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Keywords:

  • community development;
  • health promotion;
  • nursing practice;
  • caring;
  • community participation;
  • participatory action research;
  • empowerment;
  • democracy;
  • community action and change;
  • nursing education

Aim of the study. To present the results of evaluation research investigating a successful community development project.

Rationale. Many governments, health care agencies, and organizations require community participation in health care. As a result, nurses and other health professionals are often required to practice using a philosophy of community development. Although the theoretical, philosophical, and practical components of community development are well articulated, there is little evidence that exemplifies the experience of initiating and participating in a community development project. This paper provides evidence of how one organization successfully engaged the broader community on a respite care project.

Method. Using qualitative research methods and guided by the principles and practices of participatory action research, this evaluation engaged with the community in data collection, analysis, dissemination of finding, and in promoting effective change.

Results. Four themes emerged that provide insight into how one HIV/AIDS organization successfully undertook community development. These themes include: (a) identifying a community need; (b) addressing the various components identified in the community development process; (c) highlighting the strategies used to engage in successful community development; and (d) attending to factors that influence community development.

Conclusion. The results of this research contribute to the body of knowledge related to engaging in the process of community development. By highlighting the experiences of one community group, it is hoped that nurses can learn and incorporate this knowledge into practice.