Everyone Has Something To Contribute, We Just Have To Find Ways Of Listening.

GLOBAL COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT DAY 2022

People want to be part of a community. It’s human nature. Being part of something enforces that we are  we are included, accepted and understood.

January 28th is Global Community Engagement Day. The day celebrates what is it to be a community and encourage organisations, individuals, and businesses to better engage with their community. It’s a reminder to us all how vital it is to seek feedback, and give everyone a voice before decision making. Everyone has something to say, it’s about finding ways to listen.

Community engagement is a conversation. When you let everyone have a say, the results are better, fairer and the community is more likely to accept change. Encouraging public participation means business and organisations understand their communities better, it empowers decision making and holds decision-makers accountable. Best of all, the community knows their input was considered and therefore have a greater sense of ownership.

Community engagement means providing opportunities for ALL voices – regardless of race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, sex, disability, faith or culture. It’s particularly important to marginalised groups such as LGBTQI, seniors and CALD communities.

The first Global Community Engagement Day was held in 2018. The day is the brain child of Australia’s very own Andrew Coulson, a former board member of Engage 2 Act, a not-for-profit organisation committed to progressing the practice of community engagement across the globe. Andrew recognised that practically everything else had a commemoration day, even doughnuts, so why not community engagement? Didn’t it deserve a celebration? So why January 28? Engage 2 Act came up with the date by asking their social media followers what pioneer of community engagement stands out to them. Their favourite answer was from a person was born on January 28th. Thus, the winner’s birthday is the official date for Global Community Engagement Day.

The word engagement comes from the early 17th century French word ‘engager’ which means ‘to pledge’. In the general sense it means ‘a legal or moral obligation’. That’s how we feel at Capire, we have an obligation to give everyone a voice. That’s why we are proud to be part of Community Engagement Day.

2022’s theme is Hybrid Engagement. As Covid-19 took over the world, life as we know it has changed forever. Now more than ever, community engagement is important to protect the vulnerable, educate, encourage behaviour change and make an impact. So what does community engagement mean to us? How has Covid-19 changed the way we engage?

The uncertainty of COVID-19 has demonstrated that whilst our lives have changed, people’s desire to have conversations has not. What has changed is the way that we have these conversations. Engagement is now about offering diverse ways for people to participate with targeted engagement approaches for certain groups and acknowledging the ‘digital divide’.

What can we do to celebrate Community Engagement Day? Volunteer, hold a community event, help at a charity, chat to someone you wouldn’t normally chat to, try to understand lots of different perspectives, reach out and offer help, catch up with friends and family and ask them their views, write a letter to your local council. Ultimately, it’s about forging and bolstering relationships.

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