Asset-Based and Community-Led Development: Theory and Practice

June 24 – July 12, 2024

Applications are closed

Facilitator: Wellington Sousa

This in-person certificate is built on lessons learned from communities driving their development worldwide. You will experience a global space for sharing and learning about practices that put communities and their strengths at the centre of any community development project or initiative. This course will provide principles to support your organization to shift from emphasizing community needs and problems to building upon local assets, strengths and opportunities. In addition, we will explore how civil society organizations, government, and the private sector can work together to break from dependency and build equitable and authentic partnerships to support genuine asset-based and citizen-led development.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss Asset-based and Community-Led Development theory and principles;
  • Use tools to build and nurture relationships and deepen associational life for collective action;
  • Apply participatory methods to discover, connect and mobilize community assets;
  • Propose strategies to support your organization in shifting from a needs-based to an asset-based and community-led approach to development;
  • Discuss how civil society organizations, government, and the private sector can work together to break from dependency and build equitable and authentic partnerships to support Asset-based and Citizen-Led Development; and
  • Examine limitations and critiques of ABCD and explore ways ABCD can strengthen other approaches to change (e;g;, rights-based approach).


This course relies on participatory and experiential learning methods. Participants will have opportunities to learn from their facilitator and each other through interactive lectures and by engaging in small group discussions, storytelling, role-plays and simulation exercises, case studies, and skill-building exercises. They will also benefit from field trips and dialogue with guest speakers and ABCD practitioners. All presentations and instructional materials will be in English.

Learning Assessment

Participants’ assessment will be based on their active engagement in learning activities and the completion of an ABCD project proposal.


This course is for community development workers, including but not limited to members of community-based organizations, social movement activists, development agency workers, and public and private sector professionals. Participants should have at least two years of community development experience, be passionate about seeing communities flourishing and moving towards the fullness of their potential, be curious about how ABCD can strengthen their work, and strive to apply the approach after the course.


Coady Institute ensures 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. After bursary, the remaining cost of the program is $2,000 CAD. Accepted participants will be responsible for paying the balance of $2,000 CAD before the designated deadline. This includes room and board for the 3-week residency at Coady Institute on the campus of St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

All travel related expenses including airfare and visa fees are the responsibility of the participant. Coady Institute will arrange and cover ground transportation costs between Halifax Stanfield International Airport and the Coady Institute.