ABCD challenges the traditional deficit-based approach that tries to solve urban and rural development problems by focusing on the needs and deficiencies of individuals, neighbourhoods, towns, villages, etc.
ABCD demonstrates that local assets (people, physical assets etc.) and individual strengths are key to ensure sustainable community development, and that people have a life of their own choosing.
At Nurture Development, we’d like to contribute to a different conversation that involves citizens and associations as primary contributors to enduring change that happens close to their doorsteps. A conversation that asks fundamentally different questions:
1- What is it that communities can do best?
2- What do communities require help with?
3- What do communities need outside agencies to do for them?
The ABCD approach helps citizens to find answers to each of these questions. It can also show professionals and institutions how to make better use of the resources that they have access to, and how to support one another to use them to benefit whole communities and greater citizen-led action.
Hence, ABCD is the way to build healthier, safer, prosperous and more inclusive communities from the ground up, with citizens in the lead.
Regardless of how well funded an agency is, ABCD invites them to work beyond their administrative boundaries and understand that people, their families and communities, have unique competencies that cannot be replaced by competent professional intervention. Since the only people who can build community are the people who live sleep and work there.
The starting point for communities, funders, commissioners, and practitioners is necessarily a different one, instead of starting with a focus on what’s wrong, ABCD invites us to start with a focus on what’s strong so that we can use what’s strong to address what’s wrong, and that way make what’s strong even stronger.
That means paying attention to assets that build community connection and power. However, these assets might not always be apparent, in fact they are often invisible. Nurture Development are therefore focused on making the invisible, visible by supporting organisations to use their supportive functions to support indigenous community invention.
This requires some risk taking on the part of the agencies we work with, since they are asked in the first instance to leave their agenda’s off the table, and instead relocate the authority for the setting of outcomes to local residents.
As those who work with communities know, community building doesn’t work well when outcomes are already predefined.