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Opportunities for Community Development Specialists in SIL

Also known as Intercultural Community Work, ICW is SIL's approach to community development with vernacular literacy as its foundation.

What does a CD specialist do?

"How do you know your role as CD Specialist was successful? You’ll know when the people you worked with are more able to develop their own communities."

What is special about a CD specialist?

The kind of CD specialists we need are process specialists—people who understand the process of development and can work with people to facilitate that process. They need to love people and be willing to listen, to learn, to help others in a respectful way. Beyond these attitudes and people-skills, it would be helpful to have some knowledge of technical things like growing a garden, building a house, fixing an outboard motor, setting up a water system or community health services. However, more important than technical know-how is the ability to research and network to help a community find the particular technical expertise it needs.

CD specialists should especially be able to:

Since few of us meet the ideal described above, successful CD specialists need to be able to work in teams and rely on the strengths of others.

Training offered

SIL trains its volunteers. CD specialists need the equivalent of two semesters of training in language and culture acquisition, anthropology, program planning and management, and intercultural communication and training. These are available at our SIL schools. Certain assignments require additional technical training and/or internship.


In SIL there are three broad roles for people who specialize in CD:

How can you become involved?

Contact the ICW Coordinator at 972 708-7400 x2352 or by for more information.