The Foundations for Effective Public Participation

The Foundations for Effective Public Participation

Nov. 20, 2017 in Articles
At BC Healthy Communities (BCHC), we identify community engagement as one of our seven guiding principles in supporting communities towards better health. As BC’s Healthy-Community leaders, we know that meaningful engagement strategies are a key component in promoting and supporting positive, long-term change in how we understand and act upon the well-being of our communities. 


BCHC’s staff member Celeste Zimmer has recently moved into a new role as Community Engagement Coordinator. The opportunity to attend an exciting capacity building training session in community engagement fed her appetite to better understand the public participation model to further support communities and help plan an effective process. She was able to strengthen her capacity while taking the week-long course Foundations in Public Participation that is offered by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2). 


IAP2 seeks to promote and improve the practice of public participation in relation to individuals, governments, institutions and other entities that affect the public interest. They use research to support educational and advocacy goals while providing technical assistance to improve public participation for professionals and individuals around the world. 


The three core foundations which guide IAP2 are:
  • Values-based
  • Decision-orientated
  • Goal-driven


These foundations correlate with BC Healthy Community’s work, facilitating the ongoing development of healthy, thriving and resilient communities. For any effective process to take place, all three foundations need to be present. 


After returning from this course Celeste indicated: “This course has deepened my capacity and will allow me to better understand the necessary steps to properly support those hoping to administer a thorough engagement process.”


“In our modern, more educated and busy society, we know that people have less time for public involvement, yet they bring more knowledge and capacity when they do participate. Recognizing this will help us understand that different participation activities and techniques will be a value add when trying to truly engage with stakeholder” said Zimmer.


Find out more about BC Healthy Communities’ engagement initiatives and the projects in this area that we have supported.