Asset-Based and Citizen-led Development

Asset-Based and Citizen-Led Development (ABCD)

September 21 – November 6, 2020
Applications for this program are now Closed

Online Delivery 

The events of recent months have demonstrated the importance of community-level leadership in responding to crises. It is at the community level where people and their associations find ways to support each other through crisis, recovery, and in building a better future. We find ourselves at a critical moment in history to collectively reflect with peers from all corners of the globe on the changes we want for a post-COVID world. 

This course is built on lessons learned from communities that are driving their own development, have affected significant positive change, and have sustained the process over time. Rather than starting with needs and deficits, an asset-based citizen-led development (ABCD) approach helps communities to identify and build upon strengths and assets. This course will introduce participants to principles, methods, and tools that feed directly into community development initiatives designed to stimulate citizen-led efforts and how organizations can support them.    

Benefits and Learning Objectives 

During this course, you will: 

  • share international stories and examples of successful community-driven responses to the pandemic, and other pressing issues;
  • differentiate between needs-based and asset-based approaches to development on a personal and professional level; 
  • practice participatory tools and methods for uncovering community assets and strengths virtually and in your own community; 
  • challenge and problematize the role of outside institutions in responding to citizen-led development, including NGOs, donors, and government agencies; 
  • explore how asset-based approaches can address power dynamics at the community level and between communities and institutions; and 
  • unpack and respond to the critiques of asset-based approaches. 

Time Requirement 

The course will include a variety of participatory and experiential learning methods consistent with adult learning principles. It is expected that each participant will spend six to eight hours per week for seven weeks in asynchronous and synchronous learning activities and additional independent work and assignments. All instructional materials will be in English. 

Technology Requirement 

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

 Who should take this course? 

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. Participants who take this course want to be exposed to, and jointly contribute to, practical alternatives that start with community strengths. This includes government agencies, NGOs, universities, grant-making organizations, and community-builders.  


Tuition Fees for the course will be $650. Coady Institute strives to ensure access that participants working with marginalized 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 $300 are available for international candidates. Those receiving a bursary will be responsible for paying the balance of $350 CAD before the designated deadline.

Full Bursaries of $650 are available from the Centre for Employment Innovation for eligible applicants from Nova Scotia. This includes applicants working for (or in a Board Director position in) a program or agency engaged in employment services delivery (priority is given to Nova Scotia Works centres) as well as those engaged in social innovation activities to alleviate poverty, strengthen livelihoods and create more equitable employment and entrepreneurial opportunities with and for systemically oppressed groups, including African Nova Scotians, People of African Descent, First Nations, Indigenous Peoples, recent immigrants, racialized persons, persons with disability, and persons on Employment and Income Support Assistance.



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.