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Validation of learning through reflection

Recognition is a mentor supported process which validates people's learning from reflecting on their practice (paid or unpaid). Recognition is based on the core values of community development and the ESB criteria for community development work (incorporating the 2023 UK CD NOS, the IACD international Standards for Community Development and the UN sustainability goals) which set out the skills and knowledge required to be an effective CD practitioner.

ESB works in partnership with organisations to design a suitable programme to meet their specific requirements and the funding / resources available. ESB can train mentors as well as providing to assessors.

Participants are supported to build a portfolio to demonstrate their reflective practice, and present their work to a panel. Recognition can be awarded at any level (ESB Learning and Certification Framework). Recognition can be undertaken by an individual practitioner but is more commonly undertaken with others on a programme with supporting workshops running alongside the mentoring sessions.

There are three types of Recognition:

Full Recognition

Full Recogntion is designed for experienced Community Development practitioners. ESB set the number of Standards that must be met for each level (2-6). The higher the level then the wider the range of work the practitioner must be able to demonstrate as well as a greater knowledge and understanding of the topic. Participants will also be assessed on their practice.

Baseline Recognition

Baseline Recognition is designed for activists and paid workers who are involved in community based activities using a CD approach. There are no set number of Standards to achieve, the panel will take that decision based on the portfolio and the presentations. Participants will need to have their practice verified. People can achieve Standards at different levels depending on their experience and knowledge, and can progress to Full Recognition at a later date.

Real-time or Project Recognition

Project or Real-time Recognition is designed for people who are undertaking a particular project in the community. Mentors help them to plan the project using CD values, skills and knowledge. Participants will need to have their practice verified. The panel decide on which Standards have been met and at what level.

How does it work?

Participants use current and past Community Development activities to achieve at levels 1 to 6. The appropriate level for each participant is identified through discussion and completion of an initial snapshot of experience. Mentor support, workshops and verification of practice culminate in the presentation of a portfolio to a panel. Recognition is usually undertaken with others on a programme with workshops as well as mentoring sessions. Individuals can also present their own portfolios for assessment. The different types of Recognition can all be undertaken on the same programme as the panel makes the final decision on what has been achieved. Read more about how Recogntion could work for you here.

How to organise Recognition

ESB can offer a number of different ways to organise a Recognition Programme that would suit your particular circumstances. We have worked with regional networks, Housing Associations, locally based community projects, health projects and community centres, to deliver Recognition to paid practitioners and unpaid community activists/ peer mentors/ committee members – all at different stages on their journey in community development.There are 4 main ways that we can help you to deliver a Recognition Programme, and these can have a number of variants and can change over time. Read more about the ways we can Help you deliver a recognition programme here.

Mentors and Assessors

The role of mentor is crucial to the success of Recognition - the importance of the active support they provide to aid the participants learning comes out strongly in any evaluation and discussions about the scheme. In most schemes the mentor will be someone experienced in, and knowledgeable about, community development. Read more about the role of Mentors and Assessors here