The CDRA - Purpose and Distinct Contribution
The CDRA is a strong organisation with a track record of delivery and acknowledged contribution. Since 1987 the CDRA has assisted organisations that engage the urgency of acute human deprivation and the importance of addressing its societal causes.
Our purpose lies in contributing to the effectiveness and long term efficiency of organisations that do not marginalise but include, that maximise the value of diversity and that counter the tendency to use power to undermine and exploit in ways that diminish creative potential organisations that are empowering in their impact on society and in themselves. Our ultimate purpose is to contribute to building a society that is sustainable and civil. We promote organising principles, processes and practices that promote inclusion, dignity and development.
The CDRA has a very particular approach to development and its practice. We view development as a complex, continuing and innate life process, towards realising the full potential in all life forms. We believe that organisations working in the field of human development and social transformation should be contributing more to innovative thinking and practices that facilitate the development of complex living systems. The living systems we work with are composed of infinitely interrelated individual human elements that have the added possibility of free choice, free will and human agency. These characteristics of the human condition that make social systems most complex and unpredictable are the very ones we seek to enhance and amplify.
We have a strong field practice developed through years of accompanying organisations towards becoming more effective in their development purpose. In support of our practice and our purpose we have located learning at the centre of our approach. The results of our learning and research have been shared through writing, by participating in think tanks and public platforms and through our courses. Our practice is underpinned by essential elements such as achieving sovereignty (owning and controlling your own development), constantly deepening intention and purpose through conscious participatory processes, learning one's way into the future and embracing relationships as the means and end to transform power and facilitate development. We align ourselves to the creative, liberatory and formative roles of civil society.
In practical terms we offer:
- An accumulated body of experience that has great depth and breadth. We have worked mostly in South Africa but also in 22 other African countries and another 12 countries beyond. We have worked with well over 500 organisations in many sectors of development and have established relationships with an enormous array of organisations and practitioners committed to finding ways of being more effective in their social development and transformation purpose. We view ourselves as a credible voice from the South and a connecting point for a large community of practitioners.
- An existing body of writing and publications exploring new thinking and practices commensurate with the demands of transformational development. A website that is much visited and used.
- Experience and skill in facilitating organisational development accompaniment (consultancy) services.
- A range of learning programmes [courses] in aspects of developmental organisational practice.
- A rare source of action research in developmental organisational practice. In addition to being practitioners providing quality services we have always used our experience as a source of learning, and have invested heavily in taking this function seriously.
- A stable organisational infrastructure and an experienced team of practitioners with almost half of the eighteen-person staff having been with the organisation for more than ten years.