Bob Gardner Strategic Dialogue May 10-11, 2010 May 14, 2010
<ul><li>review of international and Canadian research and practice with comprehensive community initiatives: </li></ul><ul...
<ul><li>coordinated national projects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vibrant Communities  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>who initi...
<ul><li>From our backgrounder – enablers for successful CCIs were similar in Canada: </li></ul><ul><li>developing an inspi...
<ul><li>there is a clear gradient in health in which people with lower income, education or other lines of social inequali...
<ul><li>Health inequalities are rooted in wider social and economic inequality </li></ul><ul><li>These determinants of hea...
<ul><li>Capturing complexity for health inequalities </li></ul><ul><li>similar research and analysis on foundations and dr...
<ul><li>strategic point = </li></ul><ul><ul><li>systems and forces that shape poverty are part of wider systems and inters...
<ul><li>for poverty, we know what doesn’t work: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>punitive welfare regimes as they have evolved  </li>...
<ul><li>if we’re asking if CCIs have been effective – we need to specify effective at what – to what purposes? </li></ul><...
<ul><li>moving poverty up the policy agenda </li></ul><ul><li>building collaborations </li></ul><ul><li>building community...
<ul><li>getting individuals out of poverty </li></ul><ul><li>addressing the roots of poverty and overall rates </li></ul><...
<ul><li>bigger question behind effectiveness:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>do CCIs make enough of a difference to justify the re...
<ul><li>inspirational : popular vision of a fair and equal society that will mobilize and energize people for action </li>...
<ul><li>in policy sphere – social problems like poverty are seen as ‘wicked’ issues: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>shaped by a ran...
<ul><li>not just an opportunity, but a necessity </li></ul><ul><li>especially in Canada, government funding and support is...
<ul><li>CCI proponents need to  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>make the case for CCIs as solutions to governments' ‘wicked’ problem...
<ul><li>and even in the coldest climate, wider policy trends can provide openings for comprehensive approaches: </li></ul>...
<ul><li>increasing diversity -> cultural competence needs to be integrated into all aspects of CCIs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>...
<ul><li>the most successful and broadly supported local efforts don’t automatically address the foundations of poverty </l...
<ul><li>builds from Aspen emphasis on alignment </li></ul><ul><li>challenge of analyzing and implementing the best balance...
<ul><li>successful and sustainable CCIs need to build evaluation into their core: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>figuring out what ...
<ul><li>no magic blueprint --  never a question of do this or do that, but of making the best judgment based on experience...
<ul><li>these speaking notes and further resources on policy directions to enhance health equity, address the social deter...
© The Wellesley Institute www.wellesleyinstitute.com May 14, 2010
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Comprehensive Community Initiatives to Reduce Poverty: Canadian Lessons Learned and Opportunities Moving Forward

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This presentation provides highlights and strategic issues that impact Canadian poverty reduction initiatives.

Bob Gardner, Director of Policy
www.wellesleyinstitute.com
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Comprehensive Community Initiatives to Reduce Poverty: Canadian Lessons Learned and Opportunities Moving Forward

  1. 1. Bob Gardner Strategic Dialogue May 10-11, 2010 May 14, 2010
  2. 2. <ul><li>review of international and Canadian research and practice with comprehensive community initiatives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>from major comparative syntheses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>through case studies from across the country </li></ul></ul><ul><li>what we found: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CCIs for poverty reduction in Canada showed similar patterns, enablers and lessons learned on what worked </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>but context is crucial for these types of problems and solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>not just to understanding differences with international </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>but to guide and ground initiatives wherever we are </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>will illustrate Cdn context by assessing impact of CCIs so far </li></ul><ul><li>will set out some specific challenges for Cdn CCIs moving forward </li></ul>May 14, 2010
  3. 3. <ul><li>coordinated national projects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vibrant Communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>who initiated this strategic review </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>14 Trial Blazer communities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community Economic Development Network </li></ul></ul><ul><li>dozens of local initiatives defined and planned as CCIs </li></ul><ul><li>many more that share key goals and characteristics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Planning Councils – hooked into provincial anti-poverty campaign and official strategy in Ontario </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>United Way and Community Foundation social justice efforts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>particular communities – e.g. broad collaborations to end homelessness in Calgary, community planning in Ottawa and elsewhere </li></ul></ul>May 14, 2010
  4. 4. <ul><li>From our backgrounder – enablers for successful CCIs were similar in Canada: </li></ul><ul><li>developing an inspiring vision and coherent strategy; </li></ul><ul><li>building from solid foundations of local research, experience and community strengths; </li></ul><ul><li>being solidly based – and solidly connected – to the needs and perspectives of local people and communities; </li></ul><ul><li>aligning the wide range of activities and partnerships these initiatives engage in to the core vision and strategy; </li></ul><ul><li>learning how to manage complexity and work across multiple sectors and activities; </li></ul><ul><li>developing effective ways to build evaluation and learning back into the initiative and adapt to changing conditions/opportunities; </li></ul><ul><li>defining and pushing for public policy that will enable the initiatives to thrive and sustain themselves; and </li></ul><ul><li>delivering local impact while addressing the wider roots of poverty and inequality. </li></ul>May 14, 2010
