What is ABCD

Asset Based Community driven Development (ABCD) is an approach that appreciates the strengths, potentials and capacities that communities inherently have and how to unlock these. The term ABCD was coined by Kretzmann and McKnight (1993) who researched self organised communities and the critical success factors. They found that efforts are more effective and longer-lasting when community members dedicated their time and talents to creating the changes they desired (and not focusing on what is lacking).

Asset Based Community Development (or citizen driven development) offers an alternative to the conventional needs based approach. The needs based approach creates mental ‘problem maps’ and offers a skewed view of the community and can have a devastating impact on the psychology of local residents. Alternatively, asset based development rests on an understanding that sustainable development comes from within.

Assets include: stories, knowledge, innovations, talents, associations and networks, local institutions, physical assets and natural resources; financial resources; cultural assets; rights, claims and entitlements. The approach focuses attention on the strengths and capacities that communities already have and builds from there. The intention is to surface hidden “gifts”, grow a common vision and an appreciation from which to move forward.

What is Asset Based Community/Citizen-Led Development

“Asset-based and citizen-led development (ABCD) is an approach to development that recognizes the strengths, gifts, talents and resources of individuals and communities and helps communities mobilise and build on these for sustainable development. By focusing on assets and capacities as a starting point as opposed to needs and deficiencies and problems – energy is directed towards opportunities at the community level, while remaining conscious of how the policy environment could be changed” (Coady International Institute and Ikhala Trust 2011).

Ikhala Trust has over the past more than 12 years been advocating for and facilitating workshops, seminars and participating in ABCD conferences. We
have trained in excess of 1800 people across different provinces in South Africa. We partner with several academic institutions and other stakeholders who share the same philosophy in our quest to turn the tide on unemployment, poverty and inequality.