By: Gord Cunningham and Alison Mathie, 2002

What Is ABCD?

  1. It is an approach to community-based development, based on the principles of:
  2. Appreciating and mobilising individual and community talents, skills and assets rather than focusing on problems and needs Community-driven development rather than development driven by external agencies

It builds on:

  1. Appreciative inquiry which identifies and analyses the community’s past successes. This strengthens people’s confidence in their own capacities and inspires them to take action
  2. The recognition of social capital and its importance as an asset. This is why ABCD focuses on the power of associations and informal linkages within the community, and the relationships built over time between community associations and external institutions
  3. Participatory approaches to development, which are based on principles of empowerment and ownership of the development process
  4. Community economic development models that place priority on collaborative efforts for economic development that makes best use of its own resource base
  5. Efforts to strengthen civil society. These efforts have focused on how to engage people as citizens rather than clients in development, and how to make local governance more effective and responsive.

How Is ABCD Facilitated?

ABCD is a process of self-mobilisation and organising for change. This process has happened spontaneously in many communities. The challenge for an external agency, such as an NGO, is to stimulate this process in other communities without having the opposite effect of creating dependency. There are a set of methods that can be used, but it is important not to consider this a blue-print, but more as guidelines for achieving community-driven development. We are already seeing variations in how ABCD is facilitated by different NGOs. Collecting stories Organising a core group Mapping the capacities and assets of individuals, associations and local institutions Building a community vision and plan Mobilising and linking assets for economic development Leveraging activities, investments and resources from outside the community

via Asset-Based Community Development — An Overview.