The effectiveness of Community Development Workers (CDWs) as change agents in their pursuit of a holistic approach to development : a case study of CDWs in the Western Cape

Martin, Wilhemina (2014-04)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since its inception the Community Development Worker Programme (CDWP) seeks to promote cooperative governance within the context of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework. In pursuit of a holistic approach to development Community Development Workers (CDWs) strive for effectiveness in their role as change agents. This case study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of CDWs as change agents in pursuit of a holistic approach to development in the Western Cape. This was a qualitative study using participatory action research as a CDW in the West Coast; semi-structured interviews with Dedicated Officials from municipalities in the Cape Winelands Region, City of Cape Town and West Coast Region; focus groups with community members and stakeholders from Kayamandi in the Cape Winelands Region, Eerste River in the City of Cape Town and various towns in the West Coast Region; focus group and semi-structured interviews with Supervisors from the City of Cape Town, West Coast Region and Cape Winelands Region. Questionnaires were completed by Regional Coordinators from the West Coast Region, City of Cape Town, Overberg Region and Central Karoo Region; and questionnaires were completed by CDWs from the City of Cape Town, Cape Winelands Region, West Coast Region, Central Karoo Region and Overberg Region in the Western Cape. The findings of the research reveal that the CDWP has made tremendous progress since its inception. Regional Coordinators, supervisors and CDWs have a very good grasp of what is expected of them as change agents. The responses from the community also revealed much appreciation and support for the work done by CDWs in their role as change agents. The effectiveness of CDWs in their role of change agents in pursuit of a holistic approach to development is rated to be between 6-8 on a scale of 1-10; with ten being the highest. There is room for improvement however as the findings indicate that there are several cases where CDWs experience isolation and frustration and are challenged in their pursuit of holistic development as they are hampered by a lack of adequate resources; a lack of access to budgets; a lack of support, cooperation and political interference from ward councillors and politicians; a lack of understanding, appreciation, cooperation and support from local government and a sense of belonging at local municipal level in many instances amongst others. Although the research reveals that the province is effective in its pursuit of a holistic approach to sustainable community development on the part of CDWs as change agents, the researcher wishes to argue that improved collaboration needs to take place amongst the various levels of governments, government departments, development agencies and the beneficiaries of development themselves to further maximise the efforts and effectiveness of CDWs in their role as change agents. The building blocks of development and the Batho Pele Principles must also be more consistently applied and attentively addressed and diligently implemented by all the stakeholders in the development process in order to improve service delivery and enhance more effective community development to the benefit of the community at grassroots whilst meeting local, national and provincial development targets. The challenge to each of us as change agents is therefore to do our all towards reconstruction, community development and equal opportunities for all. We all have to be accountable and answer the question as to what we are doing concerning community development, namely education; poverty relief; service delivery; etc. in our own communities. We need to acknowledge where we have come from, where we are now and where we are going. Much progress has already been made despite a lack of funding, facilities and resources. More sacrifices must still be made however to ensure a better life for all. The issue is around respect, irrespective of who you are dealing with.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Van sy ontstaan af probeer die Gemeenskapsontwikkelingswerkerprogram (GOWP) koöperatiewe bestuur in die konteks van die Tussenregeringsverhoudingsraamwerk bevorder. Gemeenskapsontwikkelingswerkers (GOW’s) streef na effektiwiteit in hul rol as veranderingsagente om ’n holistiese benadering tot ontwikkeling te volg. Hierdie gevallestudie is uitgevoer om die effektiwiteit van GOW’s as veranderingsagente wat ’n holistiese benadering tot ontwikkeling in die Wes-Kaap nastreef te bepaal. Dit was ’n kwalitatiewe studie met gebruik van deelnemende aksienavorsing as ’n GOW in die Weskus; halfgestruktureerde onderhoude met toegewyde amptenare van munisipaliteite in die Kaapse Wynlandstreek, Stad Kaapstad en Weskusstreek; fokusgroepe met gemeenskapslede en belanghebbendes uit Kayamandi in die Kaapse Wynlandstreek, Eersterivier in die Stad Kaapstad en verskeie dorpe in die Weskusstreek; fokusgroep- en halfgestruktureerde onderhoude met toesighouers uit die Stad Kaapstad, Weskusstreek en Kaapse Wynlandstreek. Vraelyste is deur streekskoördineerders van die Weskusstreek, Stad Kaapstad, die Overbergstreek en Sentraal Karoostreek ingevul; en vraelyste is deur die GOW’s van die Stad Kaapstad, Kaapse Wynlandstreek, Weskusstreek, Sentraal Karoostreek en Overbergstreek in die Wes-Kaap ingevul. Die bevindings van die navorsing toon dat die GOWP sedert sy ontstaan geweldige vordering gemaak het. Streekskoördineerders, toesighouers en GOW’s het ’n baie goeie begrip van wat as veranderingsagente van hulle verwag word. Die reaksies van die gemeenskap het ook groot waardering en ondersteuning getoon vir die werk wat deur die GOW’s in hulle rol as veranderingsagente gedoen word. Die effektiwiteit van GOW’s in hul rol as veranderingsagente wat ’n holistiese benadering tot ontwikkeling nastreef word beskou as 6-8 op ’n skaal van 1 tot 10, met tien as die hoogste punt. Daar is egter ruimte vir verbetering aangesien die bevindings aandui dat daar verskeie gevalle is waar GOW’s isolasie en frustrasie ondervind en uitgedaag word in hulle nastrewing van holistiese ontwikkeling weens onder andere ’n gebrek aan toereikende hulpbronne; ’n gebrek aan toegang tot begrotings; ’n gebrek aan ondersteuning en samewerking en die politieke inmenging van wyksraadslede en politici; ’n gebrek aan begrip, waardering, samewerking en ondersteuning van die plaaslike regering en ’n gevoel van tuis hoort op plaaslike munisipale vlak in baie gevalle. Hoewel die navorsing toon dat die provinsie effektief is in sy nastrewing van ’n holistiese benadering tot volhoubare gemeenskapsontwikkeling aan die kant van GOW’s as veranderingsagente, wil die navorser aanvoer dat beter samewerking op die verskillende vlakke van regering, regeringsdepartemente, ontwikkelingsliggame en die begunstigdes van ontwikkeling moet plaasvind om die pogings en effektiwiteit van GOW’s in hul rol as veranderingsagente verder te versterk. Die boustene van ontwikkeling en die Batho Pelebeginsels moet deur al die belanghebbendes in die ontwikkelingsproses meer konsekwent toegepas, noulettend gehanteer en toegewyd geïmplementeer word om dienslewering te verbeter en meer effektiewe gemeenskapsontwikkeling in belang van die gemeenskap op grondvlak te bewerkstellig terwyl dit aan plaaslike, nasionale en provinsiale ontwikkelingsteikens voldoen. Die uitdaging aan elkeen van ons as veranderingsagente is dus om alles moontlik te doen in belang van rekonstruksie, gemeenskapsontwikkeling en gelyke geleenthede vir almal. Ons moet almal aanspreeklik wees en die vraag beantwoord oor wat ons doen omtrent gemeenskapsontwikkeling, naamlik onderwys, armoedeverligting, dienslewering, ens. in ons eie gemeenskappe. Ons moet erken waar ons vandaan kom, waar ons nou is en waar ons heengaan. Baie vordering is reeds gemaak ten spyte van ’n gebrek aan befondsing, fasiliteite en hulpbronne. Meer opofferings moet egter nog gemaak word om n beter lewe vir almal te verseker. Dit gaan oor respek, ongeag met wie jy handel.

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