Round Table Introductions by mes93360


									                     ROUNDTABLE ON

                                    Synergos Institute
                                 New York, New York
                                       April 23, 2002

                 AN EDITED TRANSCRIPT

                                  Prepared By
                  St. Francis Xavier University
                       Antigonish, Nova Scotia

                                             June 20, 2002
The following proceedings are an edited transcription of the discussions held at a one day
meeting on Assets, Livelihoods, and Governance, hosted by the Coady International
Institute, and held at the offices of the Synergos Institute in New York on April 23, 2002.
Highlights from these proceedings have been assembled in a summary report, attached to
this document.

The proceedings are divided into three main parts:

   1. Introductions
   2. (a) Overview of organizational approaches
      (b) Discussion and Questions
   3. (a) Identifying areas of overlap, complementarity or divergence between the
          development approaches and strategies outlined in the morning session
      (b) Identifying organizations or development approaches that are not present at this
          table but are important to this discussion.
      (c) Identifying potential areas for collaboration

   1. Introductions
Mary Coyle, Director of the Coady International Institute and Vice President at St. Francis
Xavier University. The Institute is part of the St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish,
Nova Scotia.

Shari Turitz, Deputy Director for Global Philanthropy and Foundation Building at the
Synergos Institute and formerly the Regional Director for Latin America. Over the past six
years she has participated in the development of foundations in Ecuador, Brazil, and

Richard Ford, Clark University, has thirty five years experience in rural and urban Africa,
collaborating with Barbara Thomas Slaytor, also of Clark. Both have retired from teaching
and are now research professors. The core of their work has been strengthening capacities
in community decision making, planning, communication, monitoring, evaluation and
producing a number resource materials.

Alexander Grashaw works with the Synergos Institute‘s Bridging Leadership Program.
This focuses on training individuals in the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for
collaborative partnerships.

Bruce Schearer, President of Synergos Institute, has worked in international development
throughout his career, and worked with the founders to create Synergos Institute in 1988.

Jody Kretzmann, Research Professor at the Asset Based Community Development
Institute at Northwestern University, Chicago. He has been a community organizer in the
US and ABCD Institute and is now working to a limited extent in South Africa, Egypt, and
Latin America and Central America.

Natasha Amott, Synergos Institute, works with the Global Philanthropy program
specifically working with foundations in South East Asia, specifically the Philippines,
Indonesia and Thailand.

Andrea Rogers, Synergos Institute, works on philanthropic foundation building specifically
with foundations in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and in South Africa.

Philip Walsh, Latin American Associate, Synergos Institute, works specifically on the
Mexico program.

David Winder, Director of the Global Philanthropy Program, Synergos Institute. The main
focus of the program is building capital at the community level concentrating on Latin
America, Southern Africa and South East Asia.

Michael Conroy, Senior Program Officer, Ford Foundation, works with the Asset Building
and Community Development unit which accounts for about 40% of the Foundation‘s
annual giving.

John Heller, Associate Director for Foundation Building Services at Synergos Institute.
This work aims to strengthen foundations in South East Asia, Latin America and Africa. He
also has responsibility for the Senior Fellows Program, a peer learning network of 35
foundation leaders from 15 countries around the world.

Pippa Bird, Rural Livelihoods Advisor for the Dept of International Development
(DFID). At this meeting, she represents the Sustainable Livelihoods Office which is a cross
departmental support unit in London.

Gord Cunningham, Coady International Institute, has many years experience as a
practitioner in the micro-finance sector and teaches in the areas of community economic
development. He has joint responsibility for the Coady Institute‘s strategic area of asset
based approaches to community driven development.

Alison Mathie, Coady International Institute, teaches in the areas of participatory program
evaluation and participatory approaches to development. She has joint responsibility for the
Coady Institute‘s strategic area of asset based approaches to community driven development.
2. Overview of organizational approaches to development

Bruce Schearer, Synergos Institute

Synergos is a sixteen-year-old small Northern nonprofit organization. From our vantage
point on 69th Street in New York City we assess what we can offer as an asset or value to
people who are in their own places struggling hard to change their situation. We start out
with the tenet that everywhere in the world, families, individuals and communities would like
communities to be a good place to live and work. Our founder Peggy Delaney recognized
the capacities of people in poor communities and their desire for change when she went to
Brazil as a young woman.

The community in which people live obviously has an enormous impact on how people can
realize their potential. We may think of community capital as human capital, and human
capital depends on a knowledge-based world. Social capital has to do with the relations
between people and the trust and reciprocity that enables people to count on others and
produce good will out of human relations. Institutional capital is our particular focus because
in our experience work may not be effective in communities where there are no institutions
that try to bring the community together. There have to be players that are really trying to
bridge the differences in the community and find common ground to create a broader
action. Financial capital is critical somewhere on that list, and you will notice it comes on the
end of our list. This is because we think it is insufficient for communities to be strong in
these kinds of assets and not have a collaborative approach with the rest of society or across
sectors within the different levels of power within the community.

Historically, our priorities have evolved to be two things: building human capital to
strengthen national actors to build community capital in their countries; and building
collaboration between national and local stakeholders to bridge these economic and political
differences. We work in partnership with organizations with whom we share deeply held
values. We put our mission statement and their mission statement on the table and we find a
commonality that we can build a long term relationship on. We work through relationships
not through projects, so if their mission is to reduce or overcome child poverty in Brazil, for
example, and we have an overlapping mission, then we find where we can work together.
Three continents is already a lot for a 35 person organization, so our strategy is to achieve
these goals in the nine countries and then to build on the results by promoting these
approaches with development organizations elsewhere. It‘s a strategy that I‘m not so certain
I want to defend if anyone challenged me on it because my faith in development agencies
these days is not as high as perhaps it should be. We‘ll see how that plays out but we are still
at the stage of trying to demonstrate and document our approaches and only beginning to
disseminate. Talking about building community capital, most of the people around this table
from Synergos come from our foundation building program. We have two programs that
try to build this community capital. Our principal one, our oldest, is the program to build
grant making foundations that can be actors in community development. Sometimes these
are community foundations, sometimes they are national development foundations,
sometimes they are special purpose foundations, and occasionally they are corporate based
foundations. The rationale for this is not it became clear to usthat the strategic actors in
emerging economies and democracies are not NGOs but those that are operating at a level
that is more strategically placed to mobilize resources. These operate at a secondary level,
bringing actors together to develop community building strategies. We have been focusing
on helping them create and learn what best practices could be shared. That sector is growing
from dozens to hundreds of successful institutions in the countries where we work.

Our approach to building cross sector and cross level collaboration is the program that
Alexander is representing. It is a fairly new program still in formation at Synergos. The goal
of that program is to strengthen national leadership centers in these nine countries to
provide training in bridging leadership skills and to organize ongoing national processes for
bridging social, political, economic, religious, and ethnic divides. Without those kinds of
bridging efforts that can resolve conflicts and build new and broader alliances that can bring
in more resources, we feel that a lot of the energy is lost at the community level.

We have another program called the Global Philanthropist Circle. It became apparent to us
that there were many actors in the United States and in other countries with families with
great wealth who wanted to make a difference in the world, who were looking for ways to
engage. We have the asset of having a Rockefeller as the founder of Synergos. We very
much believe in peer-to-peer learning and peer-to-peer relationships as a way to advance
joint work and here was a chance to create a peer-to-peer network of philanthropists. Now
we have thirty-nine families from 11 countries around the world who visit different
countries. They may start with the president of the country, then the cabinet, then top
business people in villages, then NGO‘s at the policy level. From these discussions they
begin to get a bird‘s eye view with which to try to strengthen the strategic impact of their
philanthropy and to do it appropriately with local philanthropists. We just had an extensive
visit to South Africa and Mozambique and had three or four prominent local families and a
number of American families join together. We hope this will leverage a fresh stream of less
encumbered resources. Synergos is beginning to struggle with whether we should only
maintain staff in New York. We have done this up until very recently in the belief that we
shouldn‘t weaken or dilute local capacity. But our partners keep saying that we would
actually add a lot of value with one person on the ground, so we have moved to doing that
in South East Asia. We have a Regional Director based in Manila and we have a
representative in Brazil.

Michael Conroy, Ford Foundation

I work within a program called Asset Building and Community Development, so that‘s our
ABCD. It is slightly different than the ABCD of {Krezmann and MacKnight‘s} Asset-Based
Community Development.

Our work began with similar conceptual origins in that it is based upon rejection of the
deficit-based focus that so often has underlain international agency approaches to the
elimination of poverty and injustice. Some of the people who are the intellectual origins of
our work, like Melvin Oliver, examined poverty in terms of the lack of a certain level of
income, or indirectly as the lack of a certain level of consumption. He looked at the
programs that have been developed since the 1950‘s in the US and found that their
inadequacy was in trying to solve the poverty problem by getting people up to some
artificially maintained income level or consumption level through a series of government
transfer programs and so forth. The person who was the intellectual precurser to Melvin
Oliver‘s work on this was Michael Sherraden at Washington University and St. Louis whose
work also is behind what Jody and John have done. He wrote Assets and the Poor: A New
American Welfare Policy in 1990. He is a social worker, and a Professor of Social Work at
Washington University in St. Louis. He began to see the inadequacy of income transfer
programs and began proposing the need for building the financial assets of people who are
defined as being poor as a basis for strengthening their ability to function or strengthening
the ability of their communities to come together. So out of that rejection of deficit based
thinking about communities which is most clearly articulated in John and Jody‘s 1993 book,
came the notion of income subsidy programs being inadequate. In Black Wealth, White
Wealth (essentially an asset based analysis), Melvin Oliver and Tom Shapiro had as one of
their most stunning conclusions that if you look at the relationship of wages and income of
blacks and whites in the US, blacks at that time were earning about 48 or 49% of whites, but
if you look at financial assets of whites and blacks, blacks had an average of about 10% of
the financial asset of white families. They focused on the implications of a system had
evolved to create those differences with respect to assets. If we wanted to help raise the
long-term income levels of people we had to focus on the asset base from which they were

Melvin was invited in 1996 to come to the Ford Foundation as a Vice President and he
chose to name his program Asset building and Community Development. We are now
organized in three units, soon to become just two. Right now we have Human
Development and Reproductive Health which focuses on the individual skills and assets of
people in terms of their human development levels, their education levels, early infancy and
child development in particular, and health as an asset that is critical to much of the rest of
what people can do in terms of meeting their own needs. We have an Economic
Development unit that focuses primarily on financial assets, including housing and
workforce development (and workforce skills in particular). Then I come out of a unit that is
called Community and Resource Development. We tend to focus on social capital, the
building of those relationships of trust and reciprocity in local communities that we consider
to be absolutely essential for, and characteristic of, the more successful community
development efforts. We also stress the importance of natural resources (missing in your
paper) and environmental services which we are finding is a powerful extension of the asset
building for rural community growth and especially for some urban communities that have
particular kinds of environmental problems.

While there are obvious similarities between the work we are doing and the ABCD approach
that is laid out in the paper, and the work of John and Jody, I want to emphasize the
differences. We are placing a significant focus on improving what we call the enabling
conditions for asset-building. An example of that is that for rural farming communities,
secure land rights and land tenure, or secure access to resources are absolutely essential
conditions—preconditions, enabling conditions— for encouraging people to invest in those
particular assets. For example, in a community forestry area, secure access to the wood in the
forest is critical to build the livelihood of communities there. The enabling conditions have
also to do with financial assets. What is there about financial markets that biases access to
that market away from those who have few assets to begin with? One of our largest and
most successful investments in that area was a 50 million dollar grant we made to a little
group called Self-Help Inc. in North Carolina which has generated about 2 billion dollars in
additional mortgage lending to families who wouldn‘t have qualified under existing rules for
funding their mortgage loans. As a result, you have something in the order of 30,000 families
who have been able to buy homes. So the idea is to change the enabling conditions either by
changing legislation or by using the system in a way that hadn‘t been previously anticipated.
We are also providing some focus on changing the global context within which asset
building occurs.

One example that I recently developed for the Foundation is called Globalization,
Environment and Communities. What we are doing is approaching globalization from the
point of view of poor local communities and recognizing that the global system of
governance is shifting. It is shifting as a carpet shifts under these communities. There are a
number of aspects to this that have to be understood if we are going to understand the way
in which these communities can or cannot continue to resolve their own poverty problems
or build their assets as we would all like them to be able to do. We are focusing on helping
them to understand the nature of this shift that is taking place, by building their capacity to
participate in some global processes, and also by changing the openness or transparencies of
those processes so that there is a space for community participation. We are helping them
to take advantage of new opportunities that globalization brings for local communities,
whether it is in the line of technology, or payments for environmental services, or global
certification systems that allow them to participate in transforming some corporate practices.
Those are all ways in which, by changing the global context, we enhance the ability of local
communities to build their own assets.

