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Asset Based Community-led Development

GrowZA applies the principles of ABCD to work with communities, donors and partners to foster social cohesion, livelihoods and to track impact for good. 

 

Asset Based Community Development builds on the assets that are found in the community and mobilizes individuals, associations, and institutions to come together to realise and develop their strengths. This makes it different to a Deficit Based approach that focuses on identifying and servicing needs.

 

From the start an Asset Based approach spends time identifying the assets of individuals, associations and institutions that form the community. The identified assets from an individual are matched with people or groups who have an interest in or need for those strengths. The key is beginning to use what is already in the community. Then to work together to build on the identified assets of all involved.


The first key method of the ABCD approach is that development begins with the recognition of asset categories that can be uncovered in any community and place. When applying ABCD principles communities are not thought of as complex masses of needs and problems, but rather diverse and capable webs of gifts and assets. Each community has a unique set of skills and capacities it can channel for community development.


Asset Based Community Development categorizes asset inventories into five groups, Individuals, Associations, Institutions, Place Based and Connections.

INDIVIDUALS – EVERYONE HAS ASSETS AND GIFTS.

At the centre are residents of the community who all have gifts and skills. Individual gifts and assets need to be recognized and identified. In community development you cannot do anything with people’s needs, only their assets. Deficits or needs are only useful to institutions.

ASSOCIATIONS – PEOPLE DISCOVER EACH OTHER’S GIFTS.

Small informal groups of people, such as clubs, working with a common interest as volunteers are called associations in ABCD, and are critical to community mobilization. They don’t control anything; they are just coming together around a common interest by their individual choice.

INSTITUTIONS – PEOPLE ORGANISED AROUND ASSETS.

Paid groups of people that generally are professionals who are structurally organized are called institutions. They include government agencies and private business, as well as schools, etc. They can all be valuable resources. The assets of these institutions help the community capture valuable resources and establish a sense of civic responsibility.

PLACE BASED ASSETS – PEOPLE LIVE HERE FOR A REASON.

Land, buildings, heritage, public and green spaces are all examples of assets for the community. Every place where people choose to be was chosen for good reasons, and whilst people remain those reasons remain. A place might be a centre of natural resources, a hub of activity, living skills, transit connection or marketplace. Whatever the strengths of a place are, the people of the community will be the closest to understanding it.

CONNECTIONS – INDIVIDUALS CONNECT INTO A COMMUNITY.

Asset Based Community Development recognises that the exchange between people sharing their gifts and assets creates connections, and these connections are a vital asset to the community. People whose gift is to find and create these connections are called connectors. It takes time to find out about individuals; this is normally done through building relationships, person by person. The social relationships, networks and trust form the social capital of a community. ABCD recognises the value of these assets, and is a practical application of building relationships to increase social capital.

There are 5 key aspects to the ABCD approach

  1. Asset Based Approach (outlined above)

  2. Deficit Based vs Asset Based Comparison

  3. Power of Associations

  4. Principles for facilitating Asset Based Community Development

  5. Asset Based Community Development in Practice

Schedule a consultation with us to talk through how the ABCD approach can be factored into your social investment strategy. 

WITH NOT FOR
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Kimathi Mafafo - Umtwalo Wami IV, 2020 Embroidered Panel