Reaching the Hard to Reach

Posted: 2 February 2021

Author: Dorte Weber, NorQuest College

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This week's guest blog post is by Dorte Weber, this is part 2 in a series of 3.

Thanks to Berniece for your thoughtful response on the first part of my blog series - Needs Assessment – If not now, when? Yes, we have learned a great deal in the past year, and it would be very valuable to find a way to gather and organize that information to look in a more systematic way at what has happened and what might be the best way forward.

NorQuest researchers are now starting a new needs assessment project in the Peace River region. When the Spirit River CALP closed, it seemed like an excellent opportunity for the surrounding communities to take stock and see what the needs are and how the CALPs might be able to support a wider area.

In the process, we are learning a great deal about how to connect and communicate with various groups of stakeholders in the relevant communities. It is a highly diverse region, and there is a lot to learn. I would be interested in starting a conversation about how best to reach those who may not be so easy to reach: people on farms, in remote communities where not everyone has broadband, in religious communities where there may be a reluctance to engage with outsiders, with indigenous communities where trust has to be earned.

As we learn, we will be able to add to the data collection guide to share our new understandings with the rest of the CALP community.

Another interesting thing is going to be the transition from “this is what we know” to “this is what we will do because of what we know”. Here we might want to look at successful examples from different CALPs of how various types of programming have been made successful with various stakeholder groups. I am sure that somewhere in our larger community, there are answers.

Dorte Weber
Team Lead, Rural Routes

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