We are also interested in promoting the conceptual development of the whole notion of
asset building as in the series of publications that includes Assets for the Poor, focusing on
financial assets, and Capital for the Poor that focuses on the link between social capital and the
building of community-based assets. Another volume in the series focuses on building
natural assets.

We are having a fourth conference in a series of conferences which will take place in the
Philippines next January that will explore international applications of natural asset building.
The book on natural assets focuses primarily on cases in the US, so we are extending that to
include things like asset-building through wildlife management in Africa, marine fisheries
work out of the Philippines, joint force management in India, and some examples in China
where, by tweaking government regulations, you change dramatically the conditions under
which forestry is taking place.

The last comment I would make is that we found this to be a relatively easy shift of position
on a lot of the work we have been doing, both in the economic development area and in the
community resource development area. We realised that, without giving a name to it, we
were building social capital, building that community-owned or community managed forest
as an asset for sustainable livelihoods.

There are a couple of areas where it has been a little more difficult to superimpose the assets
perspective. Our colleagues in the Reproductive Health area, for example, have found it
more of a stretch when you start talking about reproductive rights issues, but those of us
working in the environmental field, the community development field, the economic
development field, and the workplace development field have found it to be a set of
concepts that are really very powerful.

The Human Development and Reproductive Health group is being reorganized and
strengthened in a variety of ways. The people who were previously working on
reproductive rights are being moved into our Peace and Social Justice program, where the
rights programs are located. Those who were working on sexuality are moving into our
educational program. Those working on youth development are working in community and
resource development. Hardly a conceptual reorganization, it is admittedly also a financial
reorganization, because the foundation is cutting back on its managerial expenses by some of
this restructuring. So there will end up being just the Economic Development Unit and the
Community Development Unit within the assets programs. Some of the work in human
development and reproductive health that did not easily fit in easily within the assets
framework is being moved into units where there is a better conceptual fit.

Pippa Bird, DFID

Many of you know that DFID underwent a radical change seven years ago. We were
formerly the Overseas Development Administration, part of the Foreign Commonwealth
Office, so we were attached to the diplomatic side of things. We are now a cabinet ministry
in our own right with a charismatic and risk-taking Minister. DFID acts as a bi-lateral
development agency while also providing support to the multi-lateral agencies and and the
NGO sector, but with bi-lateral funds going to countries with a country-led poverty
reduction strategy. We are tied philosophically to the World Bank‘s Development framework
(although from country to country there may be variations in this) and are restricted to those
countries deemed ―democratic‖. We are organized around the Millenium Development
Goals. We have 12-year strategy papers prepared for each, which sets out how we see
ourselves contributing in partnership with other organizations to achieve those targets. This
has been one of the significant changes associated with the shift from ODA to DFID.

DFID as a whole is being very strongly encouraged to lean towards budgetary support,
setting up the capacity of countries to be accountable for money going into the treasury
level. We are highly decentralized and with a very high level of financial delegation to the
country offices. Because of that we don‘t have a single approach. We have the target strategy
papers and then we develop a country strategy paper for each country on a three year cycle.
We work on a partnership basis but a partnership relationship can mean many different
things. One of the challenges is how to build genuine and equal partnerships when you are a
big financial donor agency which is known to have a growing budget.

The Sustainable Livelihood Approach has been adopted by many parts of DFID to a lesser
or greater extent. It depends on the individual, it depends on the department. It is not
something that we are bound to do. It originated from the natural resources sector and was
a response to the 1997 White Paper which was the new administration‘s first White Paper on
international development in a very long time, signifying a radical change. We worked with
the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex who had been working on
sustainable livelihoods. Their key point was a framework for viewing livelihoods, assets, and
activities. The framework is useful as long as it is treated with some flexibility – everyone
sees it in their own way. Nevertheless, basically we recognize five capital assets: human,
social, natural, physical, and financial. Some assets may fall into different categories. For
example, livestock may be natural capital but it may also be physical capital in the case of its
use as animal traction. In addition to these five assets, we focus on the institutional
environment and vulnerability context. The bulk of our work really focuses on these in
much the same way as Ford is working on influencing the enabling environment. In other
words we try to establish how the policy and institutional environment influence people‘s
access to, or their ability to transfer, assets and how it influences the vulnerability context.
We separate this context which can be controlled (at least in theory), from short term
contexts and trends that can have an impact on people‘s assets, but are less malleable to
intervention. The core concept that drove us towards the sustainable livelihoods approach
was a recognition of the importance of a people-centered approach. While we can influence
changes at many levels, we have to constantly remind ourselves that it isn‘t what we think is
right that is necessarily right. As you can appreciate, as an ex colonial power, there is a
historical reason for our humility here.

It‘s important to note that by saying that the SLA is a holistic approach, we don‘t therefore
advocate holistic interventions. This is not integrated rural development all over again.
There may be cross-sectoral initiatives whose design considers a sustainable livelihoods
approach, but the key message is that while we may think holistically, interventions tend to
be sectorally based because our core partners are sectorally based – obviously, budgetary
support negates this issue. Another principle we work with is building on strengths and
shifting focus from needs to strengths. We have also stressed the macro-micro links, seeing
policy in terms of its impact on the ground and figuring out how those upstream and
downstream linkages are made. And then the issue of sustainability – we consider
environmental, economic, social and institutional aspects of sustainability.

A final note on the sustainable livelihoods support office (SLSO) that I am representing
today – it is a cross-departmental ―learning office‖, the first of its kind in DFID. It has an
intellectual influx from both academic institutions and from its partners and network
engaged in SL approaches on the ground.

Richard Ford, Clark University

I am representing a research group called the Center for Community Based Development.
We are part of the Department of International Development at Clark University founded
about 30 years ago. While we don‘t really come out of the asset building side, that doesn‘t
mean we‘re not interested in asset building. In fact, my recent experience in Kenya indicated
to me how important it is to look at the positive dimension, even if that means being an
emerging voice going against the mainstream. However, there are still problems to be
defined; so the issue is how to line up assets to address those problems.

Our foundation is the work of Gordon Conway and Robert Chambers. With my colleague
Barbara Thomas-Slayter, we became increasingly dissatisfied with the more traditional data
gathering techniques because they generated data that could not necessarily be used, and
because the methods were often cumbersome, but mostly because the communities don‘t
benefit from an extractive process. So in 1986 – 87 we took the rapid appraisal data
gathering techniques and added two pieces to it. One piece was an action plan, designed so
that it could stay in the community, to follow on after data gathering and analysis was
conducted at the community level – hence the title Participatory Rural Appraisal. With Ford
Foundation support from the Nairobi office, we produced a PRA handbook which had an
initial print run of 15,000. Participatory Rural Appraisal was rooted in three assumptions.
One assumption was directly on target with the asset-based work, although we didn‘t know
it at the time. Local communities had enormous knowledge, information, and experience in
dealing with their particular environment or livelihood system or cultural context, but it
wasn‘t always very well organized. One of the things we could do as outside facilitators was
to help organize what the people already knew. The second premise of the PRA was that in
the poorest of communities worldwide, there were still considerable resources but they
weren‘t always very well mobilized. Our assumption was that outside groups could help to
mobilize what people already had rather than perpetuating the dependence mode that we
had helped to create worldwide where people wait for the outsiders to solve their problems.
Finally, there were large numbers of development assets – financial, technical and managerial
assets — that were floating around in different government and non-government agencies.
Often those assets were not tied to priorities or needs that were articulated by local groups.
Communities therefore became very good at prioritizing what outside agencies had to offer.
But if a community develops its own information in systematic ways, and if a community
can mobilize its own resources in systematic ways, then that‘s the beginning of dealing with
external agencies on the community‘s own terms. The assets the external agencies may make
available become assets that compliment the assets of the local community.

Thinking that PRA is now obsolete, we have been looking at things beyond PRA, and have
at least three or four things to talk about briefly. For more than ten years, Barbara Thomas-
Slayter has been deeply involved in developing tools for gender analysis with women that
complement efforts in strengthening the role of women. We have many publications that are
related to that. We have another version developed by one of our graduate students, Lloyd
Ross, called Urban Community Action Planning (UCAP). We have also brought Kenyans
over to the United States to run seminars on how they organize community based
management and development in Kenya, showing how the application of participatory tools
coming out of the African experience can energise neighborhoods in working class, blue
collar, post-industrial Worcester, Massachussets. We are also experimenting as part of a very
large program in geographic information systems in ways that the participation and
geographic information systems can complement one another. We can run our software on
a laptop, it‘s semi-user friendly and the process can be managed on very inexpensive

With Ford Foundation funding, we developed a combination of participatory tools and
quantitative tools called PAPPA. PAPPA is Policy Analysis for Participatory Poverty
Alleviation. It‘s based on the premise that while PRA has created many little spots of
interest, of accomplishment, of increased livelihood, of enhanced self-confidence and self-
image, of how one can go about and deal with water and forestry and livelihood and soil
erosion or whatever the priority may be, it has been pretty weak in having impact on national
policy. PAPPA takes the traditional participatory PRA kinds of tools and adds a brief
household survey. The household survey takes about 45 minutes per household to do. We
try to do a 10 percent sample in a village and in most cases we can do it in about a day by
getting four to five groups going out per day. We enter the data each night and we have the
results of the household survey back in the hands of the community the next day. So the
household survey is designed for the community‘s use as well as for use by outsiders. We
are firm believers that if participation is to be effective at the community level it needs to
have structure and it needs to have a system. PAPPA creates the possibility to enable
communities to test the impact of their qualitative community action plan on household
income, on their livelihoods, and on their economic well being. We believe the communities
have enough chaos as it is right now and we don‘t need to have loosy-goosy participation to
add to the chaos. There are a lot of groups who criticize us for being too anal in our style or
system. But the PAPPA is of enormous interest because it is possible to integrate
participatory qualititative data with the quantitative statistical data that can be used to inform
national policy.

As a third point, we are convinced that conflict mediation in explicit and systematic ways at
participatory community levels is something else to think about.

Let me say the systematic household surveys that we do quickly are probably only 88%
accurate as opposed to 93% accurate if we had a four hour interview, but the community can
use the statistical data to examine, for example, the impact of investing in a soil erosion
program. Examples in the handbook show how we break this down. If we are going to
enable communities to become their own planners, implementors, and to become their own
evaluators, then these are some of the skills that need to be imparted.

The integration of qualitative and quantitative makes possible a whole range of community
based indicators that they can monitor -- they don‘t have to wait for the outsiders to come in
to monitor. And as a final point, the community data can become part of a national
information system informing policy on agricultural, or water, or livestock raising, health,
education. We are now into deep and successful conversations with UNDP and the Ministry
of economic planning in Ghana to put this PAPPA approach in place in all 110 districts of
the country, and to train local district assemblies in ways in which this system can work. The
funding is still pending but we are excited about the prospect of trying out participatory
processes at the regional level, district and national levels.

Jody Kretzmann

I‘m a little out of my depth because of the range of international experience in this room.
We are militantly local. We came out of neighborhood work, both my colleague John
McNight and I, and got our feet wet and our spirits captured mostly by the civil rights
movement and then by the experience of being community organizers in Chicago
neighborhoods. We both learned that the quickest way to disempower a neighborhood is to
introduce a whole lot of social workers and lawyers. The minute the lawyers and social
workers appear, people have lost control of the agenda.

Let me give just a little bit of background on the ABCD and then a word or two on where
we are now and where we are thinking about going in the next couple of years, and then a
comment or two about points of intersection and slight difference with some of the work
that people are describing here. We came out of urban neighborhood work in North
America, particularly around Chicago. The roots there are very, very deep involving us in
communities as neighbors not as professionals. Like the labor movement or the civil rights
movement, the idea was that neighborhoods could have a voice. There was already a
powerful set of associational relationships here, and if you did mobilize and get them to
speak loudly to the outside institutions, they could be powerful forces for change.

For the last thirty to thirty-five years, John and I have both been heavily involved with the
emerging community development world in North America. And the fact that we‘ve got
five or six thousand of us just in the US that we didn‘t have twenty-five years ago means that
there is an awful lot of capacity at the local level in cities and in rural areas that was not there
before. So, those have been our learning laboratories. About fifteen years ago, we hit a little
bit of a crisis autobiographically when the only mayor we ever had in Chicago who knew
what a neighborhood was and wanted to support it– Mayor Earl Washington– died. All of
Chicago went into a deep depression at that point -- we did too and we started thinking
about ―What next?‖ That was when we got some generous support from our local
community foundation to leave town for three years, travel around to neighborhoods across
the US and spend a lot of time talking to very vocal citizen leaders in tough situations such
as public housing, Native American reservations, low income neighborhoods. We went all
over the place collecting cases (that‘s the university word) or stories (that‘s the community
word) about what people were doing to build social, economic, and political power at the
local level in the face of real challenges. We then picked the top two hundred of the three
thousand cases or stories that we got, put a little framework around them and produced
Building Communities from the Inside out (what we call ―The Green Book‖).

