The International Association for Community Development (IACD) is the only global multi-disciplinary network for those who work in this field.
The IACD defines community development as:
“A practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes participative democracy, sustainable development, rights, economic opportunity, equality and social justice, through the organisation, education and empowerment of people within their communities, whether these be of locality, identity or interest, in urban and rural settings.”
The definition embodies a set of values that should underpin community development practice, a commitment to rights, solidarity, democracy, equality, environmental and social justice. The purpose of community development is to work with communities to achieve participative democracy, sustainable development, rights, economic opportunity, equality, and social justice.
The IACD identifies eight themes that are common across practice in community development. These are: Putting values into practice; Engaging with communities; Ensuring participatory planning; Organising for change; Learning for change; Promoting diversity and inclusion; Building leadership and infrastructure and; Developing and improving policy and practice.
For a deeper dive into all of this check out the IACD’s Towards Shared International Standards for Community Development Practice.