Asset-Based and Citizen-led Development

Asset-Based and Citizen-Led Development (ABCD) – Online

August 16 October 15, 2021 

Application Closed

Facilitator: Brianne Peters
Online Delivery 

Over the past year, we have witnessed undisputable evidence of the importance of local responses to crises and opportunities. The world over, citizen-led initiatives based on communities identifying and mobilizing local assets have proven to be more relevant, speedy, and effective than institutional responses to the pandemic, and yet they are often sidelined as “secondary” or “nice to have.”

This course is a global space for sharing and learning about the principles, practices, and tools that put local assets and action at the centre any development initiative. It offers a “time-out” for you to question conventional community development practices and beliefs and to re-evaluate the role of institutions in stimulating and supporting genuine asset-based and citizen-led development (ABCD).

Benefits and Learning Objectives 

During this course, you will: 

  • Differentiate between needs-based and asset-based approaches to development. 
  • Reclaim and revalue the overlooked assets of local citizens in your work and life.
  • Learn from international examples of successful community-driven responses to crises and opportunities.
  • Practice participatory and experiential tools and methods for uncovering community assets and strengths. 
  • Problematize the role of outside institutions in responding to citizen-led development, including NGOs, donors, and government agencies. 
  • Unpack the critiques of asset-based approaches.
  • Design a concrete plan of action.
  • Share training and facilitation tips for integrating ABCD principles and practices into your life and work.

Time Requirement 

This course runs for eight weeks. As a participant, you will be expected to spend eight hours per week attending live classes, participating in online discussion forums, and reading, reflecting, and completing assignments independently. While they are not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged that you attend the live discussions. All instructional materials will be in English.

The live discussions will take place from 1:00pm – 3:00pm Universal Time (UTC) every Thursday. (Check your time conversion here).

Technology Requirement 

  • Reliable internet access (high speed is recommended) 
  • Speakers and microphone 

Who Should Apply? 

This course is intended for change-makers of any age or sector who are questioning the relevance of externally-driven projects and programs based predominantly on needs and deficits. You are a good candidate if you want to be exposed to, and jointly contribute to, practical alternatives that start with community strengths. This includes community-builders, government agencies, NGOs, universities, and grant-making organizations.


The tuition fee for this course is $850. Coady Institute strives to ensure change leaders working in communities around the world have access to its courses. This is made possible through the provision of bursaries that are funded by many individual and institutional donors. Partial bursaries of up to $475 are available for qualifying candidates. Through Coady’s Circle of Abundance, a limited number of full bursaries are available to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit participants residing in Canada. Applicants will be able to express their interest in obtaining a bursary during the application process. Those receiving a bursary will be responsible for paying the balance of their tuition before the designated deadline.

Full bursaries are available from the Centre for Employment Innovation (CEI) for eligible applicants from Nova Scotia. This includes applicants working for a program or agency engaged in employment services delivery, or engaged in social innovation activities to alleviate poverty, strengthen livelihoods, and create more equitable employment and entrepreneurial opportunities with and for systemically oppressed groups. For more information, visit the CEI Bursary Program page.


Please Note

Please note that Coady International Institute does not accept third party applications. Individuals need to submit their application via Coady’s website and should use caution when approached by those offering services to complete the application and admissions process.