Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD)

Asset-Based and Community-Led Development (ABCD)

Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) is a term coined by John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann at the ABCD Institute in Evanston, Illinois – a key Coady International Institute partner. ABCD is an approach that recognizes the strengths, gifts, talents and resources of individuals and communities, and helps communities to mobilize and build on these for sustainable development.

By focusing on assets and capacities rather than needs and deficiencies, energy is directed toward opportunities at the community level, while remaining conscious of how the policy environment could be changed to further strengthen citizens’ capacity to drive their own development.

At its core are the various assets (human, social, financial, natural and physical) that already exist in the community, especially the formal and informal associations that mobilize assets and strengthen the social relationships that are important for bridging local initiatives to external opportunities.

Education Programs

The Coady International Institute’s education programs are highly participatory courses designed to deepen the understanding and effectiveness of leaders working in these areas. A wide variety of presentation, case study, and experiential and participatory education methods are used in the programs. The programs give leaders the opportunity to share ideas and to exchange experiences with global peers, to benefit from the expertise and field experience of skilled facilitators, and to gain insight and inspiration from innovations and relevant action research from around the world.

Stories of ABCD

Here are some stories that provide information about particular examples of asset-based and citizen-led development (ABCD). More

What is the goal of the Coady Institute’s work in this area?

We are continuously developing our programs in asset-based and citizen-led development by:

  • documenting and analyzing existing international examples of citizen-led and asset-based development;
  • exploring ways in which an asset-based approach can be applied in various international contexts to stimulate citizen-led development;
  • assessing the implications of an asset-based approach for the role of donors, NGOs, local governments and other intermediaries; and
  • identifying the optimal policy and regulatory environment for the successful application of asset-based and citizen-led development.

Key ABCD Activities

Since 1999, the Coady International Institute has undertaken ABCD activities in the following areas: