Community assessment

Published: 06 May 2016
Last edited: 01 April 2019

Preliminary diagnostics are carried out with communities to assess their perception of the state of marine resources, the need for management and their motivation to take responsibility for management. To ensure adequate community ownership, it is critical that the support organisation (e.g. an NGO), does not pressure the community into agreeing to management measures that they are not necessarily motivated to enforce. If adequate recognition of a need for management and community motivation exists, the support organisation can move on to the next step.


Alliance and partnership development
Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Planning phase

Enabling factors

- Established relationship between community and support organization - Community recognizes a need for management and is motivated - Support organization is flexible enough to adapt to community needs and/or lack of interest - Support organization is familiar with basic diagnostic exercises, such as problem trees, concept models, etc.

Lessons learned

This first step is critical, and if carried out properly results in a community that is motivated to manage their marine resources and feels a strong sense of ownership over the initiative: - The support organization should refrain from proposing, or pressure the community from agreeing to, management measures (such as a marine reserve) before the need for management and community motivation (for management and enforcement) has been established. Otherwise the proposed action may always be perceived as an “outsider” initiative, and suffer from poor community ownership. - If adequate recognition of a need for management and community motivation exists, the support organization can move on to the next step. - The support organization must also be ready to walk away if the community expresses that it does not recognize a need for management, or is not motivated to take responsibility.

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