6: Working with communities

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Communities are places of change, and the community worker needs to be able to be aware of and work at the different levels of change – individual, group and societal. This chapter explores the values of community development which distinguish it from other practice. These values include empowerment, participative democracy, social justice, human rights, equality and sustainable development. We need to critically reflect on these values to make sure they stay real. Asset-based community development and appreciative inquiry are explored as examples here, with contrast made to needs-based approaches. Community development is often seen as local and issue based, supporting the voice of the marginalised. It also needs to have a strategic dimension in order to bring about sustainable change with the increasing emphasis on community resilience.

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