When should you involve the community?
Community engagement is often an ongoing activity. While there may be specific times when more involvement is needed or information needs to be shared and understood, it’s important to find ways to involve and consult key groups on an ongoing basis.
Transparency and trust can strengthen the success of your Indigenous Guardian program. If people don’t know what is going on, they often assume that nothing is or feel distrustful of what they do see. Try to pro-actively engage and communicate with community members throughout the year about the activities and results of your guardian program.
And don’t only think about information flowing out. Invite your community to submit ideas, knowledge, suggestions and comments to you. Two-way communication channels can help information flow back to you as well, ensuring your program can respond and adapt as needed.
Community engagement can be understood as a continuum with an increasing level of community involvement as you go from simple outreach and information sharing through to deeper consultation, involvement, collaboration and shared decision-making. There may be times when informing the community is the focus of your efforts. Other times you may want to collaborate with the community on discussions and decision-making.