Community development, as with all professions, needs to ensure that the ways in which we look at the world and the ways in which IACD members seek to support communities is as up to date as possible. IACD’s Training and Professional Development Committee, chaired by John Stansfield, includes practitioners and community development trainers with years of experience in this field.
Community development practitioners, agency managers, trainers, funders and policy advisers want continuing professional development support. IACD is expanding this area of its support for members. In 2016 we published a new global definition of community development to ensure some clarity across the world that we are all talking about the same thing. But further that the profession itself stated clearly that we see community development as “a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes human rights, equality and social justice, participative democracy and sustainable development, through the organisation, education and empowerment of people within their communities, whether these be of locality, identity or interest, in urban or rural settings.
Practitioners of community development need to ensure that they are skilled at viewing the community where they are working holistically, recognising the interdependence, interconnections and relationships between various resources in a community, be they human, social, political, cultural, financial, natural or built.
To be skilled at the organisation, education and empowerment of people within their communities, requires underpinning and up to date knowledge about theories of community development, education and organisation, political, economic and social sciences, ecology, humanities and indigenous knowledge and a tool kit of skills for community educating and organising.
To help take this work forward, we have initiated a project to identify and produce a set of international occupational standards and ethics for community development practice. You can find more about this work on the Policy and Advocacy pages of the website.
The new SDG agenda presents challenge and opportunity for professionals working in community development. For too long perhaps some community developers have equated their work with social development programmes, or with somewhat small scale local economic development. Whilst others in our field have engaged more in environmental education and protection. We must bring these insights together if we are to help communities make real world connections between the social, the economic and the environmental. Indeed one should add to that the political and the cultural development role that community development practitioners can play
Our priority from 2016-20 will be to provide learning support to assist members to engage with and understand the SDG agenda.
The Training and Development Committee is currently designing an on-line blended learning IACD certificated programme. More news will be posted about this programme in March 2017.
From 2004-12 IACD supported its members to share and learn from each other the challenges, opportunities and implications of different Assets Based Community Development approaches around the world (ABCD).
IACD supported continuing professional development around ABCD through a programme of meetings and events, including as part of the CIVICUS World Assembly. A partnership between IACD and the Carnegie UK Trust, brought together members into what we called the FierySpirits Community of Practice This programme has now ended, but you can still access a collection of IACD member case studies and other useful teaching and learning materials in our publication, ‘Appreciating Assets’