2. Learning Objectives:
• At the end of this topic, you should be able to:
• explain the steps involved in community immersion;
• design a community immersion program complaint with the protocols
on intervention; and
• illustrate the importance of the various steps in community immersion.
• use a survey on community needs assessment in your community and
report your findings.
3. Steps in Community Immersion
• 1. Before gaining entry into the community. Information gathering- while the
community which will serve as the venue for immersion is being identified – will help
students prepare themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Students must
have waivers from their parents or guardians stating that they have been informed
and have agreed that their children or wards will undergo the CWTS community
Prescribe certain Pre-immersion guidelines. Lee et al. (2006)
• Students should gather basic information about the community such as its culture,
practices, and lifestyle.
• Students should not regard themselves as superior to the members of the community.
• Students should dress simply and act naturally when making their entry into the
• Students should not assume the role of “savior” or someone who will solve all of the
• Students should remember that development must be for the people and from the
4. The following are the criteria to be used in selecting the venue;
• Inclusion of the community in the deprived, depressed, and underprivileged
• Willingness of the local interest groups and community leaders to cooperate
with the project implementers.
• Available resources, including manpower
• Presence of development agencies and other institutions providing
assistance to the area.
• Stability of the peace and order situation
5. 2. Gaining entry into the community. Manalili (1990) presents the different
ways of gaining entry into a community:
• Ostentatious entry. Must organizers from government offices are familiar
with this style. The community worker, through a padrino, is formally
introduced to the people through a village assembly during which the
worker’s image is boosted and project output is promised. They will depend
on him/her heavily. This, however, runs counter to the aim of helping
strengthen the people’s confidence in their own abilities.
• Banking on the people’s weakness. Outsiders sometimes gain entry into a
community by getting the community’s attention. They focus on a
particular weakness or problem in a community and exploit the members’
dependence on them for its solution.
• Simple entry. This style can be explained through an example. Suppose the
project organizers accidentally meets a person while in a jeep, and that this
person is from a community where the organizers can conduct an
6. • Academic entry. Communities are often called social laboratories because
they become a field laboratory where the theories learned in the classroom
are put to a test. Academic institutions field students into a community to
address its concerns.
• Formal entry. Some organizers believe that the best way of gaining entry
into a community is through a formal protocol or procedure. This is done by
paying a courtesy call to the community leaders first.
• People-centered entry. The local researchers from the community who
first gain entry into the area. They undertake a preliminary social analysis of
the community and also establish strong links with reliable community
members who will serve as the contact persons.
7. 3. Integration with the people. Integration is a continuous process wherein
the students come into direct contact and become involved with the affairs of
the community. In this phase, the immersion gets more personal. (Manalili,
1990). Integration is done in any of the following ways:
• Border Style. If she/her resources allow it, the student may choose to stay
and live in the immersion area for a certain period of time. He/She may
reside in the community to attain a deeper understanding of its people and
way of life.
• Elitist style. Some students tend to stay close to key informants and
political players during their time in the community. Their social circle
becomes limited, and their interaction is confined to conversing with a few
8. • People-centered style
Lee, et al. (2006) present some basic tips on integration:
• Students should integrate with the people by living with them, eating their
food, doing their chores, and patiently learning their way of life.
• Students should gradually broaden their social group affiliation so they can
continue to expand their knowledge about the status of the community.
• Students should start working in the community and begin to realize the
hardships and problems that community members are facing. Realizing
that their problems are also the students’ problems, students can learn how
to emphasize with the people to help solve their problems.
9. 4. Community needs assessment
• A community needs assessment is a process in which the problems, issues,
and concerns of the community are identified by using several tools.
• Needs assessment, social analysis, or community diagnosis is a concrete
basis for the formulation of programs.
• It reflects the sentiments, needs, aspirations, and recommendations of the
• It becomes significant when conducted as the students get integrated with
• Assessing the needs of the community is a prelude to effective program
implementation. It hopes to solve the problems, issues and concerns of the
people in the locality.
10. The following are the steps in the needs assessment process
• Gather information about the community’s attitudes and options in order of
• Determine how citizen rank local issues, problems and opportunities.
• Give the citizens a voice in determining policies, goals and priorities.
• Determine citizen support for initiatives.
• Evaluate current programs and policies.
• End speculation about “what the people are thinking” or “what they may
really want”.(Del Rosario, 2010) page-28
Importance of a Needs Assessment Survey
11. Data Collection Methods
1. Focus Group discussion (FGD) by Key informants.
The key informants of the community are the people who hold
socially relevant positions such as educators, public officials,
clergymen, business representatives, or volunteers.
1. Community Forum/assembly
This involves holding group events which include the entire
community. Such events give visibility to the leaders and raise the
status of the community; however, they require extensive planning
12. 4. Public records
Public records like the national census provide social and demographic
indicators of the community. The data include the profile of the
population as to age, gender, educational level, etc.
Surveys and questionnaires involve asking individuals in the community
about their everyday needs. These can be implemented through the
a. Mailing questionnaires to randomly selected members of the community.
b. Doing telephones surveys
c. Handling out surveys during assemblies
d. Posting questionnaires on the internet.
13. To ensure the success of the community immersion, the
students must do the following:
1. Prepare a program responsive to the needs of the community.
2. Uplift the living conditions of the clients.
3. Maximize the resources available in the area.
4. Tap the potential of the clients and give them due recognition.
5. Set intelligent and concrete objectives that affect the lives of the people.
6. Solicit contributions from the pre-planning and planning to the
implementation and evaluation stages.
7. Prepare a complete documentation as a basis for reporting and future
8. Choose projects within the capabilities of the trainees and which will allow
them to gain knowledge and skills and encourage reflective action.
9. Develop a shared commitment with the trainees.
1. Do you think community needs assessments is crucial when delivering/making
outreach programs. Why? Or why not?
2. What in the 6 entries mentioned do you think is the most effective? Elaborate
3. Is needs assessments survey really important? Why do you think so?
4. What in the 3 styles of integration with people do you think you will most likely
5. Do you think, in the future, will you be able to create a community immersion
program? If yes, what do you think you will implement then? And if no, why?