Change-making activity and community development aim to promote positive outcomes by creating new work opportunities, training and skills development efforts, and through nurturing the emergence of sustainable livelihood streams.
We use a variety of methods to work with community actors and to stimulate collaboration between communities, business, and government agencies toward an improvement in all dimensions of people’s quality of life, based on our understanding of comprehensive Community Development. This concept is borne of an understanding that to achieve “…socially healthy and economically vibrant communities, and sustainable livelihoods and prosperity…” requires recognition of three realities:
- First, that economic vitality of poor and marginalised communities will not come into being just through the creation of jobs in discrete enterprises. This is essential since household economic resilience across a whole community requires an income increase where possible (earning more money; from jobs, trading, rents etc.).
- Second, that social initiatives are central to community development; it cannot happen only through economic initiatives. A healthy community is characterised by food and nutrition security, decent Early Childhood Development (ECD) social facilities and practices, sports activities, youth counselling and support, safety and protection from gender based violence for women and children, cultural opportunities such as music, art, drama and dance, the flourishing of religious and spiritual practices, poetry and storytelling circles, and new and ancient ceremonies of life.
- Third, that there is always need to change or refine institutional arrangements and the organisational architecture. Key to changing community behaviour and circumstances, whether in economic or social dimensions, is an institutional shift. This might be a matter of making local politics work for the community. It may also involve the creation of new organisational arrangements. We argue that in order for even the smallest ‘project’ to succeed, there needs to be alignment of all organisations across the entire local activity system.
A strong and coherent theory informs our community development approaches, best expressed in the Organization Workshop, which fosters organisational literacy among a large group of participants, while creating the conditions for all social partners to collaborate in activity that improves quality of life in communities.
We employ a range of participatory methods to ensure that communities are able to organise on their own behalf. Every setting is different but it may be possible to sketch a generic approach that can be modified according to local dynamics. Initial consultations in a community, or exposure to community efforts through the Community Work Programme (CWP), church initiatives, and other programmes bring a preliminary understanding of the key organisations and individuals who are visibly engaged in community initiatives.
Local organisations are then asked to suggest participants in a community action research process called Community Mapping. A Community Mapping exercise seeks to get details of community history, assets (strengths and resources), organisational life and interconnections, opportunities and challenges. This enables communities to reflect on priorities, opportunities and desires for beneficial change. Our efforts aim to develop a programme of action that can focus the energies of all social partners. Here, we may propose methods of work that achieve social, economic and institutional objectives.
Our commitment is first and foremost to the communities we wish to assist and we possess advanced competencies in community engagement, mapping of local needs and resources, and opening the way for individuals within communities to realise their innate potential, face socioeconomic challenges and foster vibrant prosperous communities.
Engage with Communities to All Relevant Stakeholders, Including:
- Community-Based Organisations
- Faith-Based Organisations
- Private sector partners
- Other NGOs (Including in health and media)
- Other NPOs (Including research and business affiliations)
- Government departments
- Traditional authorities
Community development work, in:
- Work opportunities
- Enterprise development
- Local economic development
- Agricultural skills transfer