John and I began to think about what we should do next when much to our surprise, with
absolutely nothing but word of mouth, this really took off. The community development
world is a small world. We were faced with the question of whether or not we wanted to
take advantage of the momentum and build a big institution. We decided ―No‖ - that we‘d
leave that to others. We decided we would never have more than five people in our office
and therefore we would need to build strategies that pushed the work out in all possible
ways. While the network grows, we‘ve been continuing to sit at the feet of community
builders and have produced a series of workbooks since then.

The reason this took off is two-fold. Number one, it just gave a simple piece of language to
something that people were already feeling – that they had been studied for their emptiness
for long enough. They know enough about their needs and will never learn anything more
from needs surveys so why not think about that full half of the glass and not that empty half
of the glass. (By the way, we are thinking about starting a new North American 12 step
group for people who are firmly addicted to needs!) The other reason is that it provided
―handles on the community‖ —a simpler list of handles to the various lists that you have all
been working with around the different names of capital. The green book was organized
around the five kinds of resources: the skills and capacities of the people as individuals; the
local, informal, sometimes non paid, voluntary associations which sometimes get overlooked
as a category when we are talking about assets; local institutions (public, private and non
profit) located in the community but sometimes not controlled by community folks; the
physical resources including the environmental resources; and the local economy. One of the
interesting conversations to have here is how the lists intercept with each other, where the
gaps are, and how they differ.
In the last six to eight years, we have been doing a number of things to continue to learn
from local communities. One of our first workbooks was a collection of capacity
inventories. These are the opposite of a needs survey at the local level, with guidelines on
how to ask about skills and capacities. We have also found that the distinction between local
associations (where volunteers and members do the work) and local institutions (where paid
people do the work) is an important distinction at the local level. We have been more and
more interested in discovering how communities can mobilize these local associations. We
see in communities that the development table contains lots of skilled and committed
institutional representatives but not very many associational representatives, and not very
many folks from the churches, the cultural groups, the youth groups, the sports groups, the
block clubs and so on.

Another workbook I have brought here is our own take on evaluation which I think
resonates with lots of the work that many of you around the table do. It‘s simply a
discussion about the lessons and challenges and opportunities for community ownership in
the evaluation process. Finally, I have brought workbooks that have pooled our
conversations with people in rural settings. One is called ―The Organization of Hope.‖ The
title comes from a woman in West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains who when we
asked, ―What are you doing? ‖ said, ―I‘m finding hope and organizing it. It‘s the
Organization of Hope.‖

The latest workbook that came out a couple of months ago is an attempt to think in an asset
framework about the new and continuing, sophisticated emergence of local community
development corporations in all their various forms and their current lessons about how they
think about the internal and external assets.

As we think ahead, we are very much intrigued by all that we have to learn from our
colleagues who are working in the international context. This is a very rich discussion that is
simply going to accelerate in the next decade. We are also working here in North America
with our steering committee – our adjunct faculty. One of the ways we‘ve extended the work
is to find like-minded people, some of whom are funders, some whom are organizers, some
whom are teachers, all of whom are really doing asset based work discovering, connecting
and mobilizing local resources. They have become our steering committee around theUnited
States now. We think that the ABCD work as we understand it spreads in two ways – one
geographic and the other sectoral. Geographically, we‘re trying to help nurture the
emergence of networks. There are metropolitan area and state networks, and local networks
like the Kinetic Assets network! All these represent our continuing effort to push the work
out and have it owned by local practitioners and leaders in a variety of places in North
America and maybe beyond. I go back to Australia next week to work again on the
emergence of an Australian ABCD network. We also find ourselves working with individual
sectors —the health care sector, criminal justice, education— all of which are in the process
of rediscovering a community presence in some way. Community is being rediscovered as
an actual and potential co-producer of good outcomes, so that, for example, more and more
people in the health care industry recognize the limits of their capacity to produce health
without the important participation and leadership of local communities, and more and
more people in the criminal justice system recognize the limits of both police and jails in
terms of dealing with justice issues at the local level. So a lot of our work these days is being
pulled into the intersection between big systems and institutions on the one hand and
communities on the other. With all their diversity and messiness they have the potential of
producing the kinds of outcomes that the people working in institutions want to produce.
We‘re working increasingly with a category of people that we think are really critical to
understand and know about. They are self-described as 'gappers', people who live in the gap
between big systems and institutions on the one hand, and communities on the other. They
may get their check from a hospital or school system, but their practice and understanding
and spirit is somehow in the community. Increasingly, we are finding creative directions
being explored by gappers.

Finally, I think we are really interested in talking with people like you about ways in which
activity at the local level can begin to be more influential at the policy level. We‘re convinced
that the way to think about our militant focus on locality is to say that it is absolutely
necessary, but absolutely not sufficient, to the work that needs to be done. I think we‘ve
learned about its necessity, and we‘ve also learned about its limits. I think we‘re more and
more interested in how the lessons and voices of local community building can be brought
into a larger national policy discussion.

Gord Cunningham

I‘ll talk for a few moments about the Coady approach to development. I‘ll talk about the
principles on which it is based, and then hopefully get into a discussion about where we see
it linking to the assumptions that ABCD is based upon. Our approach in development is
grounded in an eighty to ninety year tradition— a social movement that took place in the
northeastern part of Nova Scotia that is known locally and to some degree nationally as the
Antigonish Movement. This is a movement begun during a very depressed economic time
by several Catholic priests that were based at St. Francis Xavier University where the Coady
Institute is now located. It was led by Fr. Moses Coady and his cousin Fr. Jim Tompkins.
They began a process of really engaging the university in rural life. This meant taking the
classroom to the villages, to the kitchen tables, to the community halls and so on through
what they called study clubs, mass meetings, kitchen meetings, and People‘s Schools. It
resulted in the organization of credit unions and cooperatives that reshaped the northeastern
economy. This movement evolved and became an inspiration to other areas of Canada and
internationally. The Coady Institute was founded in 1959 as a result of the interest that
people in other areas of the world took in this phenomenon that was taking place in
northeastern Nova Scotia.

The Antigonish Movement was founded on six core principles: the primacy of the
individual; social reform must come through education; education must be dealing with the
economic; education must be through group action; effective social reform involves
fundamental changes in social and economic institutions; and the objective of ―a full and
abundant life‖ for everyone in the community. Our approach to development tries to stay
consistent with these while staying relevant to the contemporary context. We are first and
foremost an educational institute that brings people from the South to Canada for a five-
month Diploma Program in Community Based Development. Our interest in ABCD came
out of our own individual experience and exposure to work that John and Jody have spoken
about. We have found that Asset Based Community Development has really struck a chord
among our participants who, in turn, have taken it back to their communities and
organizations. We are in the process of trying to develop some action-research initiatives
with some of our overseas partners that build on work that John and Jody have influenced.

I think that both the ABCD approach to development and the Coady approach have some
real similarities. Number one is the belief that community development is an endogenous
process that cannot be brought into communities. If it is to be sustainable, there must be
people within the community driving the process. Another similarity is the discomfort with
the needs based approach. We also see the importance of recognizing the economic and
community building skills of community members. Lastly, we focus on member-based
associations or people organizations and their federations as the key vehicles for mobilizing
community assets. That‘s where I think we can really come together.

I see ABCD covering a number of different areas. One is the approach of appreciative
inquiry that hasn‘t been mentioned here this morning yet but this is essentially a strength-
based approach that can be an entry point for an asset-based approach. The second is the
recognition of social capital and its importance as an asset. We see that at the heart of
ABCD is the associational base of community life; associations are really the agents of
community development. They are what drive the process. Social capital feeds that process,
both in the kind of bonding activities that take place and the activities that bridge out to
leverage external support. There are also strong links with the whole field of participatory
approaches. Dick Ford talked about communities having considerable information that may
need to be organized, and having skills and resources which may need to be mobilized. I
think these are fundamental assumptions that we share with this approach. The area of
community economic development, particularly those models that place priority on
collaborative efforts is another important theme, particularly given our history with the
cooperative movement. Finally, we find links with the efforts to strengthen civil society in
the context of decentralization of governments.

We are beginning to work with NGOs that are willing to critically examine their own
relationship to community groups in terms of who is driving the development process and
how they may operationalize the asset based community development approach. We see
ABCD starting with NGOs and facilitators to help collect stories of past successes —what
has worked in the past, when the community has driven the process, when have they
initiated change for themselves. A core group from the community then undertakes an
exercise where they try to identify all those levels of assets that Jody mentioned. This core
group looks at all the flows of money that come into and go out of the community, and how
such flows can be diverted to benefit the community. Savings is a good example After
identifying all these kinds of assets, the critical part is building links between assets. You
have associations that may be willing to be engaged in community development. For
example, in Nepal, an association that started as a small youth group is now the single largest
rural credit union in Nepal. It started out as a recreational organization, but it soon got
drawn into community development and economic development activities. Finally, the
community began to leverage activities, investments and resources from outside the
community. What I think is critical here is that it is the community mobilizing first, initiating
action, doing a certain amount of progress towards their own visioning goal, and then
drawing in and leveraging external resources to do what they want to do.
The implication of this is a shift in the role of NGOs, and this is a challenge for many. We
have people from large NGOs in our programs and when we start talking about this, it is
difficult for people to make the shift because it is threatening. What we are most interested
in is working with key gappers to see if organizations can shift the process from being
NGO driven to being community driven.

The last thing that we got directly from John and Jody‘s work is the term ―leading by
stepping back‖. This has resonated with us and resonated with everyone we have talked to
about this. We are now starting to provide some training in asset based community
development, and are planning a 3 week offering next May called Community Driven
Development: Asset Based Approaches to Community Development.

2 (b) Discussion and Questions
Alison: Thank you to the six presenters for describing your respective organizations'
approaches to development. Who would like to start off the discussion?

Richard: I would like to ask either Jody or Gord whether the formulation of a community
vision or plan is part of the ABCD process?

Gord: I'll try to answer and then throw it over to Jody for his comments. From my
experience many community development practitioners begin their work with community
visioning, leading to a plan for the future. Our early experience with the ABCD process in
Africa and Asia (through partners that have played a facilitating role) indicates that the
process usually begins with a look at successful community-driven development activities in
the past - usually through some kind of an Appreciative Inquiry exercise. This leads to a
positive feeling about the community's capacity to undertake community building activities
themselves and a commitment to organize around an ABCD approach. A core group of
people, drawn from associational life, is formed and, rather than begin a visioning exercise
and planning process, this group undertakes a mapping exercise to uncover all the
community's assets. The rationale for this is twofold: 1) any initiatives should be built on the
community's strengths, and 2) you need to know what you have before you know what you
need. Once the mapping exercise is complete a (hopefully by now enlarged) core group
examines the possibilities for action. It is at this point that a community vision or plan is
constructed. Local associations are then recruited into efforts to carry out the various
initiatives in the plan. Over time the responsibility for stewarding or modifying the
community plan might shift from a core group of interested citizens to an informal
associations of associations. But our experience with this is very limited so I throw it over to
Jody for his comment.

Jody: Just two quick comments Gord. I agree with everything you‘ve said. The question here
is really: What forms of community organization mobilize a community and sustain it over
time? I think one of the entry points into that discussion for us has been the recognition of
the limits of the sustainability of moblization in the more traditional community-organizing
mode. What you mobilize is basically people‘s anger (the Saul Alinsky model). You figure
out what it is that people are most pissed off about and what would get them to the next set
of meetings about that topic. One of the problems with that obviously is that if you are
successful and you win whatever the issue is, people go home and don‘t come back. So you
really need the underpinning of something that is a positive pull rather than a negative push
on people to keep them at the table. So that‘s a terrifically important piece of the work. The
other thing is that we would tend to pay as much, if not more, attention to the shape and
power arrangements of the community table than to the outcomes of the vision. The vision
could be almost anything, but the shaping of the table, the building of the table, the
invitational nature of the table, the non-monopolization by the institutional sector of the
table— all of these are, from our point of view, really critical. Can you get beyond the usual
suspects at a table in a community? This is why I think that associational life is so crucial.

