Participatory Action Learning and Action Research for Self-sustaining Community Development: Engaging Pacific Islanders in Southeast Queensland
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This paper concerns how to design short-term community projects that maximise the sustainability of the developments they achieve. An Australian university-community initiative aimed at improving educational opportunities within a Samoan community in Southeast Queensland demonstrates how participatory action learning and action research processes were used to build community capacity to address self-identified community needs. These strategies enabled Samoan community members to develop and sustain their own projects and equipped them to pass this ability on to other community members, creating long-term project continuity. Our experience suggests that, as participatory action learning and action research combines participants' resources, knowledges, networks and energies to maximise community benefits, it is an appropriate strategy for enabling marginalised groups to engage constructively with complex issues in their communities. Relationship building and trust development were intrinsic to this project's ongoing success. We suggest that participatory action learning and action research can usefully be adopted in a range of contexts for sustained community development.
The Australasian Journal of University-Community Engagement
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Continuing and Community Education