It is simply defined as a continuous and sustained process of educating, organizing, and mobilizing people through community participation, action, and research. It is otherwise known as a method of people empowerment and community development through guiding them to build and manage an effective organization utilizing community resources for health care mobilization and ensuring that they are efficiently equipped to be on their own in dealing or resolving their issues in the community.
The essentiality of COPAR is derived from the following basic principles:
• It is to address the oppressed, economically deprived, and marginalized people who greatly in dire for change.
• It focuses on the best interests of the poorest sectors of society.
• It should lead to a self- reliant community.
COPAR as an integral tool in community development follows a systematic and cyclical process. It facilitates the education of the people in part with capability enhancement activities. It nurtures the ability of the society to organize themselves and to emphasize people involvement in the resolution of issues and concerns in the community.
The phases of COPAR are discussed below:
1. Pre- entry phase
It involves the selection of the target community. It should at least include 50 families and criteria are utilized to determine their need for community organizing. Some preliminary investigation is conducted through the use of secondary records and ocular inspection is done prior to emersion. The nurse should first coordinate with the local government unit during this phase.
2. Entry phase
It involves the integration process and the acquisition of relevant information necessary for the conceptualization of the community diagnosis. It is also during this phase that potential leaders are identified.
3. Formation phase
It is the phase when a core group is created – which then be trained to develop their capabilities in leading their community.
4. Organization- building phase
This phase is the most crucial stage since it is during this time that the people are mobilized through the creation of the community health organization.
5. Sustenance and strengthening phase
It is the end portion of COPAR but the most important phase. It is during this phase by which the community and its people are being developed to be self- reliant.
Part of our role in the provision of nursing care is to encourage the client’s ability to be independent and to resume his functions with less assistance. This was emphasized, too by Virginia Henderson in her theory. Thus, it could be delved with that caring also does not only involve the physical caring touch that we offer to the sick ones in the four corners of an institution but also providing care outside it – making much more impact on the needy and the oppressed individuals.