John: How is it that you deal with issues of power differentials in that situation? For
example, you may be looking at a village in India, and one caste lives on one side of the
street and the other caste lives on the other side of the street. They are occupying the same
space as a community but there are deep divisions. It seems to me that‘s a very serious

Jody: Absolutely. Somebody talked about the importance of conflict mediation as one of the
skills we've got to have in the communities. One of the community organizations I‘ve
worked with the most is the one in my own city. I live in a classic urban port-of-entry
neighborhood, so we have eighty languages at the local high school. We have, I think built a
fairly powerful and sustainable community organization that includes most of these groups.
One of the things we have to do constantly in that kind of a neighborhood is to make sure
there are spaces for the recognition and celebration of people‘s uniqueness before they‘ll
come together to collaborate. So we have a constant series of celebrations. One night
might be an Ethiopian night and another will be a Russian-Jewish night. When it is their
night to organize, they invite the entire community out for some sort of cultural celebration,
there‘s food and there‘s an emphasis on the kids. And what we found over and over again is
that people will not come to the community table unless there has been that kind of
affirmation of who they are and what they are bringing to the table that is uniquely theirs.
So some part of this work in setting a table, seems to us, the affirmation of the resources,
assets, ethnic allegiances, languages, cultures and capacities of groups and associations, that
are already there.

Bruce: I want to come back to this caste issue. I think there‘s a balance. Personally we‘re all
struggling for healthy communities, not solutions to problems. We get trapped sometimes.
Every community has problems, but they change over time. Being able to manage the
diversity and flow of events that you are going to have to confront, and the types of capital
that provide strength to the community, is going to vary depending on the culture. The
question of how we can we get the two caste groups across the lane together, or how can we
get a plan formed or how we can get different ethnic groups in our communities to celebrate
themselves are really best practice questions. And we all struggle with these. But I submit
that we put in 90% of our effort there when we should be putting in 30% of our effort there
and 70% into two main issues.

The first issue, which is really a category of issues, I would call: roles, processes, ownership
and agency. For all our lingo and philosophy about this we are all too much the agents. The
agency of change, the real agency of change, is this ownership we keep talking about in the
community and how we can as actors develop or stimulate processes that will achieve it.
And finally it comes back to roles; the roles of international development agencies that want
to find the problem and solve it. This whole question of what is really the right role for your
organization is what we don‘t give enough thought to.

The second issue is that we need a better understanding of the social, economic, cultural,
ethnic and political structure of the communities. This is what is so hard to change. This is
the caste system. In my community there is great wealth and also great inequality. There are
ethnic groups and religious groups. That structure is a political reality that just hangs there.
What can we do to change that often totally inequitable structure? For me the answer lies in
writing the future history of the community, of finding the will of people in the community
and often that is through children, where the biggest investment of everybody‘s positive
energy is directed. As an industry we have thrown politics out the window. Alinksy started
with politics but that has come to be seen as negative. We've got to bring politics back in a
positive way. We have to create structural change that is really political change. We‘re not
going to get the rest of these things done through best practice questions, or, if we are, it will
be very slowly.

Pippa: I just wanted to pick up on the point of politics. This is an issue that keeps coming up
again and again for us. I mean where is the politics in the sustainable livelihoods approach?
Political capital is not the same as social capital. It is the subtleties of power difference, not
really caste to caste power differences, but the more subtle power differences that are the
most difficult to address. We've been doing quite a lot of work in trying to understand power
balances. For instance, what is the role of external supporters in shifting power balances?
And we've been doing some thinking around the formation of different kinds of external
'supporters clubs' and the relationship between local groups and these external supporters
clubs in reshaping power processes. The other question I would throw out there is: what is
the role of formal versus informal institutions in all of this? In some of the work we are
doing in community forestry, for example, we are struggling with whether we should start
with an existing institution or build a new institution?

Richard: Politics is real, but I'd argue that what all of our approaches are doing is focusing on
accountability, and the changing of political power is a factor of institutions accountability
that can be cultivated inside of villages or urban neighborhoods or whatever may be. It‘s
learning how to use the information, whether it be assets or problem definitions or what
have you - how you use the information to elicit greater accountability. I‘m still naïve
enough to think that information does have power and the the organization of that
information and it‘s teaching of the skills or the acquisition of the skills of accountability that
can address these kinds of power. Now on your question about institutions, you deal with
what is there, and if its not enough you think about some new ones, but I don't think there is
a theoretical answer to this. It is a day to day, grassroots, seat of the pants process really.

Pippa: My point was really that there is this spaghetti junction of institutions and then there
is the community where we are working. How to see through that web?

Richard: And what you can be assured of is that a week later it will be different. The
dynamics are so considerable in the community organizations and if you are away three
weeks you are out of date. Or at least that‘s the experience that I‘ve had.
Michael: One potential response to the questions of accountability and politics comes in the
use that you made in your paper, and that others have increasingly been doing, of the term
civil society, and (as you put it) helping people to move from being clients to citizens.
Indirectly, without using the same terminology, many of the movements that preceded this
one have in fact been doing precisely that. Saul Alinsky was turning people in TWO into
people who were capable of articulating a demand to the city council and getting it acted
upon. And that turns a welfare recipient into a citizen. COPS does the same thing in San
Antonio and the whole IAF model tends to do it. I think that focusing on strengthening civil
society in the broadest of definitions, (to some extent as Michael Edwards does, and as you
have pointed out in your paper) is a way of approaching the politics of these problems from
the side of the angels. No one is going to argue that we weaken the strength of civil society.
And as soon as we start talking about the characteristics of civil society that we want to
promote, we quickly begin talking about the democratization, the transparency and the
participation within civil society. And that becomes then a link between the informal
organizations of civil society and the formal organizations of civil society to which we more
often apply the term politics.

Alison: I‘d like to throw a question out which was a conundrum that we struggled with when
we were writing the paper and I‘d love to hear reactions from this group on this. We‘re in a
world now where government is downsizing and on the one hand one can regret that, but on
the other hand if you take the position that government services have been needs based and
dis-empowering in some respects, then one can applaud it. And now with this orientation
toward strengthening civil society, encouraging people to shift from being clients to being
citizens, theoretically citizens should be in a better position to hold governments accountable
for what citizens are indeed entitled to. But there is no consensus really as to what are the
entitlements of citizenship. There is always the danger that the asset-based approach will be
co-opted by those who feel that the poor should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.
Whereas in fact it is a way in which communities are strengthened to be able to advocate for
what they are entitled to, whether it‘s land in the land reform laws, whether it‘s health care or
education. I am wondering where all of the approaches you are representing stand on that

Richard: I‘ve always felt that participation is something one uses when the problem exceeds
the capacity of one cultural group or one individual to deal with the issue. So some health
problems can probably be solved by individuals, but when the problem becomes such that
you need collaboration, you need unity, you need Saul Alinsky‘s organizing, that‘s when
these participatory tools come in to help mobilize and to focus on the structure. But when
individuals can deal with this problem, there‘s no reason to get into the participatory side of
it. It‘s always been an underlying assumption that I‘ve held.

Jody: Another way to think about what Richard and Michael have put in front of us is to
think about the old image of the three-legged stool. Societies need a strong public sector, a
strong private sector and a strong civil society. That is really what we are looking for at both
the local and national levels. A lot of our policy discussion in the United States over the last
40 years has been about thinking about the public sector and to some degree its relationship
to the market. I think it‘s just in the last few years that the civil society leg of the stool has
entered more powerfully into the debate. Much of the dried out and ineffective public sector
forms (for instance urban school systems, some functions of the public health system, the
criminal justice system or local governance) are going to be altered as civil society is
strengthened and it‘s role is to some degree re-thought in relationship to the public sector. I
think it‘s harder, particularly these days, to enter into a discussion that allows a strengthened
civil society to modify the market than to have a strengthened civil sector modifying the
public sector. That latter discussion I think is happening more and more frequently and in
more helpful and powerful ways. So as civil societies are strengthened, the public sector I
think also redefines its role. It may not be a shrinking role - it may be an expanding role. We
always like to talk about the outside helping institutions shifting from a charity mode to an
investment mode. You folks at Ford talk about this all the time. And you know that it‘s
harder to be an investor in civil society than it is to be a purveyor of charity. You've got to
actually know something about that community – who is real, who has followers, what‘s
worth investing in, what's not.

David: I was just going to tell a story. I discovered your (Jody's) work when I was in Brazil.
One of our senior fellows there, Marcos Kisil, has been using your methodology and
working in eight cities surrounding Sao Paulo. These cities range in size from around
100,000 to more than 300,000 population. What to me was a valuable part of that
experience was that they got the process started at the same time in eight communities. They
were able to bring together the community organizers and representatives from the
communities periodically to share experiences. It was of incredible value to be able to have
that sharing across the eight districts. What emerged for me was the need for flexibility. You
shouldn't have in mind a specific outcome at the end of the process. In some of those
communities an existing organization became a coordinating group for the effort, in other
cases a new organization emerged. There were different leadership partners involved. But a
common element in all was the discovery that the civil society has enormous resources that
they didn't know existed. There was a sense of excitement in the group about this.

Another discovery was that these civil society groups were ineffectively coordinated, and as a
result these groups were ineffective in negotiating with the city or state governments. By
bringing those groups together in a coordinated effort, they were able to dramatically
increase their ability to sit down at the table with city government officials and say "This is
what we mean". In one case there was this technical college where work had been suspended
because there had been some problem with the government and the money had been cut
off. They organized through the process as I just described and they were able to go to city
government and say we want to get this back on track. They got the work started, but more
than that, they started asking what this technical college should be focusing on. What were
the needs of the community? What level of training was required? So they ended up getting
the physical building on track but also a new set of curricula for the community.

Jody: Interesting. McKnight was just in Brazil last month and he learned that two months ago
the entire green book had been translated into Portuguese.

David: And what did he find? What was he impressed by?

Jody: He met with a whole series of NGOs, not just from the Sao Paulo area and he came
back very energized by the process. There was a clear shift taking place in lots of areas.
John: Just as an addendum to that, Marcos has been leading an informal internet group of our
other senior fellows - Mozambique, the Philippines and some other countries. They are
sharing experiences so the web is expanding.

Bruce: I want to come back to agency in that connection, which is why we are all here. Just a
philosophical comment: if you look at a wealthy community, like my own, government really
works (the public sector is doing fine, when you need something you go to them and ask and
they give it to you, they want to serve the population) and the business sector really works
(they are busy opening new businesses constantly and making things happen) and where the
civil society sector is just cooking (in my community there are more than fifty established
non-profits all doing good things). Really what you see here is the failure of democracy to
allow citizens to be citizens because there‘s no space for them in all this structure.
Everything is taken care of. When there is a crisis you get action, but if you want to create a
vehicle or agency, if you want to create a vision or leadership you need a different agency.
And I think that is a different plight.

Sometimes we think we are solving this problem but over the years, you want a capacity for
the community to go up and down, in and out, solving different issues. That‘s why we
picked community foundations or national development foundations in small countries as
entities. I‘m struck by the fact that there are 5,000 CDCs (Community Development
Corporations) in the US and Canada that a whole movement that the Ford Foundation
essentially gave birth to. There‘s a whole career line. Hundreds of thousands of people are
being trained in and earning their living in community development corporations so that was
an agency that was literally created. I don‘t how well they are working. Are CDCs working at
a broad enough conceptual level? So the other question I put is, what have we learned about
agency that we can take away to deepen our work in different places? And what have we
learned about leadership, because clearly without leadership, this doesn‘t really happen.

Michael: I‘d like to give a very brief response to what Bruce just asked about and then to
make another comment in response to your question Alison. Ironically, having learned this
phenomenon of the CDCs and supported it for 20 plus years, we are a little bit unhappy
with the direction it has taken. In fact we are now pulling back most of our support for
CDCs. Partly because, as Jody knows well, these 5000 CDCs doing great work at a
grassroots level have spawned a cluster of intermediaries that have become gatekeepers, very
expensive gatekeepers, and quite frankly we found them to be babies that we can no longer
feed. And we don‘t have a mechanism for dealing directly with the 5000 groups that really
need the assistance at the grassroots level. Many of these CDCs now have a variety of public
funds going to them. Part of why we chose to reduce our emphasis was that many of these
CDCs became the agents or intermediaries for communities, serving a technical and financial
need, but also sopping up agency from the local communities and limiting what they could

In response to your question Alison, which I though was excellent; one of the ways in which
we find a lot of synergy between the work that we do in our asset building community
development unit and what our colleagues in the peace and social justice area are working on
is in the question of redefinition of rights - particularly an increased emphasis on social and
economic rights. And trying to move from the relatively widespread acceptance of the
Universal Declaration on Human Rights and work on the development of (globally) new
codes of social and economic rights from which one can begin to define the entitlements.
We found that it isn‘t too useful to start at the grassroots level with an entitlement that
wasn‘t out there before. So we are finding inside and outside strategies.

