Defining Community-led Development

Community-led Development (CLD) is the process of working together to create and achieve locally owned visions and goals. It is a planning and development approach that’s based on a set of core principles that (at a minimum) set vision and priorities by the people who live in that geographic community, put local voices in the lead, build on local strengths (rather than focus on problems), collaborate across sectors, is intentional and adaptable, and works to achieve systemic change rather than short-term projects.


11 Characteristics of CLD

As part of our collaborative research, our members have identified 11 characteristics of CLD.

CLD and CDD?

CLD shares a number of principles with, but is distinct in a number of ways from CDD (Community-Driven Development). In 2015, CDD was defined at the World Bank as “an approach that gives control over planning decisions and investment resources for local development projects to community groups.”


The key difference is that CLD is more focused on building the capacity of the community as a system, while CDD can be an approach to a specific project.

CLD has been described as a “new take” on long-standing traditions of community development. Here is a link to a recent essay describing the differences.