Community Development


The main learning objectives of this curricular unit include:
1. To get acquainted with the main theoretical approaches to the concepts of Community, Development and Community Development.
2. Describe and discuss the basic conceptual and methodological foundations of Community Development Programs (CDP).
3. To confront those foundations with those of the practice of Public Health and of Community Oriented Primary Health Care (COPHC).
4. Acquire competencies to encourage salutogenic approaches and facilitate health gains as part of CDP.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Paulo Ferrinho


Weekly - Se a UC for oferecida como opcional, o horário será disponibilizado no 2º semestre

Total - 40

Teaching language



Not applicable


• Amaro RR. Desenvolvimento — um conceito ultrapassado ou em renovação? Da teoria à prática e da prática à teoria. Cad Estud Afr 2003; 35–70.
• Campfens H (editor). Community Development Around the World. Practice, theory, research, training. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 2011.
• Carmo H. A actualidade do desenvolvimento comunitário como estratégia de intervenção social. Universidade Aberta, Centro de Estudos das Migrações e Relações Interculturais (CEMRI) e ISCSP/UTL. In Actas da 1ª conferência sobre desenvolvimento comunnitário e saúde mental, ISPA, 2001.
• DeSalvo KB. Public Health 3.0: A Call to Action for Public Health to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century. Prev Chronic Dis; 14. Epub ahead of print 2017. DOI: 10.5888/pcd14.170017.
• Ferrinho H. Towards a theory of community development. Juta and Company Limited, Cape Town, 1981.
• Green GP and Haines A. Asset building community development. Sage Publications, Inc, United States of America, 2012.
• Michailof S, Bonnel A. A nossa casa arde a sul. Para que serve a ajuda ao desenvolvimento? Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisboa, 2012.
• Minkler M. Community organizing and community building for health and welfare. Rutgers University Press, United States of America, 2012.
• Murphy FG. Community engagement, organization and development for public health practice. Springer Publishing company, New York, 2013.
• Silva MM da. Oportunidade do Desenvolvimento Comunitário em Portugal. Análise Soc 1964; 498–510.
• Tuchinsky TH, Varavikova EA. What is the “New Public Health”? Public Health Reviews 2010; 32: 25-33.

Teaching method

For the introduction, it is proposed the use of a combination of theoretical and theoretical-practical sessions, with exploration of the personal experience of students and teachers and critical discussion of case studies.
During the community placement the students will be supported by the lecturers and by local tutors, they will be encouraged to work autonomously, and it is expected that students will prepare regular reports and will discuss them with tutors, teachers and colleagues from different community placements.

Evaluation method

Learning assessment will be carried out through the presentation and discussion of practical work, a brief critical reflection on the content of the UC and its usefulness, and a continuous assessment by the UC teacher.

Subject matter

The syllabus will be divided into two: an introductory theoretical-practical period (1 ECTS) followed by a supervised community project (4 ECTS).
The introductory period will focus on understanding:
I. Concepts of community, Development, Community Development, Public Health, Primary Health Care and CSPOC.
II. The process of designing and implementing a community development program.
III. Approaches to DC in several countries around the world.
IV. Context analyzes with a view to identifying the importance of community development programs in responding to situations of crisis and uncertainty in health.
Characterization of practical work:
Based on the concepts covered in the theoretical phase, students will be challenged to design a community development program, starting from a community reality that they know or have lived in the past. It will also be possible to carry out a retrospective critical analysis of a community development project in which they have been involved. At the heart of the program to be developed or analyzed, there should be relevant problems related to the health of the community in question.


Programs where the course is taught: