Building Communities from the Inside Out

Kretzman and McKnight oppose the needs-focused or “deficiency model” of most community programs and advocate for an asset or capacity-based focus that takes into account the skills, strengths and capacities of individuals, associations and institutions in a community. Wordy McWord! This is hitting so many recent buttons–the readings we’re doing in the #9 group about promoting innovation and best performance (esp. the article Lynn found that says that performance reviews should focus on the positive rather than the negative); the reseau d’echange de savoirs which says that everyone knows something that they can teach someone else and the stronger communities, self-respect and social benefits that are a *side effect* os this; the idea of needs analysis juxtaposed with the idea that to learn people need to build on what they already know, their existing mental models (their strengths). In the library, in Mann we’re focusing on what people know how to do, their skills and making up a way to share that (skills catalog, database). AGORA–the idea that the partnership of publishers, international organizations and local institutions is one of the long-term goals–as Olivia says building a network of institutions across Africa. The VIVO idea–if people can see what’s available and who else is doing things they can get info, join together.

I love the idea of having people inventory their skills, community service, business ideas and then giving their personal information so that they can be hooked up with appropriate info and help (but based out of their own agency). It also occurs to me that the survey that I did shouldn’t just go into a report but should be fed back to the participants so they can see what other places are doing and so we can keep up a dialogue–so I won’t be using them for data and nothing else.

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