In order for advocacy for change to be effective, key institutions and individuals have to be engaged in policy making, information sharing, fund raising, and implementation processes (Cohen, 2003). Nonprofits and foundations rely greatly on advocacy for change. For a great deal of good to be realized, a community of practice has to be formed (Cohen, 2003). A community of practice refers to a group of people that engages in processes of collaborative learning within a shared human endeavor domain (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2015). The best example is a group of engineers who are engaged on solving similar problems. It could also be a group of surgeons who come together and network and explore new techniques of performing surgeries (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2015). In coming together, there is seeking of experience, problem solving, information requests, asset reuse, growing arguments, developing discussions on given subjects, and definitely, documentation of projects (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2015). Also, a key aspect of a community of practice is the mapping of knowledge as well as identification of gaps. My community of practice involves advocacy for social change; which aims at creating awareness in communities on matters environmental conservation, peace, security and climate change. Through my community of practice that will comprise organizations and individuals, who will assist me through experience sharing, identification of good practice, raising of questions, addressing of common challenges, and definitely, how to seize opportunities.
A person’s development is affected by everything that exists in their surrounding environment. This is the ecological systems theory coined by Bronfenbrenner (Helm, 2007). Accordingly, a community of practice is supposed to provide the best influence and consequently, the best support system for the advocacy of change that I would like to push for. According to Bronfenbrenner, a person’s environment is divided into the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, chronosystem and the macrosystem. The microsystem is that which is closest to the person. Examples being work, school, and home. These, therefore, comprise the family, the peers, and caregivers (Winer & Ray, 1994). With this in mind, therefore, the most affected people who this challenge are supposed to assist are communities in places where there is rampant insecurity, areas where nature’s wrath has been felt through natural disasters caused by global warming, and residents of communities affected by water and air pollution. Thus, my community of practice will comprise researchers, social change advocates, funders, advisors, collaborators who will all provide information about environmental conservation, dealing with pollution, and insecurity among various communities in the state.
The aim of this ideal Community of Practice is responsive philanthropy. Thus, institutions to be involved include the Institute for Food and Development Policy, Community Service Society, as well as many other nonprofits and foundations. The goal is the achievement of economic and social justice for everyone in our community and nation. Research will be done by staff members who will be chosen based on merit. Power brokers will be influential government as well as private sector officials. As far as resource provision is concerned, nonprofits and foundations can be effective; but if the corporate, as well as, government sectors are engaged, the advocacy resources will be massive. The organizations to coordinate this challenge will be the Gates Foundation and the Research Centre for International Development. InterAction (www.interaction.org) will be my core collaborators in the Community of Practice.
The community of practice will be involved in the establishment of common information exchange. Webinars as well as informal gatherings will be organized to identify passion-drivers who have to be knowledgeable about the issues of social change to be tackled. One of these groups will be the CSGV – Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
- Cohen, R. (2003). Advocacy for Social Change in Metropolitan Washington. Washington: National Committe for Responsive Philanthropy.
- Helm, J. (2007). Building communities of practice. YC: Young Children, 12-16.
- Wenger-Trayner, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Introduction to Communities of Practice. Retrieved from Wenger-Trayner: http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/
- Winer, M., & Ray, K. (1994). Collaboration Handbook: Creating, Sustaining, and Enjoying the Journey. St. Paul, MN: Fieldstone Alliance.