Development Practice in Motion

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A report by Mariette Williams

“Don’t just sit back after a course. You (trainers) must follow us to our organisation to see if we can do it. Maybe we just enjoyed the lunch and tea!”  –  Development Practitioner in Guguletu, 23 May 2007

For the uninitiated, the development practice project is an attempt to establish how the capacity of community based organisations (CBOs) can be build, effectively and sustainably! Tall order, especially with so many NGOs making capacity building of small CBOs their main focus. This project started off by setting competence standards with community development practitioners in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. 12 Standards were identified and this year the project and its partners, WC-NACOSA, AIDS Consortium and Community Connections sought to verify 3 competence standards by June 2007. Interviews were held with 14 development practitioners in the Cape Townships, and Johannesburg. A full report on the interviews and practitioner insights is available on request.

“I would like it (competence certificate) but you must also check I do it. It’s very important to visit and see to my books and see that I doing what I have to do. …If you can look at my work and then you can see how I work and advise…”   –  Development Practitioner in Nyanga, 23 May 2007

The competence standards were revised and the project is currently helping partner organisations align their materials to the standards. This development of materials and the next round of interviews are currently underway and will be completed by November 2007. Premilla Pillay and Justine Jowell, two very competent development practitioners, are assisting and the hardworking Manda Mabeba is offering office support. The above shows the Hope for Life staff, Gerard and I in Johannesburg.