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Hub or Half? A Study on the Experience of Community Organization Empowerment Program in Taipei City
community development association
This study aims to explore the concept and development of community organization, by taking the case of Community Organization Empowerment Program (COEP) of Taipei city, and to analyze experience and obstacles in the processes, as well as to provide recommendations for both the government and the implementing institute of the program. The study adopts the qualitative methodology by conducting the semi-structural interviews with seven participants, including the related government officers and the community workers, who were working for COEP at least one year. They are invited to share their perceptions of empowerment and work experience. According to the analysis, the original intention of COEP was to provide resources and guidance for communities lacking in specialized personnel. At present, community empowerment focuses on building up the organization's capability to cooperate and connect, and to enable the practice of civil society. However, as this work is processing, the workers are facing various difficulties, such as the low motivation of the community development association, the cognitive difference between the government and the workers, and the limitations of policy resources. It, however, has driven the workers to find the solutions with the constant reflection, adjustment, and dialogue. In general, although COEP shows comparatively low effectiveness, slow performance, and insufficient empowerment, the necessity of setting up the program is substantially recognized. Based on the result, it is proposed that COEP should flexibly adjust the management of human resources, service duration, counseling resources, evaluation methods and so on, while mobilizing all-kinds resources in the community and updating the community-related rules and regulations. Furthermore, the government should provide more support for workers at the first contact with the community, and emphasize the study of empowerment. In addition, the implementing institute of the program should attach great importance to building humane relationship and dialogue with the community. This effort should be coupled by the better supervision and guidance for workers from the institutes, so that their trans-disciplinary cooperation and reflective skills can be strengthened.
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