In our Participation and Engagement course we were tasked with creating an engagement framework and media visuals for a specific project. My project example was for the Cumberland Community Forest, see more details below.
A reminder this class project is NOT associated any projects, views or initiatives led by the Village of Cumberland, the Community Forests or any other related organizations. This project was for independent study and compiled with publicly available resources for a class project.
The project first began with creating engagement visuals or social media posts. I found this part of the assignment exciting as it related to my previous work at Cowichan Tribes in the Lulumexun Lands Department.
The formula for creating effective images/branding includes:
Using consistent imagery that relates to the project (i.e., trees, nature and earthy tones)
Incorporating organizational branding (i.e., using a logo, image or symbol to tie back to the organization)
Embedding icons to appeal to more visually oriented individuals and enhance accessibility (i.e., breaking down dense or word heavy information)
Finishing the visual by adding contact information (i.e., phone, email or website links because people will likely have questions)
For consistency purposes, I made a bold move to make the logo background transparent in order to leave a white front which can be applied over a range of coloured backgrounds. This eliminated the possibility of having Christmas colour associations with the green and red colour mixes.
Now for the engagement plan, my approach was fairly generalized as I did not have context to their internal and external relations. However, each organization generally have similar structures and processes.
Although it seems like a daunting task to develop a comprehensive community engagement plan it is well worth your effort, as it will appropriately and adequately map your goals, objectives, and activities, that will also inform budgets, deliverables, and expectations. The key to effective engagement is clearly identifying any potential road blocks and efficiently allocated the appropriate resources.
The intent of the project was to be imaginative and explore different communication methods. I find there is great opportunity and value in going back to more traditional ways of communicating with face-to-face, interviews, focus groups, and building strong and meaningful relationships.
While also noting, many Indigenous communities may not have strong digital literacy, adequate internet and the means to translate traditional knowledge into a survey or questionnaire. What was not a part of the assignment or captured in this report is extensive detail or information on Indigenous engagement, relations or methods. Although significant literature, research and articles are emerging in mainstream media, the practices and protocols are evident and well practiced within Indigenous communities.
Lastly, a survey was a part of this engagement planning project. Check it out here: https://forms.gle/T66mAE7MP9cnDrvV7.
Huy steep q'u - thank you!