Federation for Community Development Learning
Federation for Community Development Learning

FCDL AGM & Day Conference, 4 December 2013, Sheffield

Ideas for promoting and delivering diverse perspectives and experiences in community development action and learning


Continuation of thoughts and ideas from discussion between:

Maxine, Madeleine, Victoria, Alan, Jim, Dean and Susi

The people above were workshop participants at FCDL’s AGM and Conference December 2013.


Rationale: an informal working group is needed to succinctly and quickly develop a framework and body of evidence promoting the value and potential impact of a co-produced strategy for community development action and learning.


We need to explore ways to nurture and resource community development action and learning initiatives which respond to the dialogue and analysis arising from inter-community dialogue and analysis.


A framework to connect


Use an approach which takes a structural analysis approach to overcome the barriers that are facing the most marginalised and excluded communities across different contexts. We need to acknowledge the different types of barriers which communities face:

  • Structural barriers: These types of barriers include issues obstructing or discouraging the ability of individuals, groups and specific communities to have and maintain health and wellbeing. When looking at the principle of lifelong learning community development based action and leaning should challenge non-flexible learning and development opportunities or lack of access to adequate funding. Our collective actions need to change understandings and percep­tions (by promoting available options more widely) or introducing operational changes to overcome these barriers facing communities.
  • Barriers to people reflecting specific perspectives: These relate to social structures and systems which create social exclusion and injustice based on factors such as race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, class etc. Action should develop awareness-raising activities and learning options suited to the needs of diverse perspectives while supporting links between experiences, outlining the link between community action and every-day community experiences.


Community development action and learning objectives:

  • Outline the lessons and value of diverse perspectives
  • Develop a comprehensive CD A&L campaign plan
  • Align goals with wider agendas
  • Develop a community development field identity
  • Encourage the experience of learning from the experiences of being in communities
  • Use different ways of learning (size, type and themes)


Identify target groups:

  • Thorough research based on evidence based practice of specific target groups
  • Outline the social injustice and exclusion issues addressed through CA&L
  • Encourage new opportunities for connections across and between communities
  • Take account of community generated ideas and views
  • Target learners current, potential and supporters of CD learning
  • Develop activities for marginalised groups
  • Involve policy makers at each stage of strategic development


Tools and methods of CD based CAL:

  • Think outside the box when identifying partners
  • Create tools to support action, analysis and learning as part of actions for social change
  • Push stake­holders to take up leadership roles
  • Use role models
  • Appoint social ambassadors
  • Use CD practitioners, community development organisations and learning providers to promote CD Action and Learning (CD A&L)
  • Include adult education in other policy agenda items


Explore funding and resource sources:

  • Define what CD Action and Learning is based on experience
  • Highlight existing experience and knowledge held about
  • Generate case stories and studies to encourage critical thinking
  • Identify multiple sources of funding and resources
  • Pool resources to reduce costs


Build and communicate a clear message:

  • Highlight an approach to building longitudinal analysis of diverse community experiences of the current context
  • Promote community led and defined approaches to inclusion and social justice
  • Identify multiple sources of funding
  • Pool resources to reduce costs


Co-ordination strategies:

  • Integrate your campaign within broader initiatives
  • Ensure your campaign has one identity
  • Create different levels of networking of experiences
  • Aim to build capacity
  • Build a common understanding
  • Allow suffi­cient time to create impact
  • Become an accredited provider


Link to a wider community development movement:

  • Create CD Action and Learning evi­dence-based strategies
  • Centralise campaign but decentralise implementa­tion supporting CD A&L
  • Create incen­tives to make community development meaningful, accessible and sustainable
  • Embed community development action and learning by stealth
  • Enlist learners to promote and make commitment from learners
  • Recognise, acknowledge and reward achievements
  • Provide support during and after activity


Communication and promotion:

  • Do not limit innovation to only the activities – demonstrate outcomes from the process of community development
  • Highlight soft skills examples
  • Encourage each ‘co-producer to cascade internal communication channels
  • Involve learners themselves in promotional activities
  • Build lasting relationships with the media



FCDL December 2013

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