Friday, February 15, 2008

Starting with ABCD...

Assets-Based Community Development refers to a way of looking at a community which emphasises its strengths and capacities rather than its deficits and shortcomings. Assets-based (also known as Strengths-based) approaches also work at the individual level. If I only define people by their problems (they might be unemployed, homeless or drug-addicted), I may miss out on discovering the skills and talents that they have to contribute to the community. Asset-based approaches don't ignore people's needs, but they do allow movement beyond those needs refusing to allow people to be defined by what they lack.

This kind of approach is inherently hope-full because it affirms everyone's capacity to participate and contribute something of value to the community. I also find it totally coherent with my own Christian framework. It's the difference between seeing people merely as sinners or knowing that they are children of God. How can we best uphold the dignity and value of another human being - by only concentrating on their weaknesses or by encouraging them to achieve their potential?

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