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What is Community Development?

Community development is a form of political practice and human service work designed to achieve significant social change.

People involved in community development work to empower groups of people who are affected or damaged by the experience of powerlessness and inequality, Those inequalities may have their origin in the economic inequalities of class, or discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, sexuality, disability or ethnicity. Therefore although community development may often involve working to meet people's immediate needs, it also simultaneously aims to reduce or eliminate the structured inequalities or discriminatory practices which damage peoples lives.

Finally, social movements such as peace, the environment or unemployment are seen as significant to community development workers because they offer the opportunity for major social transformation.

Community development workers hold that democratic participation is the best mechanism for achieving lasting social change. Therefore a primary objective of community development is to establish a situation where ordinary, people can exercise mo re and more control over their own lives at both personal and collective levels.

Central to community development work is the commitment to working with people and communities to achieve change rather than imposing solutions on people. A commitment to democratic and participatory values and practices is essential to community development work.

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