Every international nonprofit has its own set of criteria for the communities and people they serve. Some look at demographic data and work perhaps with women or children, others look at educational and/or economic opportunities and how to make them more accessible, and still others evaluate communities through a specific need such as clean water. And all of these can be captured in relatively uncomplicated metrics. But what about the qualitative measures, the more messy indicators of a community’s readiness for change?
In the nine years since I founded Reading Village (www.readingvillage.org), I’ve learned that social fabric is perhaps the single most valuable metric by which we can gauge a community’s partnership potential with our own organization. By social fabric I mean trust and common norms, the willingness and ability to work together. It’s not an easy question to answer—how much social fabric exists—but its answer directly impacts whether or not our program will succeed or fail in each unique setting.
Head over to Conscious Magazine to hear all about how we measure social fabric in rural Guatemala.