On the outside we are trying to determine which groups are redefining those social and
environmental rights. One very concrete example where this is working somewhat effectively
is in the movement that calls itself the environmental justice movement. These are
communities, often communities of people of color, that are redefining what they are willing
to accept in terms of the relationship between their community and toxins. They are
redefining their rights of access to environmental resources and defining it in a justice
context and taking it into the political arena. That is, an entitlement to protection from the
impact of toxins or an entitlement to clean air, or an entitlement to a clean environment.
And from a justice perspective, they are beginning to redefine the notion of what our
environmental rights tend to be.

Alison: And is this a function of the state to protect those interests or is there a supra-
national body that offers these rights and entitlements?

Michael: It doesn‘t work that way. We tend to support the groups that are trying to redefine
it at the supranational level as a way of getting beyond the limitations that some of us find in
our governments that are somewhat constrained by their definitions of social and economic

Alison: So it would go through a process in which various states would be brought onside to
these newly defined entitlements?

Michael: Right. And it‘s a movement that is quite rich now. There is also a coalition of
funders here in the United States who are supporting the creation of a declaration of social
and economic rights.

Philip: When you talk about civil society as a means for democratization, we all talk about the
entitlements of citizens or particular action agendas or priorities of a particular group. But
this is a little disturbing to me. I think it‘s wrong to talk about rights without talking about
responsibilities, particularly in a citizenship context. The responsibility of the citizen is
participation, whether in an individual way or through the organizations that they form. An
entitlement is good government - that is the goal. Once you have the governments then you
can add the rest. But in terms of creating a responsive society with strong citizens, it has to
be that their participation is a responsibility and the entitlement is good government. When
you start to think about entitlements first we are jumping ahead of ourselves.

Alison: Yeah, except that I think there needs to be some idea of where the dividing line is
between what the citizen is responsible for and what the citizen is entitled to. To attain what
they are responsible for they need to mobilize their assets and resources and skills. They are
also responsible, as you say, to advocate for or through the government structures so that
things that they can't do for themselves are in some way accessible. It‘s that dividing line I
think that is kind of slippery.
Jody: One of the modifications from that discussion is not to think about citizen
responsibility but citizen opportunity, I think our understanding of community at this point
is to say that the major dynamic of exclusion or marginalizaton in a community, (whether we
are doing it to kids or elders or people of a different color or people of different language or
people) is to regard people as deficient and therefore never to ask for their contribution. So
that a healthy community becomes a community where everybody‘s contributions are asked
for constantly, where everybody is at the table to some degree.

A different way of thinking about the challenge of community building is to say how do you
structure a community so that it is a series of invitations and opportunities where everyone
can contribute. To me that comes back to a plan. Agency can be demonstrated through
creation of a plan. The invitation is in fact the plan, and then there are multiple resources
some of which many be external but many of which, maybe most of which, are internal
resources to implement whatever these priority areas may be. So the plan is a tool

Shari: In listening to all this discussion, I‘ve been dying to chew over these issues with people
who have been really focusing on it for a long time. And it seems to me, in the developing
world context, (and I‘m certainly drawing from my Latin American experience more than
others) there is going to be one huge challenge to the implementation to this approach and a
tremendous potential opportunity at the same time. This is something I actually posed to our
senior fellows when we were recently in Namibia and I was responded to with silence. It
might have been the way that I put the question. I‘ve always been struck by the fact (and
this is somewhat related to what Phillip is saying) that there is a sense of lack of belonging to
the macro and even municipal level government structures in the countries where we work.
Those people are viewed as the enemy. Why? Because of decades (or perhaps hundreds of
years) of a lack of responsiveness to citizen needs and citizen desires and a complete
disconnection from what has become a relatively recent process of democratization. I think
it is changing to some degree. But these countries all rank very high on the corruption scale
and there is just a tremendous lack of accountability. In this context the government (the
police and all the structures) becomes the enemy. There is the Guatemalan experience of
tremendous violence to some less violent experiences but in many places citizens lack a
sense of belonging which I think is the greatest challenge for this movement. This is
especially true if, in order to scale up these processes you really need to bring it to the
political level and the structural level. Where do you go when those may not necessarily be

So I challenge in a way what Phillip is saying. In a sense yes, obviously people need to have
responsibilities in addition to rights, but they have also been denied their rights for so long,
that it seems to me that maybe that‘s where the work needs to be done. On the flip side,
when I read social capital material and I think about the communities where we are working,
in order to confront this lack of belonging on the more macro level, communities have
organized social webs and networks growing out of families and communities structures that
are unbelievable compared to the things you are seeing in New York City for example. It‘s a
different type of social structure. But could N.Y. deal with, for example, the crisis that
Southern Africa is facing. In some countries, 25% of the population is HIV positive. What
happens to all of these AIDS orphans? There is tremendous social capital there because if
not, these countries would just fold up and go away. So there seems to be an amazing
opportunity out there, if all this theory can work overseas. How do you capitalize on the web
of social capital, while the process of democratization is slowly taking hold, but is by no
means complete?

And on the whole issue of scaling up. To me, the best development I‘ve seen has been
deliberate, slow and extremely participatory. We were just in a community in Mozambique
and by the end of the day they were singing to us about Che Guevera and showing us all the
schools that they have created. How do you take that to scale? Especially how do you take it
to scale when all of the external factors of globalization and international development
assistance often work at cross-purposes with what the community is trying to do. But I do
think that if you invest even a small amount of resources in these various webs of social
connections that is where the potential is.

Michael: I think the flip side of what you asked, is probably the one which is the bigger
challenge in communities. Because with the downsizing of governments, and the cutting
back on government, what we have is a redefinition of the responsibility of the state, often
without much contemplation, particularly with the communities that are eventually most
affected by it. And so people in communities are having to redefine for themselves, how
they are going to engage. And that requires agency, it requires organization, it requires
gumption, it requires finding hope and organizing it. One example that I can give you of
where this may actually be working, although it isn‘t specifically using an asset building
model, has to do with NGOs in Mexico. Prior to 1988, when Salrnis came to power in
Mexico, the typical relationship between NGOs and the government was that the NGOs
were almost all from the left, they were almost all advocacy based and the role that they
served was to be intermediaries in between communities and the established government.
They built a set of demands and helped communities to organize so that they could get
resources from the state. But after 1988 it was difficult for these NGOs to get much from
the state because bank pressures and internal decisions within the government. The
government was shrinking all these programs that they were previously channeling through
these party affiliated NGOs. And what emerged was a transformed NGO sector where for
the first time about 1991 or 1992, you began to get NGOs that were capable of going to
communities and saying: "It isn‘t any longer, what we can get for you from the state, it‘s
what we can help you do on your own to fill the additional responsibilities which are being
dumped upon you by the shrinking of the state‖. It wasn‘t a democratic process like we
might think. We elected Ronald Regan, he shrank the state. It was a political process. In
Mexico it was the World Bank that said you will cut back the number of subsidies. The
places where you can see the greatest success for scaling up of activities is where the
communities themselves and the NGOs that they are working with have been able to make
this transformation. And I think there are some very good case studies.

Philip: We know of a number of the NGOs that are doing this.

Jody: It‘s a critical question I think both domestically and internationally, this question about
agency at the community level. The question is about what communities can do with what
they've got and what they need to get from outside. We think there is a two pronged way to
approach community building. One of them has to do with mobilizing resources, what we
can do ourselves. The other has to do with going outside to make it happen on a larger scale.
Philip: And when we talk about agency, there are two kinds, there is citizen agency – citizens
as activists or agents – but you also have organizations as agents. In my experience in Latin
America you see on the one hand very weak citizen agency and on the other hand very
strong organizational agency. I think it is important to recognize the distinction.

Bruce: We are all interested in seeing more asset-based community development. So one
route to get there is to go down through the top, the World Bank, the UN system, the
government system. Another way is to go the private way, the foundation route. Try to look
at the macro picture and pull different levers, putting some money down in some places that
creates some movement. An example could be creating an entirely new community
development corporation in the United State,) a new actor that would be the agent of ABCD
type of development in the communities. Here we are, non-profits ourselves, we‘ve got
networks and we are used to working with non-profits. Community foundations can be built
and created or are sometimes existing. But I think the question that everybody has to think
about is this: what is the most effective way to put our energies into reaching the
community? It could be that local government is the right agent in a community to convene
an ABCD process with non-profit actors and with the business community. In which case
going the through the top-down approach would probably be a more effective way of
getting there. It could be that creating new community foundations or other non-profits
may be the better way to go.

Andrea: This is going back to something else that comes out of my experience being there on
the ground, working with intermediary organizations that are trying to provide small
resources to allow communities to build their own capacity and develop ideas that they have
of things that might work. Look at the rural South African context, marginal areas in a
resource rich country. How you bridge the notion that government should be working for
communities, that communities are entitled to certain resources, with the notion that
communities should be doing much more for themselves? I would like to think in very
practical of terms of how you can apply this process. How do we convince them to see what
they already have and also work with the local government to say ―Okay, how can we match
the little bit you can do?‖ That‘s my dilemma. How do you bring to communities the idea of
an instant power and say that you are entitled to this? The reality is maybe the resources
aren‘t there, so then what? How do you work with that when you are looking in peoples
faces and they have gotten to the point of saying, ―We deserve this.‖

Gord: Perhaps on an international level we need to do what Jody did in the US. He and
John McKnight went around and looked at communities that were seemingly driving the
development process and then tried to distill out the characteristics of successful
community-driven development. When I look at the Antigonish Movement in Nova Scotia I
can't help but think that leadership was a key factor.

We have talked a bit about scaling up but I think we also need to look at scaling 'out'. In the
heyday of the Antigonish Movement the process of community-driven development spread
from one community to the other very quickly. It only took one or two successful examples
of producer cooperatives and credit unions for the ideas to spread. The movement then
assembled in a critical mass of communities who were all more or less following the same
process. The second tier organizations - the cooperative federations – really didn‘t
materialize until there were lots of communities involved.
Mary: A brief response to Andrea and then back to a couple of things that were said by
others. On the particular South African situation, I don‘t have an answer for you but just to
commiserate I think that that situation is very crucial and it‘s a difficult one. It was a people's
movement that brought about positive political change. Militancy brought about political
rights. So you might ask why can‘t people use those same methods to get what they really
need to sustain themselves economically and socially? But I know of a situation with a micro
finance institution in South Africa where people were so militant they nearly killed the
organization. While mobilization of the masses has been very important, how do you switch
gears to build something instead of fight for something?.

The other thing that I really wanted raise, and I hope we get a chance to talk about this this
afternoon is that all of us are resource organizations of one variety or another, financial,
capacity building, research – you name it. We are in the resource development business and I
think there is a responsibility that goes along with being in that business. We heard that there
are 5000 CDCs here in the US and similarly there are thousands of NGOs that have been
spawned all over the world by donors and others. What‘s the responsibility of the resource
organizations in all of this? Michael you talk about cutting the CDCs off the nipple. Well
where is Ford‘s responsibility in this? What does Ford do or could Ford do differently now
in the new phase to prevent that kind of self serving institutionalization that goes on with
NGOs overseas and CDCs here in the US? What can we, not just donors but other resource
organizations, learn from this as we promote what we feel now is the more appropriate
asset-based or asset building approach?

(Details about lunch, resume at 1:30)

    3.     (a) Identifying areas of overlap, complementarity or
               divergence between the development approaches and
                strategies outlined in the morning session
           (b) Identifying organizations or development
               approaches that are not present at this table but are
               important to this discussion.
           (c) Identifying potential areas for collaboration

Alison: There‘s a few people that are going to leave at 3:00 pm so I was going to suggest that
we perhaps move the discussion about ―What organizations or development approaches are
not present at this table?‖ to the end. To start us off I'd like to pick up on Mary‘s question at
the end of the morning discussion, which, if I‘m paraphrasing it right Mary, is: What are the
implications for the role of external insitutions? And then after that, we can start to
reexamine the different presentations we had this morning and try to find out where there is
complimentarity and where there is overlap. This will hopefully lead into a discussion about
where we might usefully be able to collaborate, in a synergistic fashion.
How do we avoid nurturing or creating institutions or organizations that are simply self
serving in their approach? We have noticed at the Coady that the concept of Asset based
Community Development is very difficult for our participants to adopt. The intellectual
adoption of the approach is really in conflict with their own sense of insecurity about, well
what does this mean for me and my job, to the organization and what does it mean about
the way I operate in a community setting?

Jody: I can think of one example where Ford set up this awards program for governments.
About 7 years ago, it landed a cheque for $30,000 on the desk of the city manager of
Savanna, Georgia. It was one of the few times that a city manager‘s office had ever had non-
earmarked money to do something creative. They did their needs survey and they found the
five poorest neighborhoods in Savanna. Then they wrote a letter to every household in the
neighborhood saying:

       "Hello, we are your city government, we don‘t usually write you letters but what we‘d
       like to know is; does anyone in your household have any good ideas about how to
       make your block better? If you do have any good ideas, we‘d really be interested in
       knowing about them, because we are the city government and we have things like
       garbage trucks and post-hole diggers and we might be able to help you. And by the
       way, we have a little bit of money. We could give you up to $500 for your project but
       we‘re not going to fund individuals so get three or four of your neighbors to sign up
       or go through the local block club. Remember, it‘s got to be a project that makes the
       community better."

