Community engagement is based on values and principles. Fundamental to these are the two guiding principles of:
Reciprocity - we work together with communities (focus on strengths), not do work for a community (focus on deficits)
There must be the potential in projects for communities to be transformed, to grow, to build on current capacities and to believe there is hope for a better tomorrow.
The people who come together to work with the community as partners, researchers, community members or volunteers are open to developing relationships and experiencing transformation in their attitudes, values and experience.
Community engagement calls us into mutual relationships with poor, oppressed and vulnerable communities. It requires that we 'work with' people rather than 'do for' them; that we act collaboratively to make a difference in our world; and that each person and community remains open to being influenced by the other, and changed.
Spirituality of Community Engagement,
Anthony Steel, Institute for Advancing Community