News24 reports that there is hope that a new professional NGO qualification will give community workers the skill set to make an impact on social problems at local level. “Solving social issues is often complex and multi-layered. By doing post matric training in community development, such community leaders can begin to engage with social problems at a deeper level, but without compromising the validity of their lived experience and the deep knowledge and experience they have as people living in communities,” Joan Daries, programme manager at Community Chest, told News24 about the new qualification.
The higher certificate in community development is not simply a synonym for a service diploma – it’s intended to specifically address the needs of vulnerable groups. While it will be offered at South African universities, funding will come from Community Chest with the support of the National Lotteries Commission. Course participants will complete the qualification over two years, part-time, and Community Chest has provided scholarships of R32 000 each for an initial group of 30 students.
by Duncan Alfreds