liv: Cartoon of a smiling woman with a long plait, teaching about p53 (teacher)
[personal profile] liv
Thank you all so much for all the supportive comments on my post with squee about the awesome bar mitzvah. I feel really loved!

In another instance of my students being brilliant, I ran a session recently to introduce the first year medics to the concept of public health. We ended with an exercise which I found rather fun, so I thought I'd offer it to you to play:

A philanthropist is offering a grant of £250,000 to someone who can propose a way to improve the situation in a deprived housing estate. Population ~10K, annual healthcare spend roughly £100 million. The philanthropist wants to see improvements on a 30 year timescale, and wants the actual inhabitants to be involved in the project in a community building sort of way. What would you do?

I divided my students into two groups and got them to pitch their ideas to me. And I was impressed at how they came out with completely opposite solutions. One group wanted to run a really small-scale educational programme to help schoolkids and their parents to learn about healthy eating, calculating that £250K over 30 years amounts to about £8000 per year and trying to keep within that budget. The other group suggested using the money as seed funding to attract new businesses to the area, aiming to create jobs and increase the tax income so that local facilities could be improved. I think both of those ideas are somewhat unrealistic, but this is a bunch of mostly teenagers, and I really liked both the group who thought about just how far a quarter of a million will (won't) stretch when you're dealing with entrenched social problems, and their colleagues who thought about dealing with some of the root causes of poverty and deprivation.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-25 12:44 am (UTC)
slashmarks: (Leo)
From: [personal profile] slashmarks
This probably isn't the type of answer you wanted, but the best solution imo is probably to give them the money.

Not necessarily individually -- two hundred and fifty thousand pounds divided by ten thousand doesn't come out to much -- but, ask the residents to come up with a plan/vote on what they want the money to be used for. They're going to know better than people of a different socioeconomic class who don't live in the community what the actual needs of the population are, and it's going to depend on their specific problems.

Eg. It might be that the people in the community are spending an inordinate amount of money on food because the only businesses in walking distance that sell it are overpriced corner stores, for instance, or that there are major issues with employment in the community because of a lack of transportation services, but you're not going to know that kind of thing without more detail, and the answer isn't going to be the same in every community. What's useful where it's needed is wasteful or actively harmful where it's not.

(It strikes me in particular that the neighborhood I currently live in, which is impoverished, recently had a major political campaign to stop the creation of new (eta: chain) businesses in the area - because that comes with gentrification, the destruction of cheap housing, and the eviction of residents who are seen as bringing down the neighborhood quality. I was at a march Saturday that included the chant "keep the hood affordable.")
Edited Date: 2017-01-25 12:45 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-25 10:30 am (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
I'm this way inclined too, actually.

My first thought is what are the existing community organisations and resources? The local schools, nurseries, places of worship, pubs, residents associations, political parties and representatives?

I think my preferred route would be through the local school(s): create a contest for teams of children within the schools to come up with and present bids for some or all the money on a 30-year timescale. (Maybe in several rounds depending on takeup). Get together a judging panel with representatives from all the existing local community orgs. Make an event of the finalist presentations in the biggest venue available locally, and invite local residents to come along, see the ideas and vote for a "people's pick" as well as the judging panel's pick.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-25 11:58 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
I'd be inclined to ask the community what they need most.

I suspect some kind of semi-voluntary mentoring programme might help; elderly people and teenagers, for example. But I really don't know. Possibly a time-bank arrangement of some sort. Look at what community activities are already there, and build on those.

There is a concept known as Asset-Based Community Development which works on the premise of improving communities by working with what is already there, rather than seeing them as deficient in some way to begin with; I don't know much more than that about it, but it's a concept it sounds like your students might enjoy looking at. I am slightly wary of theterm these days because it gets slapped onto a lot of projects which measure "development" in terms of financial profit rather than e.g. improved health outcomes, but in a capitalist society that's going to be a risk with any development programme. And, in fairness, that £250k will go a lot further if it is invested in such a way that there *is* some profit and this goes back into the community.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-25 02:39 pm (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
It's a good thought experiment for them. I'd need you know more about the place before I could suggest where the money might be best put, so as to know whether or not what I'm thinking of is something the residents actually want.


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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