Idaho Rural Partnership Collaboration
Rural Idaho communities contend with numerous social, economic, and environmental issues, and in response, some communities have undertaken Community Reviews through the Idaho Rural Partnership (IRP) Community Review program. The IRP’s mission is to efficiently and effectively provide the host community with objective information from external community development professionals, create a forum to express internal leadership viewpoints and citizen feedback, recommend resources, and provide follow-up as needed. Thirty-one rural communities in Idaho have been reviewed since 2000. The IRP is a partnership between Idaho Department of Commerce, Idaho Transportation Department, the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, the Association of Idaho Cities, and University of Idaho Extension, along with various federal agencies and private sector groups.
The CRC has been collaborating with the IRP since April 2014 and undertaken a meta-analysis of these community review surveys to better understand patterns and trends in the perceived range of assets and challenges facing rural Idaho residents. Using a mixed methods research approach, the major themes emerging from the community review surveys point to dissatisfaction with employment, continuing education, and recreational opportunities, and satisfaction with health care, police and fire protection, with several elements indicative of strong social capital. However, satisfaction for many survey questions was found to vary by population and remoteness. An understanding of these themes and patterns can support approaches toward enhancing community resilience.