ICV's Community Development Framework

The completion of ICV’s Community Development Framework is an important milestone where over 15 years of acquired knowledge and experience in community development practice is now documented in a clearly defined framework.

The Framework reflects our commitment to continual improvement in community development practice in Australia. The framework illustrates our work in a cycle of five interconnected areas. A summary of each phase of the cycle is below.

Executive community development staff and a working group of six community development practitioners from across Australia have contributed ideas, techniques and case studies to document the ethos, practice and wealth of ICV experience.

The Framework takes account of what has worked, and what doesn’t, to achieve change that is desired, designed and owned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Our Understanding

A community requested initiative is assessed to determine if it aligns with ICV’s principles: by invitation, community owned, asset based and relationship driven.

We know community development is not a quick fix to addressing disadvantage in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It will take time and it is a collaborative effort from all stakeholders. We build from an understanding that community development is a planned, long-term process based on collaborative partnerships.

Engage and Empower

ICV’s approach encourages participation and works to ensure activities are accessible to all. We take the time to look, listen, learn and monitor the journey. We carefully manage expectations and place a strong emphasis on understanding the community to play to its strengths and assets and ensure community ownership. This positions the community to own and celebrate their achievements along the way and is a sustainable approach to realising their long-term vision. At this phase, we invest time and energy into building lasting relationships built on trust.

Connect and Build

We work with communities to identify and plan the next logical step towards attaining their dream. We work together to clearly describe and define the objectives of each community development project. The community also identifies what the indicators of success are. From there we start to connect and build. This may be connecting existing strengths or assets, strengthening relationships with an existing service provider, developing strategies to encourage community participation, exploring funding opportunities or connecting with a skilled ICV volunteer. These connections are built with the aim of achieving the community’s indicators of success.

Design and Deliver

Careful monitoring and management of community development projects is key to successful outcomes. Collaborating with experts on the design of any given community development initiative brings greater strength and practical advice to implementation. In this phase we nurture the community’s long-term vision through practical action. We know this propagates encouragement and enthusiasm among community members. There are certain things we can do for the community’s dream to grow and flourish: stick to the plan and work towards the objectives, maintain contact with the community, closely monitor the work and make sure the right expertise is in place.

Reflect and Celebrate

This is something we do throughout our time working with a community, not just at the end of an activity. When we work with the community, volunteer or partner organisations to reflect and celebrate, it can bring encouragement and motivation to persevere with the plan and work towards the next step. At the final stages of an activity/project there are additional questions we reflect on to promote continual learning and improvement for ICV and the communities we work with. Once we have collated and analysed the information we identify ways to share or display the information that is meaningful for each community.