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What is Community Development?

  1. Community development is a way of strengthening civil society by prioritising the actions of communities, and their perspectives in the development of social, economic and environmental policy.
  2. It seeks the empowerment of local communities, taken to mean both geographical communities, communities of interest or identity and communities organising around specific themes or policy initiatives.
  3. It strengthens the capacity of people as active citizens through their community groups, organisations and networks; and the capacity of institutions and agencies (public, private and non-governmental) to work in dialogue with citizens to shape and determine change in their communities.
  4. It plays a crucial role in supporting active democratic life by promoting the autonomous voice of disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.
  5. It has a set of core values/social principles covering human rights, social inclusion, equality and respect for diversity; and a specific skills and knowledge base.
  6. Good community development is action that helps people to recognise and develop their ability and potential and organise themselves to respond to problems and needs which they share.
  7. It supports the establishment of strong communities that control and use assets to promote social justice and help improve the quality of community life.
  8. It also enables community and public agencies to work together to improve the quality of government.


People want to live in healthy communities.
These are communities in which they:


  • feel able to be who they are
  • have positive prospects for their future
  • experience respect and equal and fair treatment
  • build on the experience of the people who are excluded from the labour market
  • understand from their perspective what knowledges and skills they consider
  • worthwhile learning in order to build a more equal just and sustainable society
  • make explicit the global relations of power that shape education & training, the economy and society
  • act in support of emerging alternatives by increasing the space for alternatives to take hold and become self-sustainable
  • make explicit a new pedagogy for the basic adult education sector


To achieve this people want to be in a community that:

  • creates wealth and gives everyone access to its benefits
  • cares for all its members, when they need it, throughout their life span
  • provides an environment that is safe and attractive
  • enables people to express and celebrate their creativity and diverse cultures
  • enables everyone to participate in decisions that affect their lives