And they didn‘t know what to expect. What they got in the first year was 84 letters back, not
all of them asking for money. And out of the 84, only 2 asked for the full $500. Most groups
were asking for a couple of hundred dollars for rakes and seeds etc. Then 6 months later the
City Manager's office began to get refund cheques back from groups that said ‗We don‘t
need all this money.‖ Anyone in the funding business knows that you always ask for the full
$500 and figure out what to do with it later.

So, they have been doing this now for 7 or 8 years and what they‘ve called it is ‗Grants for
Blocks‘. What they‘ve discovered is that while the neighborhoods are still low-income they
feel different. There is more pride, and the pride is visible physically in all the ways you
could imagine: fixed curbs and signage, and no more garbage strewn lots but community
gardens instead. But the other thing they discovered is that this was a sure-fire leadership
discovery mechanism. It got under the radar to people who have never been involved in
civic life before. Further, with a minimal set of incentives it was able to find who could get
something done at the block level. And what they discovered was that there were more
leaders in these communities that anybody knew about, including the people in the
communities. Then they began, very wisely, convening the leaders, and so what worked in
this block was taught to the other blocks. They then began convening the leaders across
neighborhoods and began talking about how to scale the block stuff up to the neighborhood
level. And then those that wanted to, and not everybody did, began conversations about how
the five neighborhoods could work together to make the city better.

Out of the process came three new city council people. If you talk to the people of Savanna,
Georgia, the old timers will sort of wax nostalgic about the good old days when you could
hold a city council meeting pretty much in private – nobody would come. Now people are
there all the time. It is their city council! So, it‘s a story about what Gord said this morning,
"leading by stepping back". It is about how you think about the institutional capacity to
enhance citizen space, the space where local people come in, begin to be productive and
start taking on the full roles of citizen as producers, and citizens as advocates and
spokespeople to the larger institutions and systems as well.

One of the ways we think about our role is in how to get local NGOs, local governments
and local institutions of a variety of kinds, to think about ways of multiplying their capacity
to reach their mission. Schools are as bad as they are probably because they don‘t have any
idea about all the resources that are right outside their door, even in the lowest income
communities. Hospitals are as isolated as they are, as poor as they are in terms of producing
health, because they don‘t understand that they've got lots of healthy young mothers out
there who could spread the word on how to have healthy babies, if they were engaged. So
the question is how do you turn institutions and systems into thinking that way about what
their role is with respect to communities.

Natasha: Are we really talking about NGOs and institutions taking a "hands-off " approach
or shifting from a controller to a catalyst or convener?

Jody: 'Hands on' in a different way.

Natasha: Exactly, and you know, in the catalyst mode you can leverage so much. I think that
is exactly what you‘re talking about: recognizing the points of leverage that you have while
still recognizing that you have limitations in the role you can play. I think recognizing that is
really important; and being comfortable with that role is probably the biggest, most
important step to make.

Philip: We are all resource organizations struggling with defining our roles and
responsibilities. People have said earlier that we can play a key role in identifying
information, organizing it and identifying and mobilizing resources. Part of our
responsibility is recognizing that communities have answers. Maybe it is at a micro level but
communities do work and there are answers in the communities in which we work.. The key
is in identifying those assets and facilitating their growth and development.

Pippa: On your point about institutions. I do feel we need to challenge ourselves to think
differently. This inevitably means looking at the issue of power. It can be very difficult to get
a large bureaucratic organization to change to a facilitative and convening role. Action Aid in
Uganda is one organization that I know has done this to some degree.

Richard: The biggest problem in the various communities we‘ve worked in over many years
is the money. As soon as money shows up then the theft begins or the possibility of theft
begins or the competition for who will get the money begins. And all of the stuff we do, we
do with that money. One still needs somehow to put fuel in the Land Rover or to have a
computer so that somebody can send out the letter that says Welcome to the neighborhood‘.
And if you‘re dealing with somewhat new ideas, you need this core funding. Modest but
core funding so that there will be a Land Rover that will run and that there‘s going to be
someone who will answer the telephone and those things. And ultimately it‘s the
competition over those core resources that create this behavior. I don't think we've said it
explicitly but it is NGO behavior over trying to get these resources that is self-serving. I
don‘t have a solution, but I do know that moneyless development is by far the most
sustainable, that the ownership is overwhelming in those kinds of situations. From my
perspective that‘s the model I keep in my head, so maybe it‘s minimal as opposed to
moneyless. But I haven‘t in my mind solved the core expense issue.

In Kenya, extension is dead. Not because there are no staff but because there are no
vehicles, no petrol. And so they argue about who gets The Nation (daily newspaper) first.
So the newspapers rotate through 4 to 5 offices and then at 3 o‘clock they go home. But
there really is nothing going on, not because they are bad people, not because they are lazy
but they can‘t get the petrol. We have some experience with villages raising money for the
petrol and so the village will kick in, I don‘t know, 500 shillings or 1000 shillings, and then
the extension officer will be able to come up. Hopefully he doesn‘t run out of petrol on the
way home. But it is at this level that we need to think about your question relating to
institutional styles.

Shari: We constantly bump into this kind of thing. For example, you can‘t write a grant to
USAID to get a Land Rover. The whole absence of a technical/financial resource space or
infrastructure for civil society development is really thwarting its development in many
places. I was recently in a community in rural Mozambique and it was very clear to me that it
was the intervention of very small amounts of money (a refrigerator for their community
clinic, materials to build housing for teachers that were coming from the city) that enabled
the community to take a giant leap in their own development. Not only did the intervention
help the community get a few of the resources they needed but it was empowering in the
sense that it also enabled them to better articulate what they wanted as a community.

And that is precisely what we are all trying to do here at Synergos. Our foundation building
program is about creating local funding institutions that are closer to the ground, that
understand the situation better. This way the small community organization in Kenya, or
wherever it is, could apply for a small grant from a local community foundation. This way it
would be a relationship between peers, although not completely. Clearly the one with the
money is going to have more power than the one without it, but certainly not the level of
disparity we have talked about between say, the Ford foundation and some of these CDCs.
Our main challenge really is how to build the financial resource base for these organizations.
There are so many social and economic problems that they‘re trying to face that they end up
being so incredibly, programmatically focused. I think there is a tremendous amount to be
learned from the program side of what these organizations are doing in their convening role
but when it comes to donor services they‘re just not there yet. And so we need to focus on
social justice philanthropy. I think so much of this has to do with the trust issue that we
talked about before. I mean, I listen to the story about Savanna and I think: How would
that be received in Mexico? They would first of all, not believe it was true.

Jody: There were lots of steps that I skipped.

Shari: Exactly. Think back in our own history to when there wasn‘t that level of trust.
Certainly there were communities in the United States and in Canada and elsewhere, decades
ago, where citizens would have looked similarly at a letter that came from their local
government. So maybe it‘s a question of looking back to find ideal examples where there has
been real representation and connection to political structures in our society. Presumably it
has been done in communities in our society. Maybe it's not the 2002 Savanna example,
maybe it‘s the 1960 Savanna example.

Michael: The scale is such an important factor here in this discussion. On the one hand-we‘re
trying to find ways of helping local communities build their assets as local communities
maybe as small as 60-70 people living in an isolated Northern California town. When we
think of scale, Ford Foundation was at one time the largest foundation in the world. We are
still, however, the largest foundation in terms of size of our staff. And yet when we think of
scale we think of ourselves by comparison with USAID and the World Bank and the Asia
Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank and the funds that they tend
to manage, and we see ourselves as defenders of the community-based enterprises. When
the World Bank says, ‗We want to get engaged now in more community-based natural
resource management‘, the response of most of my colleagues around the world is ―Please
no, keep them away! They don‘t know how to speak in dollops of less than $50 million or
$100 million. They can‘t even think about a program that‘s any smaller than that.‖ And yet
we also have to find away to bridge to what Dick was talking about. I think one way to talk
about it, is not so much the zero money project, but to think of it as the sensitively funded
project as opposed to the insensitively funded project. One manifestation of that for us is
that my colleagues in our international offices (that are all in less developed countries) have
smaller budgets than those of us here in New York. This is because they have argued with us
that they cannot place the money well when they have to work with a large number of
smaller grants which is the most sensitive way for them to tend to their grant money. So I
think one answer to the dilemma that you raised is to build mechanisms to seek out those
ways that can provide sensitive funding for asset based/asset building community processes.
That‘s a search that we‘re very interested in - finding the sensitive ways of doing that.

Pippa: Just to share an encouraging example – although I‘ll have to come back to you in a
couple of years to tell you how well it‘s worked. We are finding that our administrators are
under a lot of pressure (and some are getting burnt out) dealing with managing all their
disbursements. They feel particularly stressed in having to disburse the funds before the end
of the fiscal year, which doesn‘t always lead to the best decisions. We have found we just
didn‘t have the capacity to manage lots of small grants. So in Nepal, India, Bangladesh and
Malawi we are experimenting with setting up for example human rights or governance funds
which we are asking other people to manage. In some cases these funds are quite substantial
sums of money that are used to disperse small grants of $5,000 to $10,000 except in Nepal
where the maximum you can ask for is $500. The point is that this is bilateral donor money
that DFID has handed to the non-governmental sector to manage. DFID maintains a seat
which it tries to use to build capacity. But the problem is that, just as we don't have the
capacity to give out small grants to people, neither do they. So, on the one hand we've just
passed the buck. On the other hand, at least we are trying to find a way. Because it may turn
out that they decide that funding bus tickets from Pokhara to Kathmandu, for women to go
and lobby government could be more useful then 25 million in the Terai. It really sends a
very powerful message and we have to find a way to do it.

Shari: We could help you with the capacity building.
Alison: If I could just make a quick comment on that, I think it also speaks to the
importance of evaluating the uses of funds. I‘m trying to think of a good example of this,
but in the case you gave, it‘s better to pay the costs of employing somebody to administer
the donation of bus tickets then it is to pay someone to administer large sums of money.
And so, in a sense we have to evaluate both value for money and the value of money
given how its disbursement can sometimes be very beneficial, and sometimes very
harmful)But I think this whole question of how you deal with that pressure to disperse funds
by the end of the financial year is interesting. I have never understood why that‘s been such
a hurdle for donors to get over-why there can‘t be some sort of community foundation pot
at the end of March 31st, that all that extra money can go into.

Pippa: Because each ministry is competing with each other.

Richard: Alison, just another take, I was encouraged by what Bruce had to say about what I
believe is a new initiative aimed at mobilizing local, family money and local corporate money
in- country. Another one that we‘ve been using in Somalia and in Ghana as well, is the
diaspora money. There are a lot of wealthy, Ghanaians or Somalians, or whoever, who are in
U.K. of Germany or U.S. or Australia or someplace that have enormous interest in local
project activity but I don't know how systematic that fundraising effort has been. But there
are other pockets of resources, short of the big donor groups, that are not always tapped in
these kinds of creative ways and instead the funds go into buying a new sports car for
somebody‘s kid. We might be able, as a small group, to help focusing or organizing non-
conventional or non-traditional funding for constructive purposes.

Michael: There is an emerging literature about home town associations and the flow of
diaspora funding that they tend to channel back. I think in a sense, in the logical way we‘ve
been talking about here, that‘s another asset for the town. The community's diaspora
population is an asset on lots of different levels. And that is true internationally. When I
was a Peace Corp. volunteer 200 years ago, the people from the town in the south of
Honduras who were living in the capital city were an asset for the town. Both in terms of
money they would send back and also in terms of interventions that they might undertake on
behalf of the town with this ministry or that ministry. And it‘s a set of assets that we often
leave off the list. I think it‘s also true in this country. We start talking about the sons and
daughters of the towns, especially small towns who have gone off to other places and still
have some dedication to their home-town.

Jody: It‘s a little like the efforts of the African American churches in the inner cities to get to
its former generation of members who‘ve moved to the suburbs to come back in and
contribute in some way.

Shari: What‘s really interesting is that the vast majority of those people are extremely poor
people giving money to even poorer people. And that‘s where the vast majority of this
remittance money is coming from - bus boys sending $5 a week of their paycheck to their
home community in Ecuador. The number two source of income for Ecuador, after oil, is
the diaspora money.
David: I want to go back to Brazilian case, I know these are slightly more developed
communities, but in all cases, these organizations are able to get members of the groups to
contribute time, contribute office space, contribute furniture. What they didn‘t have money
for was actually getting together, convening the groups. They also lacked money for
developing the on-going monitoring and evaluation methodologies. So the role of the
support organizations was really to facilitate the flow of information between the groups and
to facilitate the design of the methodology. The rest of the resources all came from that
community. I know that‘s not always possible.

