Switching Gears: From Needs to Assets Based Approach to Community Development in Nepal
8 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2012
Date Written: April 29, 2012
The mode of community development is changing in Nepal. The increased flow of international aid for local development, the rise of grassroots organizations, and the political transition to democratic system have created an environment for the adoption and trial of different development approaches. Currently, some of the widely practiced approaches to poverty reduction and social development are the needs-based approach, the sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA), the rights-based approach (RBA), and/or the participatory rural appraisal (PRA). The rights-based approach is gaining prominence mostly among non-government organizations (NGOs). Despite the introduction of the latter three development approaches the needs-based approach to community development is still widely practiced both by government and non-government organizations. The needs-based approach, also known as a traditional approach, is generally understood as a deficit model which focuses on the community’s needs, deficiencies and problems. The critics of this traditional approach argue that such an assessment of the community may help it internalize a negative picture of itself and become powerless. Contrary to this traditional model, the Assets Based Community Development (ABCD) approach empowers community members and strengthens the effectiveness of government agencies and NGOs by drawing on the resources, abilities and insights of local residents to find the ways of overcoming their own challenges. This paper analyzes the ABCD approach and argues for the need to combine the ABCD with SLA, RBA and PRA. The inclusion of the ABCD approach will have sustainable development impacts on the community if intentionally and consistently employed. The paper analyzes theoretical literature on community development in relation to approaches employed in Nepal.
Keywords: ABCD, approaches, community development, development, poverty
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