  5. 5. <ul><li>there is a clear gradient in health in which people with lower income, education or other lines of social inequality and exclusion tend to have poorer health </li></ul><ul><ul><li>over ¼ of low income people in Ontario – 3 X high income – report their health to be poor or only fair </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2-3 X as many low income as high income people have chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>¼ of low income people reported their daily activities were prevented by pain = 2X than high income </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>difference btwn life expectancy of top and bottom income decile in Canada = 7.4 years for men and 4.5 for women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more sophisticated analyses take account of the pronounced gradient in morbidity and quality of life and developing data on health adjusted life expectancy = even higher disparities btwn top and bottom = 11.4 years for men and 9.7 for women </li></ul></ul><ul><li>stark reflection of the impact of poverty and inequality </li></ul>May 14, 2010
  6. 6. <ul><li>Health inequalities are rooted in wider social and economic inequality </li></ul><ul><li>These determinants of health interact and intersect with each other </li></ul><ul><li>In constantly changing and dynamic system </li></ul><ul><li>In fact, through multiple interacting and inter-dependent economic, social and health systems playing out in particular places </li></ul><ul><li>Determinants have a reinforcing and cumulative effect on individual and population health </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Capturing complexity for health inequalities </li></ul><ul><li>similar research and analysis on foundations and drivers of other complex problems: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>inequality of educational outcomes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>social exclusion of immigrants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>racism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>crime </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>poverty </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>strategic point = </li></ul><ul><ul><li>systems and forces that shape poverty are part of wider systems and intersect with wider forces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>need ‘whole system’s approaches </li></ul></ul><ul><li>practical point = </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the need for broad collaborations and coordinated efforts to address complex issues extends far beyond poverty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>poverty initiatives need to hook into other comprehensive local efforts -> reinforce each other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>broader policy context = place-focused interventions have become a theme in many fields </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>with broad local coordination and collaboration efforts in neighbourhood renewal, addressing health disparities, participatory planning, education reform and other problems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>not just on specific problems like poverty, but across problems </li></ul></ul></ul>May 14, 2010
  9. 9. <ul><li>for poverty, we know what doesn’t work: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>punitive welfare regimes as they have evolved </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>traditional siloed and short-term anti-poverty efforts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>throwing $ at symptoms of poverty in isolation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>and promising directions have been identified: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>local partnerships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>attacking poverty across many fronts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>integrated and coordinated programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>planning driven by community interests and perspectives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>enabling individual and community capacity building as central </li></ul></ul><ul><li>that’s the context in which comprehensive community initiatives arose </li></ul>May 14, 2010
  10. 10. <ul><li>if we’re asking if CCIs have been effective – we need to specify effective at what – to what purposes? </li></ul><ul><li>need to differentiate levels of impact: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>individual – whether building up skills or dealing with the harshest damages of poverty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>local community -- building resilience and capacitates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>system wide – changing foundations of poverty and underlying policies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>need to build complexity into analysis of impacts: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>particular results are inter-dependent and hard to separate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>fundamental change takes time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>always look for unintended consequences </li></ul></ul><ul><li>need to build this into planning from the outset: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CCIs need to be clear on where they expect to have an impact – and how </li></ul></ul>May 14, 2010
  11. 11. <ul><li>moving poverty up the policy agenda </li></ul><ul><li>building collaborations </li></ul><ul><li>building community capacities </li></ul><ul><li>ameliorating the impact of poverty </li></ul><ul><li>high profile campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>involving credible leaders and organizations </li></ul><ul><li>many examples of broad collaborations </li></ul><ul><li>is this important in and of itself? </li></ul><ul><li>this does require significant resources and commitment </li></ul><ul><li>some promising indications </li></ul><ul><li>hard to assess wider implications </li></ul><ul><li>and also requires significant resources and sustainable commitment </li></ul><ul><li>program effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>integrated and cross-sectoral services do deliver good services </li></ul>May 14, 2010
