Community Building

Community Building

Community Building

Our work around the world has show us that people often have the willingness to tackle seemingly insurmountable problems—but simply lack the capacity to do so. Lack of time, resources, skills, and know-how get in the way of finding creative solutions to problems like climate change, environmental health, or damage from natural disasters.

We help communities by bringing together many different groups of residents—ordinary citizens, nonprofit leaders, elected officials, business owners, educators—to identify community issues, prioritize them, and take action to resolve them. We offer training and mentoring to community leaders and connect them to other communities dealing with similar issues to help make sure changes will last over the long term.

Today, we are working with communities in Guangdong, China to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect environmental health, and improve their energy efficiency. We are also working with a network of communities along the Gulf Coast in the United States, helping them realize their visions of becoming sustainable and resilient in the face of future disasters.

Tangible Results

  • We helped city and community leaders in Moss Point, Mississippi come together to create a new vision for rebuilding their city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Today, city leaders are emphasizing sustainablity and regulalry solicit input from residents through two new task forces focused on rebuilding.
  • Troyan, Bulgaria, sits on the edge of a natural reserve and national park that had become a popular recreation area when ISC first arrived in 1992. But untreated wastewater, agricultural runoff, and an uncovered landfill polluted the Beli Osam River. When the Minister of Environment saw the city's solid waste plan created with citizen input, he invited ISC and Troyan leaders to help develop national legislation that required a similar process in each municipality.
  • A lake near Elk, Poland, was biologically dead—it had become so overloaded with nutrients from nearby farms and untreated wastewater that algae blooms had taken over, suffocating plant and animal life in the water. A rotten egg smell pervaded the air. Because we brought people together to help solve the problem, residents quickly stopped pumping waste into the lake and created a comprehensive plan for wastewater treatment. A bright yellow float now aerates the water to bring oxygen—and life—back to the lake.
  • In Labunista, Macedonia, an outbreak of hepatitis struck 95 percent of the village's children. A local doctor, Aladin Demisovski, traced its source to the open sewage that seeped along streets after rains. We helped him bring the community together to address the problem and build support for a new sewage treatment plant in a nearby town. Citizens voted overwhelmingly to assess a $5 tax each month to pay for new pipes—and then picked up their shovels to dig the trenches.

Gulf Coast Sustainable Communities Network

Building on our work in Moss Point, Mississippi, we launched the Gulf Coast Sustainable Communities Network, which is helping communities make informed choices about their future. more

Turning Crisis Into Opportunity on the Gulf Coast

Like its neighbors along the Gulf Coast, the city of Moss Point, Mississippi suffered tremendous devastation during Hurricane Katrina. Today, ISC is helping city officials become stronger leaders, a fledgling nonprofit grow to better serve its community, and the city's poorest neighborhoods—severely flooded by Katrina—engage in the rebuilding process.