Community development is highlighted as a unique form of practice, with its intrinsic orientation towards democratic and participatory outcomes of collective change, inclusion and equality. There is a need for constructive and effective community development in South Africa as it is the cornerstone of national development. In order for community development to attain full accredited professional recognition, it will require practice policy framework which clearly outlines its scope of practice, its norms and standards – and its code of ethics – related to recognised qualifications in community development all of which needs to be coordinated and facilitated by a registered entity. The South African Association for Community Development (SAACD), a registered NPO, which will build credibility, efficiency and authority for community development by role-players in South Africa to take on the process of professionalising community development in order to achieve holistic and integrative community wellbeing for all citizens. The achievement of holistic and integrative community wellbeing requires a platform mechanism through which all role-players (public sector, NPOs, private sector – and their respective staff members) in community development could effectively collaborate towards achieving an accredited and professional community development structure in South Africa.
Professional and accredited community development is linked to a need for the raising of standards of practice by means of a standardised, cohesive and effective organisation movement – thereby indicating the purpose for the professionalisation of community development in South Africa (Hart, 2012, 58). This professionalisation must be driven by a professional entity (e.g. SAACD) which will ensure accredited and professional community development.
The purpose of SAACD will therefore be, ultimately, to legitimise and professionalise community development practice by expanding the body of knowledge and improving the practice quality norms, standards and ethical conduct – as well as advancing the reputation and refining of recognition and certification (e.g. RPL & accredited qualification obtainment) of persons and/or entities working in community development (Hart, 2012, 60-61). In summary, SAACD will assist with building a reputation for community development credibility, efficiency and authority by following a clear set of objectives which will translate into specific outputs, outcomes (achievement indicators) and overall impact in South Africa.
SAACD, as an NPO, will be concerned with the regulated practice of community development in South Africa within generally accepted professional norms and standards. It will aim at promoting quality assured ethical community development practices, support member rights, and maintain itself as the premier professional entity in the field of community development within South Africa. The premier status of SAACD will be maintained by upholding integrative partnerships and relationships among its members and the state, as well as enhancing the continuous professional development (CPD – e.g. capacity building) of its members to ensure for professional community development within South Africa. The aim of SAACD is supported by the following objectives: