Theories and Concepts of
Good Local Development

Understand the Theories and Concepts
of Good Local Development.



Early 2024

Next Course Starts

8 Weeks

 (50 hours total)​

Time Commitment

US $597.00



Get a high-quality education on good local development from the comfort of your home?

Understand how the different theories of community development, community engagement, and other fields relate to each other, where they diverge, and what this means for development practice?

Cut out the time you might otherwise spend sifting through different books and articles, to identify the most respected theories & concepts underpinning good local development?

If this sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place.


In this course, you will explore various theories and concepts underpinning local development, how these theories relate to each other, and what this means for local development work. The lessons are broad-ranging, taking you through the various fields of community development, community engagement, community organising, critical development studies, and various participatory techniques.

This course is ideal for students of international and community development, and is also relevant for anyone who wants to take a deep dive into the theories, concepts and philosophies that sit behind local development work.


By the end of the course, you will be able to:

Identify the different philosophical and historical foundations of top-down and bottom-up development.

Clearly articulate key differences between ‘local’ and ‘community, and other related terms, and understand how to map community structures.

Understand the various types of communities that may exist, and implications for good local development practice.

Understand the key differences between mobilisation and community organising, and be able to describe when to apply each of these approaches.

Describe the key features of community development and community engagement and the principles behind working to nurture real local ownership.

Understand the most important participatory techniques, as they relate to different stages of a project life-cycle—from planning to project evaluation.



User-Friendly Site, Structure and Materials.

This course is designed to be as accessible as possible. While everything I teach is based on a strong theoretical framework, the lessons are simple, and focused on practical application. The site is designed to make it as easy as possible to navigate, access materials, and keep track of where you are up to—so you can focus on learning.

Work At Your Own

Although the live course goes for 8 weeks, you will have access for 6 months. This allows you to try out what you learn, return and dip back into different sections of the course as you reflect on the different theories and concepts of good local development.

Access To The Course Convener.

You get all of the benefits of working with the Founder & Director of Bridging Peoples, Dr. Deborah Cummins – giving her BEST teachings, tools, strategies and advice – without having to pay hefty consultant fees or enrol in a University course!

Access to the Community.

Perhaps most importantly, you get access to a community of like-minded professionals. People who, like you, want to really make a difference in people’s lives through their work. And who are prepared to step up, challenge themselves to think differently about their work, and try something new.


As this is the first round for this course, we don’t yet have testimonials from students. However, here are some kind words from students of a previous e-course on good local development


This course is for anyone wanting to learn about the theories and concepts underlying good local development—from students to those who are simply interested in learning more about the philosophical foundations of this work. In addition to core course content, participants are expected to read various texts and articles, and complete weekly assessment tasks with a final reflection paper at the end of the course. Those wanting a well-rounded understanding of theory and practice may also wish to take our entry-level course Principles of Good Local Development. There are no pre-requisites to taking this course.


We are working hard on this course, and it will be live soon. Join our email newsletter and be the first to know when we’re open for business!