Community Development

Community Projects

Working with communities is about social change, social justice and improving wellbeing of those excluded and marginalised from society. Community development has long been a passion of mine, long before my MSSc in Social and Community development in Queen's University, Belfast UK.  

Often people imagine community development as either developing a group of women in a small village or in more technical and business terms as developing a network. The reality is in between and in some cases overlaps. Often overlooked is also the fact that organisational strategic thinking, planning and reviews are important aspects to the work. It can mean pitching new initiatives and entirely new programmes, researching and exploring new concepts as well as consolidating and implementing plans in a more participatory manner. Integrating participatory action research is also important to create a sense of shared ownership as well as add valuable knowledge to the field. I've worked with a range of actors with a varying ability to mobilise communities for change. In every case, the work has been a rewarding and rich invaluable experience. 

 

Refugee Community Organisations - Malaysia

2017 - 2018 Participatory Action Researcher

During my PhD research project, I conducted qualitative research with 8  refugee-led organisations. In addition to research skills training, I advised on strategic management, project design and networking. The project looked at the concepts of community development and engagement in-depth. I facilitated focus groups and trainings around the topics of organisational change and partnerships. 

Skills:

Legal Participatory Action Research

Liaising with communities and practitioners

Semi-Structured Interviews

Needs/Asset Analysis

Stakeholder/Partnership analysis

Facilitation

Strategic Analysis and Review

Training & Capacity Development

Community Profiling 

Created toolkits and best practice

Project Management

Monitoring and Evaluation

Valorising Voices PhotoVoices

2017 Project leader

I led a team of volunteers to conduct a Photovoice Project. The team was made up of refugees and undocumented volunteers in the Netherlands, UK and Malaysia. I provided training support, funding and resources required for project. The photos was exhibited in the final COST Action IS1306 conference COST Action IS1306 conference New Speakers in A Multilingual Europe: Policies and Practices. 

Skills:

Project Management

Team Management

Photovoice Process

Setting up a Gallery Show

Research

Networking

Managing Implementation

Providing Training

Connecting to academic stakeholders

Liaising with communities and practitioners

 

Migration and Asylum Network

2013 - 2017 Founder

Started a digital platform for practitioners and researchers interested in Migration and asylum issues. Conducted research to expand the network and connected with interested stakeholders. I collected a team of volunteers who supported the daily running on the Facebook group, Twitter and Jiscmail pages. We also hosted events. This was a crash course in virtual team project management. The Migration and Asylum group is still continuing on Facebook. 

 

Skills:

Founder of Start-up platform

Researched and Practiced Digital Community Engagement

Managed a team of volunteers virtually

Created Strategy and regular strategic reviews

Project Management

Networking 

Monitoring and Evaluation

Events Management

Writing and Managing Budget

Liaising with communities and practitioners

Managing Implementation

Creating Visual Materials 

HAPANI

2011-12 Project coordinator

Volunteered at the Horn of Africa People’s Aid Northern Ireland (working with target group: refugees and asylum seekers) 
Community Development and English Language Project Consulted on English language teaching and course development. Participated in meetings with funders, the board of directors and staff to create a new project; budget plan, strategic plan and conducted participatory meetings with board managers and forced migrants.  
Three Steps to Employment Project Consulted on English language teaching and course development. Conducted secondary research to support overall knowledge. Participated in meetings with funders, the board of directors and staff to collaborate and create a new project. 

Skills:

Project Management

Project Review

Strategic Review

Facilitation of participatory meetings

Monitoring and Evaluation

Consulting

Research and Literature Review

Interviews

Community Profiling

Focus groups

Trained in working with forced migrants with trauma

Ballynafeigh Community Development Association

2012 Researcher

I worked with a Belfast community organisation to reevaluate their social media strategy. I conducted a short community research project; 

Creating Social Media Platforms as Shared Community Spaces at Ballynafeigh Community Development Association. 

I  did an organisation-wide review and research project to explore the social media options. The report addition brought up issues in the overall strategic review and organisational transparency in relation to their visibility, service provision and local communities’ needs.  

Skills:

Qualitative Research

Strategic Organisational Review

Report Writing

Literature Review of Digital Spaces and Community Engagement

Liaising with communities and practitioners

Created a participatory scale for digital engagement

Culturalia

2010 -11 Senior Language Tutor

Taught in an English language school, funded by the Mexican Ministry of Education. The school was the enterprise wing of an environmental education NGO. In addition to teaching duties, I worked to improve curriculum development and strategy of the school.

Skills:

Teaching

Bricolage

Lesson and Curriculum Planning 

Teacher Training

Organisational SWOT analysis

Strategic Review and Monitoring and Evaluation

Birmingham Asian Resource Centre

2005 - Case Worker Admin Assistant

I had a year away from my BA and worked in the Birmingham Asian Resource Centre before a short trip to Japan to study Japanese. In this position, I first learned about the issues of asylum.  For the job interview, I was asked to memorise the article 2 of Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1953), this was the first time I read the convention. In this position I worked alongside caseworkers supporting rejected asylum seekers in their appeal process. 

Skills:

Administration of Cases

Transcribing Asylum Interviews

Supporting Research for Case workers

The Llama Express

2003 Journalist

I started an English language travel newspaper in La Paz, Bolivia during a volunteer placement. The newspaper was focused on English speaking expats and travellers to la Paz. I worked with a small team of volunteers to write relevant stories. I helped sell advertising space to local businesses to finance the paper. I also connected with the local community organisations in the distribution of the paper. I returned to the UK to start university. The newspaper ran for 10 years before closing down. 

 

Skills:

Founder of a Start-up 

Organisational Strategy

Journalism and Editing

Advertising 

Monitoring and Evaluation

Connecting with the local community organisations

Working in a Spanish speaking community

Bricolage 

Liaising with communities and practitioners

Managing Implementation

Core Skills in Community Development Practice 

Participatory Strategy 

I first became interested in organisations structures during my MSSc and advised the participant organisations during my PhD on strategic reviews and organisational change.

I have learned to facilitate organisational change meetings, workshops and support a team to conduct a participatory strategic review. 

Impact Measurements, Mapping, Assessments & Toolkits

I have developed participatory tools used to evaluate, map or create impact measures for projects. I have also worked with teams to establish project learning and best practice to formulate toolkits. I am also able to create visually engaging websites, reports and other communications to showcase results. 

Community Profile

I have experience in profiling a community's services, projects, assets and needs in relation to a project goal/objective.  The profile can be used to identify internal or external factors which can act as project obstacles. Community profile's can focus on a PESTLE style/SLOC analysis or on the history, make-up and/or vulnerability factors or a community. Community profiles can be adapted to project needs and objectives. 

Collaboration Events

I have organised a number of types of events for academic purposes but also to support building connections. I recently organised a collaboration workshop for a Rohingya community organisation to support building their networks and partnerships with academic institutions and other organisations. 

 
20180220_125228_edited.jpg

Education and Training

Please take a look at my previous education and training in the fields of politics, community development and law.

Image by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič