The Malta Community Development Association is still in its first years of operation, and will be celebrating its second anniversary next March.
Community Development in Malta is still a small niche within the social field but is growing rapidly with the introduction of new community services and a Masters degree in Community Action and Development offered in -University of Malta. But, first of all, what is actually community development? and what does it mean
According to the International Community Development Association (IACD) “Community development is a profession based on practice and academic discipline that promotes participatory democracy, sustainable development, rights, opportunity equality, social justice and justice, through the organization, education and empowerment of people in their communities, whether local, identity or interest, in urban and rural areas. ”
Simply put, community development workers work closely with various groups of people and support them to reach their full potential. This process becomes much more complex given that there are often several obstacles to this achievement.
The role of the community development worker begins with getting to know the community you are working with; and to do so he / she draws up key information about the community by making contact and getting to know the members of the community. In order to be effective in our role we are deeply involved in understanding the history of the community and what has made it the way it is today. This involves learning the historical, social, economic and environmental aspects that have influenced the community. During this process our greatest allies are empathy and an open mind that allows us to enter the community. Once this stage is reached then our work will change to create initiatives with the community; but this is something I will get into in the future!
For the time being we are proud that the Malta Community Development Association has been introduced and we have managed to bring together a group of community development practitioners who have decided to bring together like-minded people and learn practices together while supporting each other. Over the last few months we have focused mainly on promoting the community development approach through webinars and social media. This promotion also had the impact of introducing theoretical concepts to on-site workers who were part of community service providers but who did not have such a background. In addition, we are aiming to establish community development as a profession and as a career path within local social service providers.
We are also very proud to say that one of our milestones for 2021 was to become a member of the International Community Development Association (IACD). Through this partnership we look forward to learning more and transferring such knowledge to our local context. Another goal we look forward to working on during 2022 is to put Community Development practitioners on an equal footing with other professions in the social field by introducing a professional warrant for community development workers. We hope that this year will be full of activities, events and achievements for our union.
This article / blog / commentary aims to introduce the role of community development and will present topics in community development with a particular focus on the local context.