Roles of Community Developer/Worker

Roles of Community Developer/Worker

A community developer may take on a variety of different roles and s/he works with the community. However, in all the roles, the worker always respects the autonomy and self-determination of the community members and does not impose an externally directed agenda upon them. Their work conforms to professional standards and ethics and is comprehensive and systematic in its approach.

Currently, there are few positions that are explicitly named "Community Developer" and it is increasingly more common for managers and employees in a variety of settings to be expected to take a community development approach to their work. There are many opportunities for anyone who is involved with community members to incorporate a community development role into their practice.

In community development literature, the roles commonly ascribed to community development workers are enabler, guide, technical expert and liaison.
Guide: As a guide, the worker helps the community identify their goals and find the means to achieve them.
Enabler: The worker can enable the community in a variety of ways. S/he might facilitate a problem solving process with the community, which could include helping them to articulate dissatisfactions and identify their causes. The worker could also help them to organize and plan their activities and encourage positive interpersonal relationships. The enabler role is most associated with locality development strategies.
Technical Assistant: This "expert" role is most associated with social planning. However, in all forms of community development there is usually some need by the community to access technical support, in areas such as community assessment, media relations, accessing information or project development.
Liaison/Advocate: Depending on the nature of the community and the type of community development initiative it has taken on, there may be a need for the worker to assume a liaison or advocacy role. S/he may be the intermediary between the community and other bodies such as government, institutions or other community factions. The worker may be asked by the community to present their views, access information or negotiate an agreement.

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