Community Development Worker Programme
The Community Development Worker Programme (CDWP) is a national programme, which was announced by President Thabo Mbeki in 2003.
The CDWP was officially implemented in 2005 in the Western Cape, through a learnership programme, with approximately two-hundred (200) community members receiving full-time employment through the programme, spread across the Western Cape.
The role of Community Development Workers (CDWs) is to be enablers, rather than implementers. CDWs act as catalysts between Community and Government by informing communities of the basket of government services to their disposal, while informing Government of Community needs. This required CDWs to facilitate, mediate, create partnerships, network, mobilise, create linkages and empower community members to exercise their rights.
The objectives of CDWP can be found in the Public Service Regulations, 2016 (Chapter 8, p.104-105):
Objectives of the CDWP
108. (1) The objectives of the CDWP are to—
- assist with improving service delivery and accessibility of services to the public;
- assist with inter-governmental coordination both between government line departments and the three spheres of government;
- facilitate community development and stronger interaction and partnerships between government and communities; and
- support participatory democracy.
(2) The CDWP may achieve the objectives contemplated in sub-regulation (1) by—
- regularly communicating governmental and other information to communities in an accessible way;
- providing feedback to government regarding community experiences of service and governance;
- providing early warnings to government of any obvious reduction in service standards or performance that could lead to the collapse or significant impairment of the overall service function;
- reporting any corruption or irregularity that is encountered within any sphere of government, government department, community organisation or private company;
- facilitating government assistance to community projects where required and appropriate;
- facilitating community interaction with public works programmes;
- assisting communities to engage with and provide input into integrated development plans and other programmes of government;
- assisting in the coordination of inter-departmental programmes and programmes that involve more than one sphere of government;
- maintaining communication with community based organisations and initiatives of civil society;
- promoting the principles of Batho Pele and community participation;
- improving community linkages to relevant public entities, non-governmental organisations and private donors;
- monitoring and reporting significant trends within communities related to health, social development and livelihood security as well as the impact of associated development projects;
- performing such other functions consistent with the objectives of the CDWP as may be determined by the CDWP Framework.
- Image caption: A Community Development Worker (CDW), communicating government and other information to her community in an accessible way. Note: this picture was taken prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.