Outline of Training Programs

CSR strongly recommends organisations interested in community engagement and development undertake a training program of professional development. A Program ie a series of courses, has far greater impact on policy and practice than a one off course. Obviously after each course there is a review where you can evaluate your position and decide on future courses. The following is the CSR program of initial courses. Other courses are available and can be tailored to suit your organisation after the initial foundational Course One. The courses have an accompanying workbook that describes each of the central concepts and sets out possible exercises. The workbooks are not stand-alone documents but are able to be used as a resource after the course has been completed.

COURSE ONE: Building The People Centred Approach: Dialogue for Community Engagement

This is a four day foundational course designed to introduce personnel, charged with the responsibility of working with communities, to the core professional knowledge and skills of community development practice. The Course has five modules, the first four designed to accompany classroom training and participation, the fifth as a take-away resource. The following is a brief description of each Module:

  • Module One: A People Development Perspective: In Module One we provide a common ground and viewpoint from which we can explore ‘development’ work. The term development is contested and has many meanings. In this Course we don’t wish to deny or disqualify these different meanings but rather to consolidate a common meaning for the purpose of the Course. We examine the nature of participatory development and the particular “dialogical” tradition on which this Course is based.
  • Module Two: Dialogue: In Module Two we explore and practice the principles and skills of dialogue which are the foundation of good community relations practice. The material of this Module is foundational, not only for this Course, but for other core elements of community development practice and for a broader professional development in community relations.
  • Module Three: Techniques in Community Dialogue: In this Module we demonstrate how social technique relates to and enhances the accuracy of dialogue. There is a repertoire of techniques offered including those associated with conflict resolution, problem solving and communication.
  • Module Four: Site Applications: Although the processes of site application of this material is encouraged in all modules, Module Four puts aside time for a full and demanding case study exercise to test the grasp of the central principles and skills taught in the Course.

COURSE TWO Working with Communities – a Methodology of Engagement.

This is a more advanced exploration of community development practice for those staff who are directly responsible for working with communities and who have completed the foundational Course. It is usually delivered over 3 days.

  • Module One: Building Constructive Relationships –Micro Method: In people centred development, workers purposefully build relationships that have particular qualities necessary for the success of the work. The structure and process of dialogue is central to the task of building those qualities in the relationships. Although this material is covered exhaustively in the foundational course, we have quite deliberately revisited this material with an explanation of the levels of the work as the beginning point of this course because of its foundational nature. People development work builds on dialogue and making that connection explicit cannot help but be beneficial. If the material has already been successfully incorporated into the practice routines of the participants, the training session will move quickly to Module 2.
  • Module Two: Forming Participatory Groups – Mezzo Method: This module will introduce you to the second dimension of development practice, that of mezzo method, in which the focus is on forming and strengthening participatory groups capable of taking action. The process involves bringing together the individual strengths of the participants and weaving them together to maximise and multiply the good of the whole. In this module we will explore the practice principles of mezzo method and show how development workers build groups of people so that the individual is supported and strengthened and the work as a whole made stronger and more sustainable. Building such groups is a reflective journey in which the people involved understand and appreciate their points of connection, make decisions and take mutually beneficial action. The process of mezzo method is not separate from micro method but is but another part of the participatory development process.
  • Module Three: Establishing Strong Organisations – Macro Method: A common description of development work is that it is slow, very slow. Whilst this can be true, it is perhaps counter-intuitive to acknowledge that a common error in development work is to move the process too quickly. Pressures from funding authorities with strict timelines together with the need for program outputs and impacts and everyone wanting ‘the quick fix’, combine with the natural desire of participants to get to their end goals. More often than not it is these combined influences that determine the speed of the development process rather than the ‘people’ factors such as achieving the required level of skill or securing regular and sustainable resources to continue the work. If too many steps are left out in the rush to finish, the development process inexorably moves to disappointing failure. Workers need to understand the reasons that underpin why this build-up is necessary and the actual methodological steps required to undertake it. Moving a mezzo method small group process into an organisational configuration too quickly, that is moving the process from mezzo to macro levels, inevitably means that the organisation will reflect a social institutional form rather than a participatory form and it will lose the developmental qualities that give it energy. The developmental process requires this methodical and bottom-up process to achieve organisational status, whether that is the pinnacle of mezzo method expressed in a people’s organisation or the pinnacle of macro method which finds its expression in a registered community organisation. The establishment of a community organisation should be a mature stage of a developmental process not, as which all too often happens, a beginning point of a project.

COURSE THREE Managers Leading Development Practice

This is a Course that introduces line managers to the major staff and community issues that they face in carrying out the community relations function of the Company. The course is made up of three modules.

  • Module One is foundational. The first module locates the community relations function in the company by exploring both its connection to and difference from a public relations role and the particular contribution of participatory development in the alleviation of poverty. This first module also explores the different levels of professional intervention necessary for successful work and makes reference to those areas of training that their key community staff should have exposure to if they are to achieve competent professional practice.
  • Module Two shows how to build a work profile that correlates with a community agenda and which will have maximum impact. The different types of organisational structures that are required to make work in the community sustainable are named and explored. The final part of module two focuses on key management issues pertinent to the professional supervision of community development personnel.
  • Module Three opens up space for participants to discuss difficult issues that face development workers and their managers. The module starts with consideration of some universally difficult issues such as the problems and conflicts associated with race, gender, class and a colonial heritage. These issues are used as examples of drivers of social problems and some ideas from previous practice are shared about what can be done about them. The central purpose of the third module is for participants to discuss the particular drivers that spoil their current work.
  • Anniversary India 2015

    See the World through different eyes!

    An anniversary travel experience for
      • Those who have travelled with us previously
      • Reliving some of the excitement of the CLP trips
      • Meeting old friends and partners in India
      • Catching up with where Development thinking is at

    NOVEMBER 2015


    If you want to see the cities & sights, be inspired, see some solutions to poverty and injustice, experience the culture and village life, and travel with others you can talk to, then you may be one of those who would enjoy our ANNIVERSARY JOURNEY TO INDIA.

    This is a unique 18 day travel and learning journey. It is designed for those who have travelled with us over the past 20 years and are keen to reconnect with India, catch up with the development thinking currently as well as Indian friends and guides, and travel with like minded people keen to enjoy each others company. We also welcome partners or those who are coming for the first time seeking a personal experience that covers both urban and rural  India. It will gently open you to the culture, people and development issues in modern India.

    Join us on a journey of a lifetime as we reconnect with people and together experience and discuss India …development …social issues ..life.

    Information on details and costs

© 2011 The Centre for Social Response