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Winrock International

Legacy Project

Community Leaders Empowered with Adaptation and Response (CLEAR)

Funder: USDA Rural Development

Project Timeline: October 1, 2020 - September 30, 2023

Country: United States

Program Area: U.S. Programs 

Contacts: Michelle Perez, and Jaylin Sprout,

Rural municipal leaders are on the front lines supporting their citizens and businesses on a broad range of issues, yet they often lack the appropriate tools for the task at hand. The Community Leaders Empowered with Adaptation and Response project provides technical assistance, training and mentoring to five rural municipalities in Arkansas with the goal of enhancing local capacity to undertake community and economic development initiatives.

Winrock will implement a modular, cohort-based training technique to develop leaders’ capacity. Using a combination of peer-learning, project-based learning, technical instruction, and one-on-one technical assistance, the project will guide participants through reviewing regional and local community and economic data; using data to identify community needs and solutions; identifying and writing grant and loan applications; effectively designing and managing community and economic development initiatives; harnessing technological innovations in entrepreneurship and healthcare; and developing strategies to prepare and respond to public health crises, including Substance Use Disorder and COVID-19, that will lead to stronger rural places and economies. With these tools, leaders will be equipped to make changes in their communities while teaching others these principles to ensure efforts are sustainable and inclusive. This distinctive approach ensures that capacity is built at the local level and supports communities to continue to thrive over the long-term.