Monday, August 15, 2011

Simple as ABCD…

John ‘Jody’ Kretzmann and John McKnight are the directors of Assets Based Community Development Institute (ABCD Institute) at Northwestern University in the US. ABCD mobilizes struggling communities using resources already at hand and shows them how to work toward positive change.
“Challenging the traditional approach to solving urban problems, which focuses service providers and funding agencies on the needs and deficiencies of neighborhoods, Kretzmann and McKnight have demonstrated that community assets are key building blocks in sustainable urban and rural community revitalization efforts. These community assets include: -the skills of local residents -the power of local associations -the resources of public, private and non-profit institutions -the physical infrastructure and space in a community -the economic resources and potential of local places -the local history and culture of a neighborhood.”
Such is ABCD Institute’s description of the positive features they employ to facilitate successful “inside out” local community development.
Two examples of ABCD capacity building: “Jody Kretzmann partnered with Coady International Institute to help facilitate a week of discussions by community development leaders from Brazil, Ecuador, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Vietnam, Philippines, India, as well as Canada and the US, describing and analyzing their successful community building efforts and sharing strategies and perspectives. These discussions led to the publication of a volume of case studies, From Clients to Citizens: Communities Changing the Course of their own Development.”
Faculty member “Deborah Puntenney worked with Greater Lyons Township, Illinois on their Aging Well initiative for which she designed and implemented an asset-based citizen-engagement project emphasizing healthy aging.”
Visit the ABCD Institute at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy for more information on doing asset-based community development work.