The second step in the SPF process is building capacity. Capacity can be thought of as the people, organizations, skills, and resources that are needed to fully address the target problem.
Capacity refers to both resources and readiness.
•What resources (programs, organizations, people, money, expertise, etc.) does a community have to address its substance abuse problems? Resources, or assets, can include individuals, organizations and institutions, buildings, landscapes, equipment—anything that can be used to improve quality of life.
•How ready the community is to accept that substance-related problems need to change, and how ready it is to take action and commit resources to addressing the problems.
Capacity building is the ongoing process of acquiring and improving the necessary skills and resources for addressing the problem. Building capacity involves increasing the physical resources available to address a problem (e.g., funding), as well as improving the skills and abilities available within organizations and the community at large (e.g., through trainings and workshops). It also includes increasing community readiness, so that the community is aware of the problem of substance abuse and is willing to spend resources to prevent the problem. Every individual is a potential community asset, and everyone has assets that can be used for community building.
Improving our communities—making them places where people are healthy, safe, and cared for—is something we can't do alone. Collaborating with other individuals and organizations—both inside and outside the community—is absolutely essential to building healthy communities. Therefore, building and expanding collaborative relationships throughout all levels of the community are also important capacity-building tasks. Individuals and groups who are impacted by the problem or who have the ability to make an impact on the problem are called stakeholders because they have a "stake," or interest, in how the problem gets addressed.
It is important to think about what groups of people, or stakeholders, should be involved in collaborative prevention efforts. In the case of substance abuse prevention these could include:
- Organizations or agencies that implement prevention activities, including administrators, managers, and staff.
- Those who are the intended recipients of prevention activities, including clients, family members, and community residents.
- Program funders and researchers, the specific individuals who are in a position to make decisions about prevention strategies and who are often responsible for disseminating the results.
- Individuals and organizations who can provide support or resources, those that may not seem likely to be directly involved in preventions efforts, but who may, in fact, have important assets they would be willing to contribute towards prevention strategies.
- Individuals or organizations who may oppose prevention activities. It is important to consider the views and opinions of people within the community who may have different or opposing perceptions of the target problem and intended solutions.
PFS and SPF in Hawai'i: Capacity Building
Through PFS, Hawaiʻi’s counties will aim to strengthen the capacity of the substance abuse prevention system in their areas. Coalitions funded by the PFS also will work to strengthen the capacity of their communities to prevent underage drinking and its consequences.
System-wide prevention capacity building was a major priority of the Hawai'i SPF-SIG project. In order to facilitate collaboration among key community stakeholders several advisory councils were formed. The State Advisory Council (SAC) was composed of nine members with diverse areas of expertise (healthcare, law, substance abuse prevention programming, and youth services). A County Advisory Council (CAC) was also established in each county in order to oversee county-specific projects. In addition to these efforts to build collaborative capacity throughout the state, the project also organized several (77 in all) training sessions to build prevention-related skills among service providers in the state. These training sessions focused on capacity-building skills (52%), implementation knowledge and skills (19%), evaluation skills (19%), and skills related to creating and planning sustainable and culturally competent programs (8%).