What is ABCD

ABCD refers to Asset-Based and Citizen-Led Development. It is a way of thinking and also an approach to development work – a conscious effort to focuses on strengths, abilities, opportunities, talents and gifts as a foundation or starting point. It is an orientation to use what we have and build from there.

This is development from the inside-out. In community development, communities could use their assets as leverage (bargaining power) when engaging stakeholders and forming partnerships.

You can capture the spirit of ABCD with the slogan:

Start with what we know, Build with what we have.

What people say about ABCD:

“ABCD and other strengths-based approaches DO work with both sides of the equation. The big differences are where our focus is in supporting communities, the language we use and who has power. We do address needs by focusing on what communities and individuals already have (their strengths and assets) in order to create the change they want to see.

Rather than using language that reinforces problems and needs, we use language that reinforces potential, change and strengths. There is a difference in speaking about the priorities of a community and the needs of a community. In the first they are in control and setting the agenda. The second can often suggest they need outside support to meet their needs.

Often traditional approaches to community development, place the professionals in positions of power determining what the needs are and determining how to proceed. (I recognise this is always the case, but I do think it is all too common.) In ABCD and other strengths-based approaches the community is in control and the professionals act as a facilitator.

All these things can help increase the trust between communities and professionals. It can be quite hard to change the expectations of people in terms of how they expect professionals to respond but, over time, as we build relationships and demonstrate we really are listening and being community led, trust can be built.” ~ Graeme Stuart

ABCD MASTERCLASS at University of Johannesburg with 5 Master Facilitators from 3 Continents : 14 to 16 February 2018

UPCOMING COURSES: : Asset-Based and Citizen-Led Development (ABCD) : 22 to 24 May 2018

Janine Ward Cell: +27 82 956 0048 Anne E. Timms Cell: +27 76 617 4642
E-mail: E-mail:

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