Abcd University of Limerick Briefing


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Presentation made by Cormac Russell ABCD Institute faculty memeber, and ABCD Global Consulting at University of Limerick. May 2009. visit: email

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  • Objectives, a) Present current thinking; b) highlight the importance of promoting citizenship led initiatives in attaining Active Citizenship Targets; c) suggest five practical next steps.
  • In Ireland we tend in the main to focus on the half empty part of the glass, we start by focusing on what is missing by conducting needs analysis, and largely disregard the half full part of the glass, the assets that exist, despite the fact that you can really know what a person or a community needs until you know what they have.
  • Current approach based on an approach almost exclusively focused on needs invariably concludes that what people need are more services, our current approach is leading to a reality where vulnerable citizens are surrounded by a myriad of institutional responses that ultimately create dependant clients as opposed to active citizens.
  • Seattle story a different approach: Mike Peringer works in Seattle’s industrial neighbourhood of SODO. He was embarrassed by the appearance of 5th Avenue South, a major busway into Seattle that was flanked on both sides by the graffiti-covered backs of warehouses. Peringer wanted to create a more inviting gateway to Seattle for the 16,000 commuters and tourists who rode through each day. His idea was to paint murals the length of the two-mile long corridor. But, Peringer had an even better idea. Why not involve young people who had been arrested for graffiti in painting the murals? He worked with King County Court judges who agreed to offer his ArtWorks program as an alternative sentence. As they painted, the young people would be taught work and life skills by community mentors. The summer mural project proved successful; none of the participants reoffended. ArtWorks grew to become a year-round program creating hundreds of murals for construction sites throughout the city in addition to the 40 murals that now constitute the Urban Art Corridor. Close to five thousand young people have benefited from the program over its first ten years (Mike Peringer, Good Kids: The Story of ArtWorks).
  • This slide illustrates how the story I’ve just shared with you intentionally creates active citizens by promoting citizen led initiatives
  • In our work on the ground we see the need based approach applied not just applied to individuals but also to communities
  • The asset based approach starts with a focus on the strengths it recognises the truth that the map is not the territory and that the glass is both half full and half empty at the same time
  • Abcd University of Limerick Briefing

