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Community Mapping Workshop

For the project

“Building a Bridge to Self employment for People with Disabilities”

The Canadian Society for Social Development hosted a Community Mapping Workshop on June 29th, 2005, in support of the captioned project undertaken by the Social and Enterprise Development Innovations (SEDI). SEDI is a national charitable organization envisioning a society where there is an end to barriers that prevent individuals from realizing their full economic and human potential and where social, cultural and economic supports are available to enable people to learn, take risks, invest wisely and participate in the economic mainstream.

The project has a span of 3 years, working with 5 communities in 3 provinces to develop and test online self-employment resources and e-learning opportunities, for people with disabilities who are interested in self-employment and the organizations that serve them. The project will build a Community Learning Network among business development organizations and disability organizations in these communities who work to increase access to self-employment for persons with disabilities.

There are two goals to the project:

  1. The project will test the effectiveness of online learning services and resources in increasing the readiness of people with disabilities to undertake self-employment ventures.
  2. The project will test the effectiveness of a program of organizational capacity building activities in:
    1. Enhancing knowledge and skills required to use online services and resources to serve people with disabilities
    2. Increasing knowledge exchange among staff in business development and disability organizations

The first stage of the project is to identify and map community assets related to providing self-employment services for people with disabilities in each of the 5 communities and determine gaps that could be addressed with online services and resources.

There were 35 participants for the workshop, including representatives from different sectors of service providers, government officials, business consultant and entrepreneurs with disabilities. The workshop was facilitated by David Carruthers, a Community Mapping specialist from the Community Planning Lab out of Toronto, Ontario.

After a very educational presentation on the concept of community mapping in the morning, the group used their newly acquired skills and knowledge to have a go at the community asset mapping to reflect the local services, resources and people available and involved in self-employment initiatives for people with disabilities. The presentation and mapping result will be made available to community members at this website.

The outcomes of the workshop are very encouraging: it is obvious that service providers participating in the mapping process have gained knowledge of the community mapping process; as well as service providers and people with disabilities have knowledge of the community resources available to those who want to start businesses. The next step will be to establish a form of local networking structure to review the map produced and help identify gaps in resources and services, and assess if those gaps could be addressed with online technology.

Be sure to download the SEDI Workshop PowerPoint Presentation on Community Mapping

You can also download this entire report as a ZIP file (contains this report in Word format as well as the powerpoint presentation).