The Training of Community Organizers
Are community organizers special people? It depends , of course, on your particular indicator of who special people are. Community organizers are viewed as special people by marginalized communities and by citizens who believe that there must be people who should continue the dream for a transformed society. The concept of a transformed society will depend largely on the perspective of a particular society.
So, how are candidates for the training on community organizing recruited? There are several ways of recruiting potential candidates. The normal way is by application to the Training Program. Another way is by referral of a credible organization that this or that particular person is a potential candidate. And yes, another is by spotting potential candidates for existing college seniors who are on practicum in a particular urban or rural poor community.
The regular way which is by application in which the applicant expresses interest in the training program follows 2 steps before the candidate is finally taken into the training proper. The first step is the interview. After passing the interview, the applicant goes through a two-week probation period in which he/ she is assigned in an urban poor community for two weeks to sort of live life there. After two weeks the applicant is evaluated. If the applicant passes the probation period, he/ she is taken into the training program.
The training program uses the experiential or on-the-job approach to learning the ropes of community organizing. The mechanisms to drive home the learning are: a) The tactic sessionb) The study session c) The required readings d) Area visit by the trainer who is a veteran community organizer trained to do the role and functions of training community organizerse) The monthly evaluations f) Periodic reflections
The training of community organizers is a combination of theory and practice. The practice has been – practice or action first before the discussion of theories. Of course there is an initial orientation on community organizing theories but the practice as has been found effective is to let the trainees learn to swim first as it were before discussing the theories on swimming. Because attitudes are not easy to modify, it is assumed that the trainee has shown during the screening period that he/ she had the basic attitudes needed by a community organizer and the training process just help the trainee build on what he/ she brings into the training program.
What are the basic attitudes that expectedly were already identified to be there during the screening? Basic faith and trust in people’s capacity for self-determination; Basic hard work;Basic Team work; Basic irreverence and Basic humility – yes, just an initial sign that all these attitudes are present in the trainee.
Through the years, the training program found three types of trainees – the one who has an above average I.Q. but is not hardworking; the one who is hardworking but is not as intellectually gifted as the former; and the one who is a combination of intellect and hardwork but is not easy to find.
Go To Training Community Organizers - Part II