Career Building in a New Profession
South Africa’s growth and strength need social cohesion – and that comes through community development. But what do they mean?

In line with the National Development Plan: Vision 2030 (NDP), social cohesion brings people together through coordinating lives in mutual cooperation – economically, socially, in health and in education; to change people from passive acceptance to active input. Communities need cohesion to develop. The challenge for South Africa lies in building a community development capacity which combines the varied perspectives, initiatives, factors and inputs required in a comprehensive professional approach – leading to development and integration.

To meet the challenge there is now developing a multi-discipline, multi-faceted occupational profession. Operating within a high moral code of ethics and driven by trained professionals, this profession will guide communities into an inclusive, self-empowering holistic cooperative development at all levels; one in which the community forms the central focus. The Department of Social Development (DSD) has initiated the process of professionalising community development as a multi-disciplinary occupation in a single career path, all the way up to a Bachelor’s degree at NQF Level 8.

CEFA, a leader in training Social Auxiliary Workers since 2004, is now providing Community Development training at NQF Level 5. Anyone already working in, or who intends working in, any setting relevant to community development should enrol.

Community Development (CommDev) is a unique form of practice orientated to democratic and participatory outcomes of collective change, inclusion and equality, supported by its socio-ecological theoretical justification. CommDev is based on moving citizens towards a more active role in life, on social and economic inclusion, on empowering people to become active champions of their own development – and on effective people / government partnerships towards eliminating poverty and reducing inequalities.

Fundamental to human survival is our need to seize initiatives which will allow us to envisage and realise self-improvement. The National Development Plan: Vision 2030 (NDP) defines development as “…the process of raising….the capabilities of all citizens…”. Achieving community development – and a better life for all – calls for a multi-dimensional, multi-faceted professional approach utilising informal and formal training in a variety of disciplines, in a holistic and integrated professional manner. It is relevant in every sphere of our lives, in every community – and in every government department in their programmes such as War-on-Poverty, Local Economic Development (LED), Extended Pubic Works Programme (EPWP) and Integrated Sustainable Rural Development (ISRD). Building an inter-connecting and interlocking network between the varied inputs, disciplines and people that together add up to community development is a basic necessity for achieving betterment through a professional approach.

Community development affects different people in various ways through a number of factors – hence its multi-dimensional nature. Policy makers, service providers, groups and individuals need to make common cause in enhancing community development. National and Local Government, non-governmental and non-profit organisations (NGOs & NPOs), professionals and other organisations need to come together in a concerted effort to support the professional approach that is needed to make community development effective.

Why do we need a new profession?

The need for this profession of community development arises out a need to raise the capabilities of all citizens – deriving from a previous lack of a common perspective, poor coordination between different bodies, inadequate subject knowledge – and inappropriate training support for community practitioners and organisations. To this end the Community Development Professionalisation Steering Committee (CDPSC) was established in 2011. Professional recognition, through an Organising Framework for the Occupation (OFO), will be achieved through outlining a scope of practice, norms and standards, along with a code of ethics and a framework of legislated qualifications. Professionalisation will assist in building a
reputation for authority, credibility and efficiency.

Read more about the CDPSC at

How will we get there?

A defined migration path from past and current qualifications is being set up. SAQA qualifications at NQF Levels 4, 5 & 8 will ensure standardised skills and knowledge for Community Development Practitioners (CDPs). A strategic collaborative approach, incorporating all stakeholders, will replace fragmented limited resources.

What will we achieve?

Becoming a CDP will empower you with the competencies to add value in guiding and supporting individuals and organisations (both emerging and existing) so as to achieve their community development goals and objectives. You will gain competencies needed to identify community needs, to work with communities and households, to identify and facilitate community projects for social change, to improve the quality of life of communities in an integrated and sustainable manner – and to mobilise resources.

You will also be opening up employment opportunities in the public sector, in NGOs and NPOs – and in the private sector. Your acquired competencies will assist you in contributing to improvement of the quality of life in communities – and for the people in them.

How will CEFA contribute?

Since 2004, when CEFA was established as a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) entity, CEFA has become a well-known leader in the field of training Social Auxiliary Workers (SAWs). Now CEFA is going further by providing CommDev training at NQF Level 5 for dedicated professionals.

CommDev Training by CEFA

CommDev training at NQF Level 5 is formulated on our well tried 1/3rd / 2/3rds theory / practical training programme approach, with emphasis on class discussion and reflection; the course lasts 18 months. The competencies embedded in the set of Unit Standards that underpin this new NQF Level 5 training qualification will open up opportunities for qualifying learners to enter into a number of employment opportunities. Acquired competencies will assist the qualifying learner to contribute further towards the quality improvement of community well-being. From NQF Level 5 the way is opened up to being able to gain a Bachelor’s Degree at NQF Level 8.

A broad range of learning is covered – that includes the application of ethical principles for the practice of non-discrimination, the use of language and communication for learning, understanding the concept of human rights and democracy and their application in society, facilitating community development
interventions, assessing the process of community development, monitoring community development projects budgets, facilitating learning in a community context, leadership in a work context, legal and
regulatory frameworks in a community context, organisation policy development, negotiation in conflict situations, network coordination for meeting community needs, supporting collaborative and partnership work with and between stakeholders and sectors, recruiting and inducting and managing volunteers – and planning and conducting research that redresses social development issues.

Details of our training programme – and how to apply – are available under Our Courses on the CEFA website. We can generally provide training to all who need it across all nine provinces, at the workplace and in the classroom, where and when it is needed. Our clients who recognise the value of this training include private sector employers, NGOs and NPOs, Government and its Departments, as well as individual learners themselves – often with donor funding support. Our success rates are high.

For all who seek a rewarding professional career in community development, CEFA provides a key to unlock the door.