The Community Development Resource Association (CDRA) was established in 1987 with the vision to be an innovative contributor towards engendering a just and consciously caring society.
CDRA is a centre for organisational innovation and development practice. It values people’s ability to organise and shape the world, and fosters and promotes innovative organisational forms and practices that seek to transform power towards a just world, characterised by freedom, inclusion and sufficiency.
CDRA’s essential contribution is a practice of social intervention and facilitation that brings organisational, communal and societal systems into healthy conversation, dialogue and engagement. Such a practice enables people to listen deeply and helps them to transform their ways of seeing and doing in their quest for agency and radical social change.
Guided by an emphasis on practice, CDRA’s work includes:
Organisational Development Accompaniment Support – works directly with the lived organisational reality and accompanies organisations and inter-organisational collaborations in the establishment of reflective learning practices and processes, and to become more effective in their social purpose.
Facilitated Action Research – processes aimed at helping those working in complex systems to interact and reach greater understanding and congruence with one another. These collaborative processes are aimed at rigorous peer learning from experience, designed to surface, share and improve practice and generate practitioner voice on matters that shape the social change landscape.
Structured Learning Programmes (Courses) – focus on community development practice, leadership development, monitoring and evaluation, and learning and facilitating writeshops.
Sovereign Evaluations – emphasise reflection, participation and learning with a view to clarifying strategy and improving practice.
Although most of CDRA’s interventions are implemented in South Africa, it works beyond the borders of South Africa and the African continent.
In its 30 years of existence, CDRA has undertaken work in 23 African countries, six Asian countries, three Latin American and nine European countries. CDRA’s work with local, national and global civil society organisations, donor agencies, multi-stakeholder collaborations and, in the last while, government agencies and departments in South Africa, Southern and East Africa, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brazil, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands, forms the foundational basis of its impact and practice.
In total, CDRA has already worked with more than 4000 civil society organisations and social movements and close to 10 000 development and OD practitioners, policy-makers, and community activists and leaders.
As part of its work and outreach activities, CDRA engages various networks, coalitions and strategic partners.
These include the Good Governance Learning Network (GGLN), a learning platform that promotes engagement between civil society organisations and local government authorities; Barefoot Guide Connection, a community of social change practitioners and organisations that seek to stimulate the creation and strengthening of social change practices; BFG Writers’ Collectives, different groups of social change practitioners who contributed to the writing of the Barefoot Guides 1 – 5; Leading Causes of Life Fellowship, an analogously mixed body of individuals with unique talents and places and spaces of life-work that offer opportunities for a unique ongoing engagement with each other; and the Funding Practice Alliance, an alliance of civil society organisations that conducts research and advocates for the transformation of the relationship between civil society organisations and state, business and private funding agencies in South Africa.
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