Make a difference with a Career in Community Development
Do you want to make a difference in the lives of those around you? Do you believe in the advantages of having a strong, supportive community?
Empowering a community is a good way to make a difference. It gives you the opportunity to equip people with the knowledge and skills that they need to overcome hardships and build better lives for themselves and their families.
As a community development practitioner you work closely with families and communities to:
- Identify their needs and opportunities
- Empower them to recognise their rights and responsibilities in relation to their community
- Discuss what they want to achieve, and implement a plan of action
- Arrange activities that will generate confidence and motivation amongst community members
- Ensure that the community has their say
- Build links between the various stakeholder groups within a community
- Raise funds for community development projects
- Challenge inappropriate behaviour within communities
What are the working conditions like?
This is very far from a 09:00 – 17:00 office-based job — as a community development practitioner, you will have to actively engage with communities to try to make sense of their issues and struggles. Even though you will be based in an office, you will spend most of your time in and around the communities you work with. Because you will be working closely with community members, you will have to visit them at times when it is convenient for them, which may be during the evenings and/or over weekends.You will also be expected to attend local community meetings to get a better understanding of what the people want in their communities and how you can help them to implement changes that will help them to meet these goals.
What are the working hours like?
As a community development practitioner, you have to be accessible to the community that you serve. This means that your working hours are irregular. You will often be required to work evenings and weekends in order to attend meetings and to interact with the members of a community. You therefore need to be flexible and willing to adapt your schedule as required.
Do I have what it takes?
Can you communicate effectively? Are you an active listener? Can you get along with people from various backgrounds? Are you passionate about making a difference in various communities? If you have answered yes to all of these questions, then a career in this direction might be the right choice for you.
Dealing with sensitive issues such as substance abuse, poverty, gangsterism, violence, and unemployment can be a difficult task. For the most part, the most effective community development practitioners are the ones who are able to empathise with the people they work with, without becoming emotionally involved.
If you feel that you have what it takes to make a difference in the community, you can study a Community Development course to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to become a community development practitioner in either the public or the non-profit sector.
Already qualified? Apply for one of the latest non-profit jobs on Job Mail.