GSLL 1501 - Approaches to Community Development

  • 2 CEUs
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This course provides a framework for community development based on a participatory, bottom-up, multi-sector model. Various approaches have been used in community development with varying degrees of success. One approach that has consistently demonstrated effectiveness is the Village Earth model based on participatory practices.

Through personal and structural empowerment, the objectives of economic well-being, environmental sustainability, and socio-cultural vitalization can be met. By looking at an overview of the entire development process and using case studies, this course will prepare participants to work in the field of community development and illuminate how all of the development efforts fit together to support the overall goal of sustainability.

Upon completion of this course participants will be able to:

  • Compare different development approaches and evaluate their effectiveness.
  • Understand the basic principles that underlie sustainable development.
  • Incorporate participatory practices into community development activities
  • Design a development project based on the Village Earth model

Who should take this course? This course is suited for people who are interested in community development and work or plan to work in this field. This includes people working or volunteering at NGOs, NPOs, governmental organizations, without border organizations, or missionary organizations. In addition, people involved in funding community development projects benefit from this course.

All required reading materials for the course are available online.

Noncredit courses do not produce academic credit nor appear on a Colorado State University academic transcript.

Important Information

Due to the condensed time frame for this course, students cannot withdraw and receive a refund once the course begins.


Luminita Cuna

Luminita Cuna has a Master of Science in Sustainable Development with focus on Environmental Management from the University of London/School of Oriental and African Studies. Her Master's thesis researched the impact of conservation policies on protected areas in the Amazon and their effects on the indigenous people that live in these areas. Luminita worked for 10 years in Information Technology, including at the United Nations. She studied International Economics and French at Mount Holyoke College, where she earned her BA. Luminita holds a Graduate Certificate in Management of Information Systems and a Professional Certificate in Journalism, both from New York University and a Sustainable Community Development Certificate from Colorado State University. Luminita is the founder and director of Maloca (a Village Earth affiliate), a grassroots support organization that works with indigenous communities living in the Amazon basin. Luminita has been working with indigenous communities in the Amazon since 2006.

Pilar Robledo

Pilar Robledo is originally from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City and returned to Colorado in 2014 after nearly two decades of field work in Central and South Asia (literally, every one of the seven “stans”.) She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Kyrgyz Republic, worked for IREX—the International Research and Exchanges Board, as the Regional Director for Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and the Kyrgyz Republic, aka Kyrgyzstan), and then with the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, UNHCR in Pakistan and Afghanistan mostly working with the Afghan refugee population on education, registration or survey projects. She received her B.A. in Latin American Studies and Anthropology from CU Boulder, and her MPA from CU Denver. She speaks English, Spanish and Russian.