As the term “senior-friendly municipality” implies, the municipality is central to the collaborative approach and must act as a catalyst for forces in the community. It must involve the whole community in creating a more supportive living environment for its older people. This means mobilizing key stakeholders from various sectors as well as older citizens themselves. If the goal of the proposed initiative is to adapt policies, services and structures to older people’s needs, it must also improve democratic life. This means it is important to work with community stakeholders. This is what is referred to as “mobilization of the community.” It can be defined as a global process whereby the influential forces in a community come together to achieve a common objective or carry out a common project. Mobilization of the community must be based on a set of principles, namely:1. Mobilization of the community must be based on a set of principles, namely2 :
- a common vision of needs and the strategies to be employed to achieve the desired change ;
- mechanisms of community participation that allow the target organizations and the entire population to be consulted and involved in any project or initiative ;
- the conclusion of intersectoral partnership agreements in order to share challenges and resources.
Therefore, the municipality is not working alone: it can rely on the support of local stakeholders from the health sector, community organizations, volunteer groups and private organizations. In many cases, mobilization of the community involves bringing people together who do not usually work with one another. They must be allowed time to get used to one another. The alliances forged will help ensure the actions undertaken endure.
- W.A. NINACS, Empowerment et intervention: Développement de la capacité d’agir et de la solidarité, Québec, Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2008.
- C. FAUBERT, Fostering Community Mobilization, Capacity, and Ownership of a Community-University Initiative: An Intermediary Change Agent’s Perspective, doctoral thesis (assessment process), Ottawa, University of Ottawa, 2008.