What are community and public engagement? How to engage correctly?

Governments, people, and organizations work collaboratively to create sustainable visions for their community’s future. Community engagement is a way of bringing them together to solve problems that affect people’s lives. For governments and organizations, it’s important to build long-term relationships and create a dialogue with the very diversity of their communities.

Public engagement describes how the activities and benefits can be shared with the public. It means it is a process, involving listening and interaction, to generate mutual benefit. Benefits might include gaining new insights or ideas, learning, developing better research, developing new skills, or being inspired.

When people in a community are affected by a problem, everybody should take part in finding solutions to that problem. In this way, public engagement is formed where people work together to achieve a common goal. It can take place during the planning, research, or implementation stages of a project. Centered around trust, collaboration, and communication, community participation focuses on the needs, desires, and expectations of community members.

The Canadian Institute of Planners states: “the goal of public engagement is to involve people in the processes and decisions that affect their lives”. 

There are many ways to boost community engagement. First of all, building authentic connections is the most important goal. Community members need a place where they can talk about their experiences. They also like to be heard, so it’s important to interact back with them as much as possible. When building community engagement, you need to think about what people would like before anything else, because it will be easier to know where to build your community and how.


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Ika Washington

Ika Washington founded DiversityTalk intending to create a platform and consultancy that can work with organizations and corporations to engage with marginalized and underrepresented groups within the health and social service space. 
Ika Washington is a public health professional specializing in health policy and equity. She is passionate about best engagement practices, building meaningful partnerships, programs and services to improve the complex social and health problems impacting communities. Equipped with a diverse experience, including governance and regulatory affairs, policy development and implementation, health research design, and project management, coupled with an M.Sc focusing on social science and a progressive Ph.D. in Health Policy and Equity,  Ika thrives on being solution-based to improve spaces for marginalized groups and improve business designs. 
Ika’s work experience includes working as a Policy Analyst and Program Specialist at Health Canada and Regional Lead for an Indigenous Health Authority serving over 31 First Nations communities in Ontario. In leading the stage as a global speaker, she has been featured in Leafly, Globe and Mail, The Green Room, GrowOp, Postmedia, and guested on various podcasts and documentaries.
Ph.D in Health Policy & Equity – York University (progressive) 
M.Sc. in Social Science – University of Southampton (UK)
B.Sc. in Biology (Ecosystem & Health) – Western University