COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SEMINAR OUTLINE
This seminar will explore ways for community development not only to adapt to new contexts, but also to think about our work in new ways, and to help bring about change to a more equitable and sustainable society. Some of the challenges facing community development are the way in which the Internet and social media are changing our ways of relating and of configuring ‘community’, the replacement of economic confidence and the belief in ‘progress’, with an increasingly uncertain global economy, and the environmental imperatives that dictate that the old ways of doing things, are no longer sustainable. This requires us to rethink how we do community development. Is there still any place for traditional ways of working such as door knocking, public meetings, community consultations, needs surveys, and using local newspapers?
The first day of the seminar sought to equip participants with the mindset, skills and tools to support vulnerable and disadvantaged communities in their developmental efforts through the philosophy and practice of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). ABCD is a methodology that seeks to uncover, highlight and utilize the strengths, capacities and resources within communities as a means for sustainable development, as opposed to the traditional community development focus of beginning with problems, needs, weaknesses and deficiencies. Instead ABCD highlights the need to move the focus and starting points from “what’s wrong to what’s strong.” Participants were provided with a range of handouts, including copies of all workshop power point slide presentations.
The second day of the seminar will focused on the questions: How do we understand ‘community’, and how do we engage with people around community issues? Is there any meaning to ‘community’ in the postmodern, risk-averse, globalised world? This part of the seminar will explore how we can engage with people in the reconstruction of community and will include practical examples of ways of working.
This third day of the seminar is designed to put a framework of knowing the resources of the community and understanding their value for the community. It focuses on understanding the link between resources, work and community development and how to work in a way that promotes recovery of the resources and minimizes the risk of ruin. Participants will be encouraged to think about how to apply the concepts to their own workplace, and will leave the workshop feeling more confident in utilizing their skills and experience in the local community.
The forth day of the community development Seminar will introduce a number of hopeful narrative methodologies to respond to communities who are experiencing hardship. These methodologies include the Tree of Life narrative approach; the Team of Life (which involves sporting metaphors); and collectively documenting and sharing the skills and knowledge of communities in dealing with hardship and injustice.
The fifth day: Increasing the social connections and understanding of Haitian systems and way of life. This presentation discussed the new qualitative of methodology of community development. Based on the ‘Most Significant Change’ model, participants are encouraged to express their views of the program and its future impact on the community live. The results reflect important outcomes from the program and highlight the appropriateness of using qualitative evaluative tools which showcase participatory centered information while reinforcing the overall ethos of the model.
The sixth day is reserved for acknowledgments and delivery of the certificate.