  12. 12. <ul><li>getting individuals out of poverty </li></ul><ul><li>addressing the roots of poverty and overall rates </li></ul><ul><li>Vibrant Communities and other initiatives are geared to enhancing individual assets – have done so </li></ul><ul><li>but does this get and keep those individuals out of poverty? </li></ul><ul><li>does this reduce poverty overall? </li></ul><ul><li>limited effect </li></ul><ul><li>but unrealistic expectation – local projects can’t change national policy and underlying structures of inequality </li></ul><ul><li>many CCIs do target policy changes and have had local successes </li></ul><ul><li>theory of change here needs to be clear on how local collaborations -> builds mobilization and shifts agenda -> pressure for change </li></ul>May 14, 2010
  13. 13. <ul><li>bigger question behind effectiveness: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>do CCIs make enough of a difference to justify the resources and time? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>do they make more of a difference than other possible strategies? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>yes: because CCIs build on strengths and areas where community efforts have leverage and unique advantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>community sector can’t change policy directly, but CCIs can contribute to building awareness and broad coalitions to press for change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>govts need community sector to deliver services -> seize opportunity to try to shift how services are designed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CCIs show that other ways of delivering services and addressing the impact of poverty are possible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can bring together many organizations, communities and projects -> to reinforce their impact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can show that promising different future directions for poverty reduction are imaginable – and achievable </li></ul></ul>May 14, 2010
  14. 14. <ul><li>inspirational : popular vision of a fair and equal society that will mobilize and energize people for action </li></ul><ul><li>analytical : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>always specifying what we think CCIs will accomplish and how </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>in other words, start from a solid theory of change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>part of this is being very clear on what success looks like: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>for expanding individual opportunities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>for building community capacities and strengths </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>for mobilizing for policy and social change to address the roots of poverty </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>coherent : pulling together a web of partners and projects into a well-aligned and integrated strategy </li></ul>May 14, 2010
  15. 15. <ul><li>in policy sphere – social problems like poverty are seen as ‘wicked’ issues: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>shaped by a range of inter-dependent and inter-secting factors and trends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>impact and implications are uncertain and dynamic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>little agreement on solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and limited evidence or predictability about impact of policy-program interventions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>-> shifts in policy directions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>need for comprehensive and coordinated cross-sectoral strategies, and more ‘joined-up’ processes within governments has been recognized </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>understood that complex problems are played out in particular places </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>broad national policy and targets + local priority setting and implementation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>= opportunity for CCIs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>well placed to concretely demonstrate how to concretely and effectively address ‘wicked’ problems </li></ul></ul>May 14, 2010
  16. 16. <ul><li>not just an opportunity, but a necessity </li></ul><ul><li>especially in Canada, government funding and support is critical to success -> government policy frameworks, processes and assumptions that support CCIs are key: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>need to get beyond silos and fragmentation, short-term and project funding and overly rigid accountability regimes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>need to help governments define their stewardship function flexibly to allow potential of comprehensive local initiatives to be realized </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CCI proponents need to identify what a favourable overall policy framework looks like </li></ul><ul><li>need to also be aware of dangers as well -- immediate political context: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>inhospitable fiscal climate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>innovation chill within governments </li></ul></ul>May 14, 2010
  17. 17. <ul><li>CCI proponents need to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>make the case for CCIs as solutions to governments' ‘wicked’ problems </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CCIs not only have to be effective –they have to be seen to be effective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>have to be able to demonstrate unique advantages and value </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>have to be able to prove impact -> back to evaluation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>more generally, CCIs have to be seen to be vital part of poverty reduction repertoire </li></ul><ul><ul><li>requires attention to government and other funder relations, media work and communications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>be visible and entrepreneurial in seeking out appropriate funding and collaborative opportunities </li></ul></ul>May 14, 2010
  18. 18. <ul><li>and even in the coldest climate, wider policy trends can provide openings for comprehensive approaches: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>emerging emphasis across governments and countries on neighbourhood as base for social policy interventions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>local coordinating committees of immigrant settlement services = can also be space to highlight wider issues of precarious labour markets, social exclusion, housing and health, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion is adopting a new ‘healthy communities’ strategy + BC Act Now = opening for community development and collaborative approaches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ontario again – provincial public health standards require local departments to address population health and disparities within populations = opening for cross-sectoral collaborations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>comprehensive initiatives underway in settlement support, public health, community planning and many other promising initiatives -> look beyond usual suspects to build collaborations beyond poverty </li></ul>May 14, 2010