I want to give you another example from the Philippines. They have developed their own
system of NGO certification. You‘ve probably heard of the PCMC. Often the groups that
want to be accredited don‘t have the required standards. They need support to get to that
level. So the NGO community mobilized the Professional Association of Accountants for
help. The association of accountants asks for volunteers to contribute time to go and work
with a community-based organization or NGO to help them develop (for example) good
book keeping systems and methods. And this has been extremely successful. They‘ve had
accountants who go and spend the weekend with these organizations to help. So I think we
really need to be creative in terms of looking for ways to tapping into human and financial

Richard: Is this a potential action could come out of a group like this? We‘re suggesting
around this table that money is a problem. Not the lack of money, but too much money
which creates problems in a whole variety of politically corrupting ways. And maybe there‘s
a little booklet or a little something that could be put together. Let Coady be the prime
mover and talk to Synergos about funding or whatever it may be. But that little booklet is
exactly these stories, it‘s how to coordinate the diaspora fundraising. I know in Switzerland
the villagers up on top of the Alps are paid out of the tax that is collected in the cities for not
cutting certain woodland areas because it keeps the watershed in place. So the villagers at the
hilltop are sacrificing use of that wood lot or whatever it may be so that the water supply for
the city can be guaranteed.

Pippa: There are cases of that in less developed countries as well.

Richard: Yes, but is there a single source where you can get 25 ideas or suggestions? So we
have some experience here that be put together.

Mary: I think, that‘s part of it. Certainly as Gord explained, what we‘re trying to do in some
ways is paralleling what the ABCD Institute did for the domestic U.S. That was to try and
find some of those ‗gappers‘, as you describe them Jody, shine a light on them, do some
cheerleading for them, document some of the stories (that you‘re talking about Richard), and
then disseminate those stories in order to catalyze others and help others develop their
capacity over time. It sounds somewhat straight forward and easy but I know it‘s not. Not
only do you have to give sensitively if you‘re in the resource providing business, you also
have to build, cheer and document sensitively. I think that the two go hand in hand in many

Shari: An issue that I think is so interesting is in the social capital literature. Putnam's
Bowling Alone postulates that the more social capital you have in a society the more
economic well-being you will have. It would be so interesting, as part of your inquiry, to test
whether that hypothesis holds true in the less developed countries. Can we find examples
where a higher level of social capital has resulted in economic benefit? Or perhaps this just
does not hold true. It may turn out that in many ways the social capital web is stronger in
developing countries, yet they do not reap the latent economic benefits that are supposed to
come with it. Maybe it‘s the association level that is critical. Countries in the South may lag
behind in terms of formal associations, but their informal networks may be stronger.

Alison: One story immediately springs to mind, as told to us by one of our youth interns
who was in Peru. She talked about this community called Cullpe. This high Andean
community was completely ignored really by outside institutions. Over a period of time they
mobilized themselves in all kinds of incredible ways to increase their irrigation schemes,
increase production and they did this by pooling resources and by voluntarily forgoing the
annual religious fiestas that used up so much in the way of their local funding. You could
argue that they were depleting some cultural capital to do this. But the fact is they traveled
to other communities and found out how they were addressing the same sorts of problems
and brought back ideas. Over a period of 5-10 years I think, they were able to go from these
little tin cans that were dripping collected rainwater to a small dam and irrigation system. It
wasn't until they were successful that the outside institutions came. And then of course they
wanted to help. Then the local government wanted to provide a road, and a better school.
This is a story in itself: success attracting success. The other question though would be:
―What is the optimum kind of combination of community initiative and external

Pippa: Can I just say something about this? We decided not to talk about what others are
doing until a bit later but I don't think that we want to write a story that has been written
already. There are some people in the UK who are familiar with many of these kinds of
stories and there are links that need to be made to make sure that the outcomes of such a
venture are really the most effective outcomes.

Alison: Would you like to get us started on that topic?

Pippa: I would say the International Institute for Environmental Development for starters.
There is a lot on power and capital, policies that work, and processes of collaboration.
There is a whole group of people just in the UK alone that you should be talking to. There is
are some interesting examples of collaboration between north and south such as the
international learning that is now going on around community forestry, led out of Scotland.

Michael: The IDS people?

Alison: They were invited.

Michael: Which group at IDS? The participation group?

Gord: Yes, John Gaventa and Jethro Pettit.

Shari: In any process the first thing to decide is what the ‗what‘ is that we want to
collaborate on. But certainly I would imagine that, in any ‗what‘ that we come up with,
Synergos would probably want to encourage the participation of some of the national level
institutions that we're working with to really test some of these hypothesis that we are
throwing around. I also think that we could advance our thinking by leaps and bounds if we
brought some of those voices in.

Jody: I think one of the reasons some of our ABCD stuff has caught the imagination of
people at different levels in society is because it points at a simple truth: that in almost all
low income communities there is more there than anybody knows. For some reason that's
just news to people. Of course there is a lot more to deal with in terms of international
community development - let‘s think about diaspora, let‘s think about people in a different
way: It‘s just that kind of out of the box thinking about resources for community
development internationally. Just a list almost, to jog people‘s imaginations. What sort of a
product could I imagine producing with this group's wisdom and the contributions of

I want to go back and ask Michael to think out loud for a minute. I was interested in your
take on a community development role here and Ford‘s experience and your frustration with
the intermediaries insofar as we‘ve tapped into this question of scale. And recognizing that
the community level work that we‘re talking about here, it‘s inevitably very labor intensive.
That Savanna story had 5 neighborhood workers involved working at the block level.

Mary: And they weren‘t volunteers?

Jody: They weren‘t, no, although four of the five were hired out of the neighborhood. They
started as volunteer leaders.

So this question about who are appropriate partners and how are they organized at the
community level and how do you get there from a Ford Foundation, or from Coady or from
a Northwestern? What are there routes-in that make sense? I was just wondering whether
there were any lessons out of your intermediary experience that were at all relevant here?

Michael: I think that that I will have to plead ignorance on one level in that we have a lot of
turnover within the institution and thus our institutional memory is shockingly short. And
also, I think there is an institutional characteristic of most foundations, and maybe other
donor organizations, that we don‘t tend to talk very much about those things that didn‘t
work very well. I don‘t think that we have ever done a really good analysis of how it‘s
evolved, how it was that the second generation of critters began eating the first generation of
critters and how we started scratching our heads to say, ―This isn‘t where we wanted to be.‖
It‘s reflective of the broader problem.

I haven‘t talked with you guys about my personal background before coming to the Ford
Foundation, but one of the worries they had is that I had been an activist and how I would
function within the Foundation. And one of the things I didn‘t realize is that to go from
being an activist to being a funder is to change ends of the rope. As an activist you‘re pulling
the rope. As a funder, you‘re pushing the rope. And pushing the rope is very hard, unless it
happens to be a very stiff rope, and most of them are not. And so the leverage that you
have is under the best of cases subtle, under the worst of cases clumsy. One of the reasons
why it‘s so important for us to be able to participate in this kind of a discussion is that we
need to be talking with the people who are helping to conceptualize and train people who
are working in this particular field.

If we think about going forward we also need to have outstanding representatives of the
community at the table. And I think we do a lot of that. We do a lot of engagement directly
with communities, a lot of convenings. For example when we decided to define a position
around environmental justice we did two convenings of a total of about 50 people who were
leaders of the environmental justice movement in the country. We said, "We are thinking
about maybe moving in this particular area. Tell us, should we do it and more importantly,
how should we do it?". And my colleagues are now defining some new Native American
work and they‘re meeting with leaders of the Native American movement and asking how to
do it. So, it‘s hard to think of a big old foundation as working with humility but we try to
engage with the people that we‘re trying to help. I think that we are in the process of
rethinking almost all our work around community development.

Mil Duncan is the new director of our community resource development program. She is a
former academic who wrote a wonderful book that some of you may have seen called,
‗Worlds Apart - The Persistence of Rural Poverty in America,‘ which is a qualitative
sociological analysis of the 1980‘s and1990‘s in the U.S. She is helping us redefine what it
means to encourage community development and how we engage with the community
development processes around the country. What we know is that we don‘t much like the
stylized top-down, 'state department of community development' which uses cookie cutters
to apply to everything within that particular state. And we haven‘t liked that much of what
we‘ve seen in federal programs that are promoting community development. Our instincts
are to go back to the grassroots, to try to build a variety of convenings of different
communities, and define ways in which we can help them sensitively.

But we need help. We run a very lean operation. I have a set of resources that I‘m expected
to invest wisely and I have one-half-time secretary and one-half-time grants administrator,
and that‘s it. And so we need a lot in terms of finding the best ways to invest the resources
that we‘ve got. One of the reasons why this kind of discussion is enormously valuable for
me, and the reason that I‘ll be taking it back to my colleagues who are looking for my report
after the meeting, is that we‘re very hopeful that more discussions of this sort can be helpful
to us, as we go forward. So that‘s not much in terms of answers. We don‘t have so many
lessons learned as we ought to have because institutionally we don‘t do that many autopsies.

Jody: That‘s what social sciences departments are for.

Michael: Presumably, but then, you know not many foundations are willing to allow
inquisitive social scientists very far inside their doors.

Jody: That‘s right

Andrea: I wanted to just echo a piece of what Michael said and I think what Shari alluded to.
I get very uncomfortable when we are at the table conceptualizing these ideas without
bringing in the voices from the communities we are talking about. It might not be easy, it
might take a long time but I think the value of everything that we‘ve talked about becomes a
little questionable (even hypocritical) if we don‘t get more of those voices to the table. A
truly collaborative work would be an addition to the literature that I think would be

Genuine collaboration doesn‘t fall into an 18-month funding cycle, how about that? This
frustrates me to no end because you go out to a community and you‘re talking to people,
and this takes years! So who is interested in supporting the promotion of that kind of
participation and movement and looking at assets and hearing all the voices, not just from
those who are the supposed leaders? I like the idea of the Savanna story, about how you get
underneath to who the real leaders are. What about that women's group who were in the
background while you were talking to the men in this community?

Mary: Yes, just waiting in the wings.

Andrea: Yes, but that stuff takes time and it‘s not sexy and it doesn‘t look great in the
proposal because it‘s an undefined time frame and you don‘t exactly know what the
outcomes are. At the end of the day you can say you truly went through a process of
discussing and talking about what you thought might have been the issues that this
community was mobilizing around, and the community turned it upside down and said they
were something else. Practitioners know this but then we get in these structures where we
have to make it sound right and there‘s no bridge between the two realities. That to me
would be adding to the literature. I mean that would put a realistic spin on the situation.
Maybe nobody wants to hear it but let‘s start documenting it.

John: I have heard some grantees of large donor organizations say it‘s okay to writesa
proposal to make the donor happy, with the time frames and the objectives and all that stuff
that may turn out to be a whole different picture on the ground. You may not know how the
thing was going to play out, so you leave a lot of openness and flexibility and a lot of time
for just listening and, you know, being there.

Pippa: I'd like to come back to a couple things that Michael raises about us sweeping the
mistakes under the carpet. That‘s true that we do that, we‘re also extremely bad at getting
anywhere near to real learning about how to play a facilitating role. Robert Chambers came
to our advisors conference last year and stood up in front of us and said, ―When‘s the last
time any of you talked to a poor person.‖ And we all said to ourselves ‗What the hell are we
doing‖? Anyway, one guy stands up, an advisor, and he says, ―It‘s not my job to talk to the
poor people, I facilitate other people to talk to poor people‖. And to me this is a disaster.

The other thing that I wanted to say was your point about bringing people face to face and
the value of that. We do have a really good story about Indonesia, that has led to the work
that we‘re doing on illegal logging. But, I mean I would be happy to put you in touch with
the people who could share that story because it was literally civil society, indigenous people
(forest dwellers) coming face to face with politicians and industrialists. And suddenly, in the
most complicated forestry environment you could find anywhere, something gave. It‘s a
good story.

