Recruiting participants for community conversations
The discussions that are part of community conversations should include participants who are able to represent the entire community.
Think about a community you have some involvement with. Spend a few moments writing down the sorts of people you could invite who would represent between them the whole community.
You need to strive for a diversity of opinion, ethnicity, race and gender, and all the other features that reflect the make-up of the community.
Avoid inviting only the obvious people to the community conversation, for example, opinion leaders or health experts (Figure 20.4). Keep these people involved, but encourage all the participants to reach out and attract a larger, more representative group of the community. Try to involve community members who have more experience in life, because these people will know about the effects of community change and therefore will have a vested interest in the issues affecting the community (Box 20.2). In addition, this will bring consistency and continuity to the community conversation meetings.
Box 20.2 Diversity for the community conversation
Remember that by actively recruiting members who reflect the community's diversity in ethnicity, culture, perspectives, gender and age, you will achieve a richer dialogue from a more representative sample.