. emerge and are tested through action rather than appointed or selected by some external force or entity. fiestas.CONSCIOUSNESS-RAISING through experiential learning is central to the COPAR process because it places emphasis on learning that emerges from concrete action and which encircles succeeding action. washing streams.. leaders. . INTEGRATION – health worker becomes one with the people a. Leaders are identified. economy. washing dishes. collating. understand deeply the culture. wakes. Health Worker must remember the following during social investigation: ♦ Use of survey questionnaires is discouraged ♦ Community leaders can be trained to initially assist the community workers in doing social investigation ♦ Secondary data should be thoroughly examined because much of the information might already be available ♦ Social investigation is facilitated if the health worker is properly integrated and has acquired the trust of the people ♦ Confirmation and validation of community should be done regularly. the powerless and the oppressed.

actual experience of the people in confronting the powerful and the actual exercise of people power. 7. 9. 6. 1. THE MEETING – people collectively ratify what they have already decided individual. ROLE PLAY – acting out and meeting that will take place between the leaders of the people and the government representatives. REFLECTION – dealing with deeper. ORGANIZATION – results of many successive and many similar action of the people. PHASES OF THE COPAR PROCESS A. ongoing concerns to look at the positive values CO is trying to build in the organization. PREPARATORY PHASE. 8. 5. MOBILIZATION OR ACTION . Problems and issues are discussed. The meeting gives the people the collective power and confidence. GROUNDWORK – going around and motivating the people on a one on one basis to do something on the issue that has been chosen. the following questions must be answered: ♦ Is the community in need of assistance? ♦ Does the community members feel the need to work together to overcome a specific health problems? ♦ Are there concerned groups and organizations that the nurse can possibly work with? ♦ What will be the counterpart of the community in terms community support commitment and human resources/ 2.4. The activities in the preparatory phase include area selection. EVALUATION –the people reviewing the steps 1-7 so as to determine whether they were successfully or not in their objectives. It is a way of training the people to anticipate what will happen and prepare them for such eventuality. Community profiling . 10. It gives the people time to reflect on the reality of life compared to the ideal. community profiling. Area selection To guide the nurse in choosing and prioritizing areas for community health development. entry in the community and integration with the people. set-up with elected officers and supporting members.

ORGANIZATIONAL PHASE. Core group formation – consist of identified potential leaders who will be tasked with lying down the foundation of the strong people’s organization. ECUCATION AND TRAINING PHASE. community and health-related services and facilities ♦ It will serve as initial database of the community and provide the basis for planning and programming of organizing activities. Setting up the community organization –this will facilitate wider participation of and collective action on community problem C. Spotting and developing potential leaders – providing them opportunities that will demonstrate their potential as leaders can test their commitment to the community’s well-being. ♦ Avoid raising expectations of the people. The nurse must consciously provide learning experiences that will prepare them as future leaders of the community. The purpose of this is to strengthen the organization and develop its capability to attend to the community’s basic health care needs. Entry in the community and integration with the people Guidelines in conducting integration work: ♦ Recognize the role and position of local authorities ♦ Adapt a lifestyle in keeping with that of the community ♦ Choose a modest dwelling which the people. 3. The organizational phase consists of activities leading to the formation of a people’s organization. Be clear with your objectives and limitations ♦ Participate directly in production process ♦ Make house calls and seek out people where they usually gather ♦ Participate in some social activities B. 3. Social preparation – the nurse deepens and strengthens her ties with people 2. especially the economically disadvantaged will not hesitate to enter. ♦ It can also help determine the appropriate approach and method of organizing specific to the population group or sectors that will be organized. 1.♦ community profiles provides an overview of demographic characteristics. . The core group serves as a training ground for developing the potential leaders in: ♦ Democratic and collective leadership ♦ Planning and assuming tasks for the formation of a community-wide organization ♦ Handling and resolving group conflicts ♦ Critical thinking and decision making process 4.

Conducting community diagnosis Training of Community Health Workers Health Services and mobilization Leadership-Formation activities D. 2. PHASE OUT – the phase when the health care workers leave the community to stand alone.1. agencies and other key people to articulate the community’s need for support and assistance. INTERSECTORAL COLLABORATION PHASE – the nurse facilities and coordinate with institutions. This phase should be stated during the entry phase so that the people will be ready for this phase. . E. 4. 3.