ABCD Training Group
Asset-Based Community Development
Building Communities From The Inside Out

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  On Power

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On the role of the "gapper"
On power
On working in and with communities
On working in the "real world"
On scale and the importance of locality
On doing the work
A Summary of the Basic ABCD Process



  • The process is about building power within communities so that people can get out of life what they want
  • The power of communities resides in relationships and connections within the community
  • To release the power within a community, it is critically important to find a way to connect-to weave together-the gifts of community members
  • A strong community does not waste people ("labeled people" have a critical role to play as contributors to the community)
  • Only citizens can build their own communities
  • Challenging people to do something helps release the power within a community
  • Only the people in a community-not programs-can build power in a community
  • Building power within communities means shifting power from institutions/agencies
  • If nobody's talking about power, it's not changing hands
  • Citizens must be trained about what they should expect from their institutions (and then processes should be developed for citizens to grade/give feedback to the institutions)
  • If the community's strengths and gifts are not used, they will atrophy (outside services that replace the role of relationships among community members will weaken the community)
  • The only rightful role of a service agency is to do those things which cannot be accomplished through everyday life/relationships
  • "Partnerships" between institutions/agencies and community associations/citizens will not strengthen the community unless they are citizen-centered (the citizens/community associations clearly in control, with institutions/agencies at the table but in the role of servant not lord)
  • Community's have the knowledge and strength within themselves to solve their own problems (the Sufi story of the wise woman)
  • There is great power in language
  • There is great power in transparency
  • Be open about motives
  • There is great power in taking people seriously and giving them respect
  • Believe in real democracy
  • Believe that the community has the answer--the power is in the process