Professionalizing Community Development

Is this the end of community-based activism?

On the 30th of September 2022, Cornerstone Institute is hosting a seminar to discuss the future of Community development in South Africa.  

Over ten years ago, the Department of Social Development initiated a Community Development Professionalisation process with the aim of creating a community development system that consists of knowledgeable and well-trained community development practitioners.

Since the initial Community development professionalisation (CDP) process started, this project which has been licensed by the government has included: the standardisation of CDP skills and knowledge with three professional qualifications; collaboration, buy-in and partnership development of all relevant stakeholders to the professionalisation; and the drafting of a Community Development Practice Policy Framework.

The professionalisation of Community Development requires that practitioners’ practice be standardised and regulated by a regulatory body. So what does this mean for those involved in Community Development for decades? Especially since Community Development has always been considered to be something that can be done by anyone who wants to see a change in their communities.

As a society still coping with inequalities, those who consider themselves an activist may feel ostracised by the new requirements for training and professionalisation of the traditionally organic development sector. The move from occupation to profession could potentially see the disappearance of community activists.

The journey towards professionalisation has gained momentum over the past three decades. The latest Community development professionalisation update is a bill that requires Community Development Workers and Community Development Practitioners to register with the South African Council for Social Services Professions.   

Cornerstone Institute’s vision of offering qualifications in Community Development situates us well to facilitate this discussion. 

The Cornerstone Institute Department of Sociology and Community Development seeks to interrogate and facilitate a discussion on the implications of the professionalisation of Community Development for community activism through a seminar which is scheduled to take place in September.

Cornerstone Institute
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