Of late, we have been requested to speak about our work to different audiences. These past 2 weeks we have shared how Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is practiced in our work on 3 occasions and we have another 2 engagements in the next fortnight.
ABCD believes that people have talents and can organise themselves to achieve their aspirations, address their concerns and basically to create a world they want to see. People would also include children and young people.
Since August, 18 young people aged from 6 to 14 years old have been meeting regularly with a couple of adult volunteers to explore what they could do to improve their neighbourhood. They share stories about their experiences in the neighbourhood and these have included being bullied and feeling unsafe among strangers and not having enough to eat. Also, the experience of not being able to meet expenses for school and personal needs such as a pair of spectacles were relatable to many.
While we followed up on their various needs, these young people were not making a case for more assistance of sorts. The possibility of having the opportunity to speak up for their friends excited and energised them. Currently, they are aiming to organise a day when they could share their plans with their parents and adult neighbours. They have asked their volunteers to review the list of tasks they had set out to the make the day happen. These included designing invitation cards, preparation of refreshments, door gifts and importantly, the programme.
They have also decided that the best way to get their message across would be present it in a skit. They enjoy acting and believe that those coming would prefer to watch a skit than to simply listen to a speech.
Sometimes, when we are sharing about our work, we will be asked to verify its efficacy and to present the evidence that funding such an approach would be money well spent. If you consider what these young people are trying to do, how can one expect them to bring about any significant change? So yes, to be more accurate, these young people are not bringing about change but they are simply being the change.
For peace and community,
ABCD shines a light on residents’ power to contribute to and make decisions in their communities. The work of institutions is to lead by stepping back to support residents’ efforts to create and implement the changes they seek for their community.