Many communities across British Columbia are undergoing significant change. Traditional resource-based economies are declining, families and young people are moving away seeking brighter employment opportunities, and local populations are ageing. In response, some communities are beginning to initiate community visioning and community-economic development processes. Some communities realize that in order to maximize the quality of life for all, it is essential that literacy and learning issues become an integral part of the community change movement.
The Columbia Basin in the East and West Kootenays is one such region. The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) promotes literacy and lifelong learning throughout the area by educating the public about the importance of literacy and by supporting local community actions related to literacy. CBAL’s vision is to support the development of healthy, accessible learning communities throughout the Columbia Basin so that each member has strong basic skills for lifelong continuous learning.
CBAL has learned that communities which collaborate create more opportunities for learning, bring more resources to learning initiatives and support increased sustainability for literacy programs. The Community Literacy Development (CLD) measurement tools are designed to identify the range and importance of community networking and collaboration, and the effect those are having on literacy service delivery. The tools provide valuable information about the number and type of partnerships community literacy groups develop, the amount of money and resources those partnerships leverage which add value to funding, and the increase in service delivery and resources available for literacy programs in communities. The mapping tools can also be used to identify the sectors that partner most often with literacy at the community level, providing useful information to foster cross-ministerial cooperation.
You have options on which tools you use. While they are presented as a package, it is possible to use all or some of them, depending on what style of information gathering you prefer. Here are some suggestions for deciding what tools might work best for you:
Look for the icon to indicate “Easy to Use”.
Even though these tools were designed to measure the effects of collaboration in a literacy community, they also lend themselves to other uses. These include:
While these tools are designed to be filled out by Community Literacy Coordinators, they may be useful to others who run community-based programs/events (e.g libraries, social agencies). In this case, they may have to be altered to reflect the specifics of the situation