Community Assessment and 8 Signs of a Transforming Community

It has been 2 and a half months since we moved from calle Los Pinos in El Hatillo to Colonia Los Pinos in Tegucigalpa. During these two months we have focused on doing an assessment of Los Pinos using a tool called Community Assessment for 8 signs of a Transforming Community.  With this tool we have 4 goals.  First, we seek to establish a baseline evaluation for what transformation is already happening in the community.  Second, we want to identify leaders in the community who are future catalysts for change.  Third, we want to build relationships with people in the community and the leaders we identify.  Finally, we seek to lay a foundation of prayer for the community.  With the Community Assessment Tool we intend to evaluate what Transformation is already happening in 8 categories we call “signs”.  In a community where the kingdom of God is becoming present perhaps one could see these 8 signs:

1.       Reproducing, transformational communities of Jesus-followers (Jesus Communities)

2.       Increased Civic Participation for the Common Good (Civic Good)

3.       Improved Accessibility to Life-Enhancing Education (Lifelong Learning)

4.       Expanded Opportunities to Achieve Economic Sufficiency (Wealth at the Bottom)

5.       Increased Spiritual and Psychological Health and Freedom from Destructive Patterns (Push for Freedom)

6.       Increased Family Health and Well-Being (Whole Families)

7.       Improved Environmental and Community Health (Health for All)

8.       Presence of political, economic, and legal systems that work for the poor (Systems that Work)

Working with the Los Pinos Community Council

A key question for any marginal community is land ownership.  While investigating the area of "Systems that Work" (sign 8 of Signs of a Transforming Community) we discovered that while the Honduran laws that allowed squatters to become legal land owners were favorable to the Los Pinos community, there was a lack of understanding and sharing of information regarding these issues.  The president of the Community Council, Don Juan, has become a friend and partner in the few weeks since Guillermo first knocked on his door.  With Don Juan and a few other community leaders, we have been involved in a process that culminated in a community meeting last Sunday.  The meeting was held at our church and some local residents from the youth group put on a short drama showing the advantages to owning the title to your land.  Community residents were informed about the opportunity they had to purchase the land where they live, as well ask questions regarding the process.  The upcoming Community Council elections were discussed and a conversation was started about the possibility of a piece of land being used for a recreational space or kindergarten.   We got involved when Don Juan shared with us the history of land ownership in the community, including the contract that was signed between the community and the government, who had expropriated it in 2005.  We realized the contract had not been shared widely because it was difficult to understand and written completely in thick legal jargon.  We encouraged Don Juan to share it, but first connected him and other leaders with a lawyer and then later with a meeting at the Institute of Property.  Understanding the contract and its benefits gave the leaders the courage and motivation to get the word out.  This has been a great experience for us to be able to meet community leaders, see how the Community Council works, meet many of our neighbors and learn more about Los Pinos.  If you would like to learn in more detail about the land laws that affect Los Pinos, click here

Previous Newsletters