All the individual members of the CHRC have a community development program. Community development is a strategy involving partnership with community members to solve problems and build strength, self-sufficiency and well-being.
Community development is a process through which all members of the community gain an increase in control over their lives, as well as the life of their community, by achieving equal access to participate in the collective decisions about issues that matter to them. Through ongoing support, training and opportunities for civic engagement, community members are empowered to participate fully in developing and implementing strategies to achieve positive change.
The primary outcome of community developments is improved quality of life. Effective community development results in the mutual benefit and shared responsibility among community members.
CHRC Community Developers (CD’ers) are the key staff facilitating social change and capacity building. CD’ers work with a broad range of communities including place-based communities (e.g. CDF activities in various settings including neighbourhood and rural community work) and communities defined by common interests/needs (e.g. youth, seniors, cultural groups), and communities of practice (e.g. internal inter-disciplinary teams and external cross-sectoral initiatives).
The Community Developers Network (CDN), with funding support from CDF, embarked on a process to is develop ‘Guiding Principles for Community Development (CD) Practice’ that clearly articulates what is involved in the broad spectrum of CD work.
CHRC’s have a varied approach to CD work based on funding structures and communities served (e.g. urban, suburban, rural, specific vulnerable populations). As a result, each centre defines the CD role(s) differently (e.g. job descriptions and titles). It is intended that the Guiding Principles for Community Development (CD) Practice’ will apply to any staff person with a community development function regardless of title/job description
Guiding Principles for CD practice:
The framework below highlights four core principles that define the work of CD.
• Challenging Systemic Inequity & Power Dynamics & Supporting Empowerment
• Responsive to Community
• Transformational Practice
• Partnership & Collaboration
These principles are strongly inter-related and as such are used in all CD activities. Depending on the activity, one principle may have a greater focus, but the other principles are still considered when planning the most appropriate approach.