Sustainable Community Development: From What’s Wrong to What’s Strong

How can we help people to live a good life? Instead of trying to right what’s wrong within a community, Cormac argues we need to start with what’s strong. We need to help people discover what gifts they have and to use those gifts to enrich those around them. Cormac’s talk at TEDx Exeter features a short overview of the history of ABCD and stories of community efforts in the UK and Rwanda.

Running time: 00:18:07

Video from series at TEDxExeter April 15, 2016 posted by permission. Video Production Chromatrope (http://chromatrope.co.uk/). Production Manager Andy Robertson (http://www.youtube.com/familygamertv).

About the Lead Author

Cormac Russell
Cormac Russell is Managing Director of Nurture Development, Director of ABCD Europe and a faculty member of the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at Northwestern University, Chicago. He has trained communities, agencies, NGOs and governments in ABCD and other strengths-based approaches in Kenya, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, South Africa, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada and Australia. In January 2011 Cormac was appointed to the Expert Reference Group on Community Organising and Communities First, by Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society in the UK which he served on for the term of the Group. Examples of recent work include: Leading all national sporting organizations in Canada, in conjunction with the Canadian Council for Ethics in Sport, to adopt a shared vision as to how sport can become an asset for community building. This is effecting significant changes in the structures of major sporting organizations but also at a local community level in terms of community empowerment and citizen driven development. Advising I&Dea in the UK on the development of an asset based approach to health and on addressing health inequalities in low income communities as well as how an assets approach can improve community health and well-being. Partnering with Youth Work Ireland on a national program involving hundreds of youth practitioners and thousands of young citizens to develop a strong culture of youth led initiatives. Working in partnership with the University of Limerick and Atlantic Philanthropies in Ireland to infuse an ABCD approach across the entire city of Limerick. Part of this process involved organizing an entire neighborhood to address issues of loneliness, fear and intimidation and to support citizen driven development. The long-term vision is of a city that puts citizens and communities in the driving seat, through processes of neighborhood organizing and bottom up planning and where services are organized in the way in which community is organized. 

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