  19. 19. <ul><li>increasing diversity -> cultural competence needs to be integrated into all aspects of CCIs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not just in sense of training and process, but being grounded in full diversity of communities drives planning and priorities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>building on strengths and resiliency of particular immigrant communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>analyzing racist and other barriers in planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ensuring ‘voice’ of diverse communities in collaborations and decision-making </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>build this into coalitions – e.g. Colour of Poverty campaign in Ontario </li></ul></ul><ul><li>need to analyze complexity of inequality and exclusion people face – multi-dimensional nature of poverty </li></ul><ul><ul><li>potential of anti-oppression approaches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not always easy to promote this language within organizations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>but analysis is critical, whatever it is called </li></ul></ul>May 14, 2010
  20. 20. <ul><li>the most successful and broadly supported local efforts don’t automatically address the foundations of poverty </li></ul><ul><li>by being intentional and smart, CCIs offer a way to bridge the local and system-wide: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>digging deep to address the local roots of poverty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>building broad local collaborations and integrated efforts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-> shows concretely that action on poverty is possible </li></ul></ul><ul><li>challenge is to organize local action so it: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>always uses local successes and stories to highlight the wider structural forces that underlie poverty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>always looks for ways to mobilize from local initiatives, to build local momentum for change in ways that address wider foundations of poverty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>always connects local efforts to national strategies and campaigns </li></ul></ul>May 14, 2010
  21. 21. <ul><li>builds from Aspen emphasis on alignment </li></ul><ul><li>challenge of analyzing and implementing the best balance among constantly shifting pressures: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>demand for immediate and visible outcomes -- but reducing poverty will take years of concerted efforts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>collaboration is a vital pre-condition, but is it an end in itself? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>what kinds of collaborations? for what contexts? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>building individual resilience and community capacities – but in ways that highlight the wider foundations of poverty </li></ul></ul><ul><li>these challenges are ongoing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not just good alignment at design stage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>but constant and iterative balancing and re-alignment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>while keeping these necessary tactical re-adjustments lined up with overall strategy and vision </li></ul>May 14, 2010
  22. 22. <ul><li>successful and sustainable CCIs need to build evaluation into their core: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>figuring out what works in their circumstances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>adapting programs and collaborations in response </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>which requires resources and capacities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>they continually experiment and innovate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>means not being afraid to take risks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>evaluate and adapt again </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>build into continuous learning and innovation cycle </li></ul></ul><ul><li>and beyond – need forums and infrastructure to share experience and lessons learned, assess promising practices, scale up where appropriate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>while learning and innovation may be local </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>this learning infrastructure needs to be broad -> key challenge for public policy </li></ul></ul>May 14, 2010
  23. 23. <ul><li>no magic blueprint -- never a question of do this or do that, but of making the best judgment based on experience and circumstances </li></ul><ul><li>none of these challenges moving forward need to be all or nothing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>goal doesn’t need to be CCIs in every community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>but it could be trying to make all anti-poverty efforts as coordinated and comprehensive as possible </li></ul></ul><ul><li>great potential of CCIs to most effectively mobilize wide coalitions and enable communities to address poverty in neighbourhoods and cities </li></ul><ul><li>the challenge is to build this local mobilization in ways that reinforce and build broader provincial and national mobilization and pressure governments to act decisively </li></ul><ul><li>back to vision: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the ultimate goal is a fair and equitable society where lives are not stunted by poverty and exclusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CCIs are part of the wide mobilization to get there </li></ul></ul>May 14, 2010
  24. 24. <ul><li>these speaking notes and further resources on policy directions to enhance health equity, address the social determinants of health and support a vibrant and innovative community sector are available on our site at http://wellesleyinstitute.com </li></ul><ul><li>my email is [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>I would be interested in any comments on the ideas in this presentation and any information or analysis on initiatives or experience that address health equity </li></ul>
  25. 25. © The Wellesley Institute www.wellesleyinstitute.com May 14, 2010

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