Sitting (left to right)
Bishop Henry Kontor (Director of Institute for Community and Development Studies - ICDS) and Dr. Geoffrey Copland, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, University of Westminster

Standing (from left to right):
Bishop Susana Amartefio (ICDS), Dr. Peter Davies (School of Integrated Health, Univ. of Westminster), Rev. Dr. John Agbenorto (ICDS), Dr. Margaret Blunden (Dean of the Faculty of Business, Management and Social Studies, Univ. of Westminster), Dr. Geoff Wykurz (School of Integrated Health, Univ. of Westminster), and Bishop Diana Owen (ICDS)

Picture on 27 June 1997, at the Vice-Chancellor's Office, on signing a training partnership

As early as 1993, ICDS sought to address the issue of what then was known as Economic Empowerment- which is today identified as Economic Capacity Building. In 1994, the Institute sought to examine prospects, at the very foundational and also at inter-community levels. The Institute assigned a senior Methodist Church Minister to visit Ghana and examine potential and suggest some practical ways forward. A report was produced, and recommendations have been taken further.

In 1995, the Institute organised the Inter-Atlantic dialogue on Community Capacity Building with Professor Deotis Roberts of US (on the occasion of his travel to the UK to receive a doctoral award from the University of Edingburgh). The dialogue was in the form of seminars and workshops. It produced far-reaching effect in the thinking of the participants, particularly with project/programme leaders.

In the same year, the Institute launched a community worker scheme. The Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland (now Churches Together in Britain and Ireland) was consulted on the desire to establish a Community Participation Deacons Programme. This was implemented in 1996, and has since been carried forward.

In June 1997, the Institute reached a partnership agreement with University of Westminster for post graduate and community development training. This agreement opened the way for the other possible collaborative ventures.

In the same year, the Institute was given recognition by a UK national Church body to serve as a Centre for training, assessment and certification of Christians who seek to be licensed as Community Participating Deans and Community Participating Associates and Assistants. The recognition and licensing are now carried through the authority of the Apostolic Congress of Great Britain.

Countries visited by the Institute for community capacity building purposes include USA, Malaysia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Italy, Ghana, Pakistan, India, Uganda, and Tanzania. The studies at the Institute is extended to applicants from these countries. Prospective project leaders from other countries may also apply to study or train at the Institute.

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