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General - November 2, 2016

IACD: Fostering community-driven development

Recently, the Nigeria chapter of the International Association for Community Development, IACD, the UN-accredited global network for professional community development practitioners, held its annual conference

IACD Nigeria Conference delegates pose for a group photo

By Adam Alqali

Between 11th and 14th October, the Nigeria chapter of the International Association for Community Development (IACD) held its 4th annual conference. The conference, which coincided with the 3rd National Community Development Consultative Conference was held at the campus of Kwara State University, in Malete, north central Nigeria.

The 4-day conference which was themed: “Facilitating Community Development through Institutional Engagements” was organized jointly by Institute of Community Development Practitioners of Nigeria and the Centre for Community Development of the Kwara State University.

Speaking about the objectives of the conference, Muhammad Bello Shitu, a professor of community development and global vice president of the Scotland-based International Association for Community Development, IACD, said it was among others, meant to provide opportunity for all IACD members to know each other.

Shitu added that the conference was also aimed at “creating a platform for promoting the ideals and goals of the IACD in Nigeria and Sub Saharan Africa; discuss ways of promoting community development roles of tertiary educational institutions.”

On Tuesday, October 11, 2016, as part of pre-conference activities, the Nigeria chapter of the IACD and the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA) jointly hosted a sensitization rally in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara state, in commemoration of the 2016 International Day of the Girl Child.

Plenaries commenced the following day and which featured two plenary sessions and six concurrent track sessions that addressed issues around education and community development; peace, conflict and disaster management; health sector, welfare and youth development, among others.

The conference’s two plenaries saw the presentation of research papers around community institutional engagement; participatory policy development; standards for community development practitioners as well as community self-help groups, among others.

On the other hand, the concurrent track sessions saw the presentation of research papers around community engagement as key issue for community development; social welfare education as a means for facilitating community engagement; as well as needs assessment as a necessity for effective community service.

Furthermore, the track sessions also discussed issues around how effective primary health care could be achieved through community involvement; media as an effective tool for stimulating community engagement as well as the use of information communication technology (ICT) resources as vital tools for effective communication and trainings in community development.

At the end of the four day conference, a number of resolutions were made by participants including the adoption of the new IACD (2016) definition of community development; the need for a minimum academic standard for the training of community development practitioners in Nigeria as well as the need for community development clubs to be introduced at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education in Nigeria.

Additionally, the conference resolved that there was need for students and staff of community development in higher institutions of learning in Nigeria to be more proactive in community service as well as the need for communities to be actively involved in policy formulation as well as implementation of community development programmes.

The IACD conference further resolved that ICT potentials and skills be explored in the training of community development practitioners; community development practitioners should encourage preservation of community resources for sustainable community development as well as the need for appraisal of community needs at all levels of community engagements including the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

For the practicality of the above resolutions of the conference, the IACD conference recommended that IACD Nigeria work towards developing minimum academic standards for the training of community development practitioners in Nigeria; Kwara State University introduced degree and professional programmes in community development to enhance manpower development.

The 4th conference of the Nigeria chapter of the International Association for Community Development, IACD, resolved that the 2017 conference of the Nigeria chapter of IACD will hold in Kano state, north central Nigeria.

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