    1. 1. ABCD briefing, Conference Steering Group, March 25 th Cormac Russell Nurture Development; Nurture Development Africa, & ABCD Institute, Chicago
    2. 2. Community Building Approach <ul><li>Children do well when their families do well, </li></ul><ul><li>And, families do better when they live in </li></ul><ul><li>supportive neighborhoods and communities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Search Institute Research Data) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ It takes an entire village to raise a child’ African Saying </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Everyone should have the opportunity to be a producer of their own and their communities well-being It takes everyone to build a strong and safe community
    4. 4. Determinants of Health <ul><li>Personal behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Social relationships (networks of support) </li></ul><ul><li>Physical environment </li></ul><ul><li>Economic status </li></ul><ul><li>Access to health care </li></ul>
    5. 5. Effective Communities <ul><li>Look inside first to solve problems </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships are seen as power </li></ul><ul><li>Have a good sense of assets and capacities, not just needs </li></ul><ul><li>Leaders open doors </li></ul><ul><li>Citizens are involved </li></ul><ul><li>People take responsibility </li></ul>
    6. 6. Associations, Local Government, Business & People
    7. 7. Power to Change “ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has .” Margaret Mead
    8. 8. The Dilemma . . . People and Communities have deficiencies & needs Individuals and Communities have skills and talents
    9. 9. Current Approach
    10. 13. Active Citizens require a supportive context to grow powerful and connect € NFP NFP € G G
    11. 14. Neighborhoods Needs Map Graffiti Environmental pollution Unemployment Gangs Literacy challenges Early School Leaving Broken Families Poor Housing Joy riding Drug Dealing Crime Disability
    12. 15. Consequences of the Power of the “Needs Map” <ul><li>Internalizations of the “deficiencies” identified by local residents </li></ul><ul><li>Destruction of social capital </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforcement of narrow categorical funding flows </li></ul><ul><li>Direction of funds toward professional helpers, not residents </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on “leaders” who magnify deficiencies </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards failure, produces dependency </li></ul><ul><li>Creates hopelessness </li></ul>
    13. 16. A Sample Community Asset Map Individuals Gifts, Skills, Capacities, Knowledge and Traits of Youth Older Adults Artists People with Disabilities Students Parents Entrepreneurs Activists Institutions Schools Universities Community Colleges Police Departments Hospitals Libraries Social Service Agencies Non Profits Museums Fire Departments Foundations Physical Space Gardens Parks Playgrounds Parking Lots Walking Paths Forests/Forest Preserves Picnic Areas Campsites Fishing Spots Stories Of background and personal history Of what you like to do and contribute Of existing and ongoing skills and capacities Of successful community development Of economic growth Of addressing discrimination Of including those who are marginalized Of recognizing the value of everyone Of a time when you or your group felt appreciated and valued Of a time the community was at its best Local Economy For-Profit Businesses Consumer Expenditures Merchants Chamber of Commerce Business Associations Banks Foundations Institutional-Purchasing Power and Personnel Micro enterprises Local Coops Corporations and Branches Animal Care Groups Anti Crime Groups Residents Assoc Business Organizations Charitable Groups Civic Events Groups Cultural Groups Education Groups Elderly Groups Environmental Groups Family Support Groups Health Advocacy and Fitness Groups Heritage Groups Hobby and Collectors Groups Men’s Groups Mentoring Groups Mutual Support Groups Neighborhood Improvement Groups Political Organizations Recreation Groups Religious Groups Service Clubs Social Groups Union Groups Women’s Groups Youth Groups Associations My Community My Community
    14. 20. International Development trends since 1950 <ul><li>As captured succinctly by Booy and Sena (Nov. 2000), the </li></ul><ul><li>empowerment approach in international development work signifies </li></ul><ul><li>a marked change from earlier approaches: </li></ul><ul><li>1950-60 Do development to the people </li></ul><ul><li>1960-70 Do development for the people </li></ul><ul><li>1970-80       Do development through the people    </li></ul><ul><li>1980-90      Do development with the people </li></ul><ul><li>1990-2000 Empower the people for development-the focus is now on developing local capacity for self-development. For the first time, people are seen as the primary focus and owners of the development process. </li></ul>
    15. 21. Twelve Guiding Principles for Community Development: ABCD in Action <ul><li>Everyone has gifts </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships build a community </li></ul><ul><li>Citizens at the center </li></ul><ul><li>Leaders involve others as active members of the community </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone cares about something </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation to act </li></ul><ul><li>Listening conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Asking questions rather than giving answers invites stronger participation </li></ul><ul><li>Ask, ask, ask </li></ul><ul><li>A citizen centered organization is the key to community engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Institutions have reached their limits in problem-solving </li></ul><ul><li>Institutions as servants </li></ul>
    16. 22. Person Centered Work The move is from services to clients to supports for citizens Community Centered Work Inclusion
    17. 23. The New Paradigm Needs/Deficit Based Asset Based Purpose Changing Community through increased services Changing Community through citizen involvement Method Institutional Reform Citizen-Centered production Accountability Leaders are professional staff. accountable to institutional stakeholders Leaders are widening circles of volunteer citizens. Accountable to the community. Significance of Assets Assets are system inputs. Asset mapping is data collection Assets are dots to connect. Asset mapping is self-realization and leadership development.
    18. 24. The New Paradigm Production Resource Money is the key resource. Falls apart without money. Relationships are the key resource. Falls apart when money becomes the focus. Operating Challenge How do we get citizen’s involved? How do we channel and build on all this citizen participation? System Dynamic Tends to spread itself thinner over time. Tends to snowball over time. Evaluation Success is service outcomes, measured mostly by institutional stakeholders. Success is capacity, measured mostly by relationships.
    19. 25. Present Policy Proposed New Policy Focus on Deficiencies Focus on Assets Problem Response Opportunity Identification Charity Orientation Investment Orientation Grants to Agencies Grants, Loans, Investments, leveraging euros More Services Fewer Services High Emphasis on Agencies Emphasis on associations, businesses, agencies, churches Focus on Individuals Focus on communities/neighborhoods Maintenance Development See People as Clients See People as Citizens “ Fix People” Develop Potential Programs are the answer People are the answer The New Policy: Community Building
    20. 26. Reflection points <ul><li>What is your organization’s relationship to community residents? How accountable is your organization to the people and community it serves? </li></ul><ul><li>How does your work foster communication and relationship-building among the people you serve and residents in your community? </li></ul><ul><li>How does your service define and engage constituents? What power do they have? </li></ul><ul><li>How does your service strengthen community relationships and social capital? </li></ul><ul><li>What can you do to make your service more asset-based? </li></ul>
    21. 27. Tips on Working with Neighborhoods Ways that inhibit engagement How we work differently with neighborhoods and residents We know who to contact by position We have to research who to contact (sometimes it is not obvious) We give them timelines and deadlines We ask them to give us a reasonable time frame We write things up – give them memos and job descriptions We meet with them and have face to face conversations (preferably in their community) We often take the lead in projects We need to allow the neighborhood to lead us We set up meetings during the day We go to meetings at nights or on the weekends and when appropriate help to figure out childcare and transportation
    22. 28. Tips (cont.) Adapted from Untied Way of Metro Atlanta We offer a list of possible roles for our organization We ask how our organization can be most helpful We use our leadership structure to help us make relationships We look to current relationships to help introduce us into new communities We manage projects We negotiate our role, offer suggestions and learn to be flexible We reach our objectives in a way that is most efficient We follow the lead of residents with patience, as work takes much longer, is not efficient, often involves several players and lots of twists and turns We assume authority is in the person with positional power Authority rests in the one with the most relationships
    23. 29. How can we make this happen? <ul><li>Seattle Model </li></ul><ul><li>Kellogg’s Foundation funding model </li></ul><ul><li>Cando Citizen: United Kingdom </li></ul><ul><li>Netherlands voucher scheme </li></ul>
    24. 30. Ireland’s move towards citizen driven focus <ul><li>Respond Voluntary Housing </li></ul><ul><li>DCC- Drimnagh & Clongriffin pilot areas </li></ul><ul><li>SDCC-Balgaddy </li></ul><ul><li>Kilkenny County Council </li></ul><ul><li>Sligo County Council-Cranmore </li></ul><ul><li>Ballymun Neighbourhood Council </li></ul><ul><li>Aonad FRC, village of Ballygar </li></ul><ul><li>Westport FRC etc </li></ul><ul><li>Ceim ar Cheim, Moyross, Limerick </li></ul><ul><li>NCI-BA in Active Citizenship for Social Change (Dip in Community Organising) </li></ul><ul><li>Community Timebank </li></ul>It’s already happening!