Nurture to grow

It Takes Courage

To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left largely untried. That is true at least in the professional fields of endeavour. In citizen space, it seems that organic asset-based community efforts spring up regularly, untitled and largely unrecognized. This wellspring of mass localism was plain to see (for anyone paying attention) from late March to June 2020. COVID-19 precipitated a boon in mutual aid and citizen-led action. We now need to find a positive alternative to COVID-19, which is as effective a precipitant but without the harm.

The primary challenge for 2021 is to precipitate more antifragile communities.  This will not require technical know-how, it will require courage. The courage is not so much to try new things, as to stop certain old patterns.

Old patterns to stop include the ever-recurring impulse to adopt a command and control responses in a crisis. We might add to this the slavish commitment to certain assumptions, such as:

  1. the institutional assumption: more services equal better outcomes for more people.
  2. the passive/active assumption: communities are passive recipients of outside actions
  3. the outside in assumption: change happens when outside actors come in to do it to, for or with communities.

It looks like 2021 will again remind us of the limits of such patterns and assumptions.

All that in mind, I wish you a very Courageous New Year!

Cormac Russell

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  • Wendy Frost

    It’s flipping hard though isn’t it!!!

    January 8, 2021 at 5:19 pm
  • Jeni

    As always, a fount of wisdom, Cormac! xxx

    January 9, 2021 at 2:33 am
  • Deana Wildgoose

    Very true.

    You could.also.add the words Asset Based C D are completely missused. Social Prescribing is referred to as ABCD. Does the language match the actions?.

    January 9, 2021 at 4:00 am
  • Trudie Canavan

    Well said Cormac. I hope you and the family are well.

    January 16, 2021 at 12:44 pm
  • Courage, attitude and checking ourselves and our privilege. Thanks for the inspiration Cormac

    January 26, 2021 at 11:57 am

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