Mary: Just a couple of things that I guess come to my mind listening to everybody. One is
the discomfort with the concept of North-South. I‘ve always had a big problem with this
North-South division and I had a real problem when I came to the Coady Institute because
our (the Coady Institute's) turf is the South and our sister department is the local community
development player. We grew out of a local social movement though (the Antigonish
Movement). We institutionally reacted rightfully in some ways to the North teaching the
South what we do and therefore went to a ‗South to South‘ phase where the only truth for
the South is in the South, by the South, for the South. I don‘t completely buy that either but
that was a reaction to the first phase, and a natural one. I don‘t like the term ‗global‘ either,
but in some ways that‘s really where we are today. I would make a plea that whatever we do
concretely in terms of actions out of this discussion today, we don‘t just isolate it to a series
of case studies of good things going on in the South. I want to make sure that whomever is
going to be at the table and whomever‘s stories are going to be reflected in the book is a
more inclusive group. But it shouldn't just be more folks from the U.K. and more folks from
Canada to balance out this U.S. group here, or just more people from the South, or people in
the North who work in the South. The last organization I worked for was actually really
good at addressing this issue. We worked in micro finance in Canada and internationally. I
know Ford has the luxury of doing that kind of thing as well but it‘s a richness that I think
we can‘t afford to lose in this work, so that would be my first plea.

The second thing is that we have at Coady something called ‗Learning and Innovation
Institutes‘. These are 3 to 4 day think tanks where we bring together practitioners, thinkers,
writers, you name it, people who are working in a particular area. Maybe one concrete thing
Coady could do is target one of these Learning and Innovations Institutes at identifying who
these community-driven development players are, get them to write some of their stories
and then bring that back to a table somewhere to kick off some of the next steps. Anyway, I
just thought that it might be a mechanism to help our process. We‘re having one this year
on community -based resource management, which is why I am interested in the Indonesian
forestry case.

Alison: Well maybe the thing to do now might be to compress these two segments of the
afternoon. On the one hand, we were hoping we could discuss areas of overlap or
divergence between the different strategies and approaches that you are using. On the other
hand we wanted to see if and where we can see some points where there can be some
collaboration or even just idea sharing. We‘ve got a half an hour before some of us have to
leave, I wonder if we could try to think about both of those questions at the same time.
As you listened to the presentations this morning, what struck a chord?

Mary: Can I talk about problematic areas? I wanted so much to ask this of Pippa at lunch.
Our CIDA is heading in somewhat the same direction as DFID in buying into the World
Bank‘s SWAPs and PRSPs - dumping most of the money in from the top. On the one hand
the talk is poverty ,on the other hand the talk is governance, but the reality is that the money
is starting to flow this way – which may make it harder for anybody to get the grease on the
kinds of wheels that we‘re hoping to get grease on. From your perspective Pippa, I just want
to know how institutionally the sustainable livelihoods approach that you‘re talking about fits
within this reality of the way the money actually flows.

Pippa: There are rare cases where we have tried this approach and we‘ve often then frozen it
within 12 months. The reality is the money doesn‘t really flow that way yet, they‘re just
talking about it. But you are right it is becoming the official position of DFID, CIDA and
others. That said I don‘t think we‘ll ever get to a point where you see a 100% of the budget
going this way.

I think we need to keep sharing information. For example most of our energy in the
sustainable livelihoods approach has gone into tackling the policy and institutional frame.
Many of you have put most of your energy into work at the community level – at the other
end of the spectrum. I can see there are lots of threads discussed today that we can pick up
on after this meeting.

Mary: What are those?

Pippa: Well the relationship between the policy level and community for one. Another
example is the discovery of natural leaders at the community level and the relationships
between those natural leaders and the official empowered leaders.

Michael: One of the things that a group like this might also do is focus on a question of how
one makes local government work. Local government is greatly in the news and in
discussions these days. But there‘s not a lot of experience at having local government work
both in the North or the South if I may continue using those words. There is quite a bit of
collected experience and information about the workings of local government some of
which (and I think of Bruce‘s 3 points) relate to structure, some of which relate to the
ownership or agency, and some of which relate to the actual tools, the techniques, the kinds
of workbooks that Jody has produced. I am certain there are institutes of local government,
or consulting companies that claim expertise of local government but I‘m not convinced that
there‘s a lot of cross-fertilization from national to local, by sector, by ethnicity, by all these
other things that we‘re including. So maybe there‘s an area where instead of just talking
about what our ‗complimentarities‘ are, we can talk about some of the high priorities where
we have potential complimentarities. What is it that we might do doesn‘t have to be
everybody around this table - six of us who are here or two of us or nine of us, but how can
we make those complimentarities actually vital, effective? How can we learn as we move
forward? One question is how one makes local government work. But another one is the
issue of how we can help local institutions (public or private) influence national policy I
think that‘s an area where we can collaborate.

Gord: I‘m just trying to look at this from an ABCD perspective and it seems to me that we
all have strengths that we bring to the table. Pippa mentioned the strength of the sustainable
livelihood approach in affecting policies, institutions and processes – how to change these to
have an impact on reducing vulnerability and increasing access of citizens to various kinds of
capital. The strength of ABCD is really at the community level in terms of being able to
assist community members to buy into a strengths-based approach and to help them identify
and mobilize assets. The development of community foundations, that Synergos is
promoting, seems to me to be a really good vehicle for sustaining community-driven
initiatives over the long haul. And the asset-building work at Ford provides some solid
strategies for building local economies – which is an area that ABCD could benefit from. It
would be interesting to see an initiative where we try to bring it all together. How realistic
that is I‘m not sure. At the very least, some kind of sharing at the technical, nuts and bolts,
level of how we go about doing things would be fabulous.
John: I think one of the strengths that Synergos brings to the table is in facilitating pure

Gord: Leadership too.

John: Leadership would be another component too, but two of our main programs rely on
pure learning, just creating the right space to bring people together and structuring it in a
good way, in a level playing field so that people can add something, so they can be teachers
at the same time that they can also be learners.

Mary: We would be peers in that business.

Jody: I think all that‘s right. I wonder if I could just take a second and lay out a dilemma
here that we face in the U.S. And maybe we‘re not there internationally yet, I don‘t know.
We are increasingly, and have been for the last five to six years I think, faced with the
difficulty of an increasing acceptance of the language and a huge gap between the language
and practice. Everybody‘s got to put ―assets‖ and ―participation‖ in their proposals these
days. But if you go out and take a look at what is actually going on, often it‘s not even near
the ball park, let alone in it. In fact it is often quite contradictory. For example, domestically
we constantly run into United Ways that tell us they‘re doing asset based work and what
they‘re doing is they‘re counting up all the human service agencies whose job it is to find
deficiencies. And then they‘re listing those and saying we‘ve done an asset map of our
community. I think internationally there might be a similar dilemma. One of our major
challenges domestically is how to get around the gatekeepers. Thirty years ago in our
neighborhoods and cities we didn‘t have the kind of recognized leaders that you find now in
most neighborhoods of our cities. And that is somebody whose main leadership
qualification is that she or he is really good at telling the rest of the world what the
community doesn‘t have. In other words, someone who is very persuasive about deficiencies
going to city hall saying, ―Look how bad things are here.‖ And there‘s a sense in which that
kind of a leader at the local level monopolizes the policy discussion and resource discussion.
Now, I don‘t know how this plays out internationally but I just know it‘s a real dilemma

Mary: Yes, ―Are we poor enough yet‖? I remember dealing with certain large international
NGOs, who required you to prove you were poor enough.

Jody: To just say one more thing about that. I think when we began to see this happening 5
or 6 years ago, we tried to be strategic about responding to it and a lot of people were saying
to us, ―Look, you guys are in the middle of these discussions all the time. You ought to be
the people who certify what‘s good practice and what isn‘t.‖ And boy, did we run fast from
that! I mean, the last thing in the world you want to become in this area is a cop! And the
alternative to being a cop, I think is being a cheerleader. Find the stuff that is authentic, that
does have some depth to it, that really does reflect good practice at the local level, and lift it
up, celebrate it and help it be understood.

Michael: I think you‘re bringing up so many very interesting points. I think that Andrea‘s
point of how to keep ourselves honest and how to make sure we‘re practicing what we
preach is very important. The issue of appropriation of language is also important. Right
now I think some of these terms have not yet been appropriated. At least in the countries
where we are working I don‘t hear asset building or ABCD being used yet. The one concrete
proposal that is on the table, which I think is very interesting, is to create a ―green book‖ of
international experiences and become cheerleaders in certain places where things are
working. I think we still need to keep in mind Andrea‘s suggestion of bringing some local
leadership and local voices to the table when we, if we, or whomever the we is, create such a
project. I still think that you‘re going to run into the gate keepers but it brings us one level
closer than 69th Street. One huge leap closer than 69th Street. And therefore it‘s worth
inviting them even if they don‘t represent the vast majority of communities in their
countries. The people that we work with range from the former minister of finance who
now runs the largest national community development foundation funding in Ecuador to
someone who lived in Chiapas and worked with Indian communities for 25 years and started
a foundation made up of 16 networks of NGOs in Mexico. Well, probably both of these
people do not represent their countries but they certainly have a voice legitimate enough to
sit at a table to create these kinds of materials that I think will offer one step forward for us.
I don‘t think we‘re going to be prefect but it certainly we can be a little bit better than we are
right now if we‘re just a little deliberate.

Andrea: There‘s potential to do both. I think both are equally important. I just get this
image like I‘m someone from a local community sitting above this room saying, ―Who are
these people, what‘s their right to talk about my own development, my livelihood, without
someone representing me sitting at the table?‖ But I think there‘s potential at Synergos to
initiate some discussions at the field level to get a sense of what people think of all this. Even
if it is just testimonial thoughts about how this fits in this province, district, in this country.

Michael: There is that little blue book that I passed around that says, ‗Building Natural
Assets.‘ It was actually something that we used as a basis for a convening in Baton Rouge
(―cancer alley‖). It consisted of about 40 representatives of grassroots environmental justice
groups coming to hear a presentation on what we were thinking about in terms of an assets
approach and to give us feed-back on whether it resonated in their communities, whether it
made any sense for them, and whether it seemed to offer ideas that were helpful to them.
And the general answer is yes. We got much less push-back than we thought we were going
to get and there is a report that I think will be out in a month or so. But it‘s an example of
the sort of thing that I think we need to do across the board with a variety of these concepts.

Something Jody said makes me think of another kind of task we that we might set for
ourselves. We may want to try to do a mapping of who‘s using at least the terminology, and
what they‘re using it for.

Natasha: Well, everyone in Thailand is using it.

Michael: And let us see the extent to which it converts into interesting and useful
modifications of programs as opposed to simply being a new veneer, and the same old
programs. I think that if as one of our tasks, we want to find out who are the other partners
who should be at a future table with us, we need to find out how much the language which
was in the 1997 DFID white paper got picked up and whether it‘s being used in other places,
including some of the European bilaterals and other groups. It might be useful for us to
know who‘s using it and have a mechanism for tracing it. We can trace down the United
Ways that misuse it and then we can say, ―This is not the way perhaps it ought to be used,
this is a distortion of the concepts.‖

Mary: And the good ones too.

Pippa: I think that‘s a really good idea. Assets, if not asset building is certainly coming up in
conversation in Europe more and more within certain circles. But to build a network of
people who can tell you whether it‘s being it‘s being used genuinely or not is the challenge.
And so I think I can see a complimentarity between a specific task and the building a
network of contacts, who might then come together.

David: I think it‘s important for us to be realistic in terms of what we‘re trying to achieve. I
think we need a smaller group with really keen interest to look at what‘s worked and not
worked in various settings. We would all use it but I think it would be even more effective if
we had another audience for that output. It could be that in the multilateral and bilateral
agencies for example (many of whom you are saying are using the terminology but not
applying it), you could say, ‗‖Well if you really want to apply it, if you want to do what you
say you‘re doing, these are some guideline, these are some tools, this is what worked in
different contexts.‖ We wouldn‘t be saying ―This is the only way of doing it, but these are
the range of options because clearly it depends a lot on the context‖. If we set ourselves a
modest task but also try to think of projecting this to a policy level, I think we could have a
very effective group. Somebody‘s got to pull it all together and we‘ve got to decide who will
move the process forward.

Michael: I regret I have to leave. This has been very stimulating and very interesting. As I was
saying to Gord and others, I hope this is the first and not the last time that we get together.
I would welcome an opportunity to get together with you folks again and perhaps an
expanded group where we can begin to bring in more people like Sherraden and others who
have made valuable contributions to this area. I think they would find it stimulating, and
they would make stimulating contributions. I know for example that Michael doesn‘t like
some of the work that we‘re doing supposedly motivated by his thinking and he‘s always
willing to share that perspective with us. There is an expanding pool of people who are
doing some of this writing and it would be great for us to get them together and to bring in
meaningful representation from community groups. I would hope that if we do bring in
community leaders we do something which doesn‘t simply subject them to our academic
discussions but rather gives them a chance to get together and do their own kind of sharing
around these ideas and feed them back to us. I hope to stay in touch with you all about
whatever become next steps.

Mary: I just want to pick up on one of the things that both of you just said. Perhaps there
are two levels we might want to look at working on. One is more for the policy makers and
the other is more where we traditionally work, and that‘s at the practitioner level. I don‘t
want to lose either end of that spectrum or the opportunity to come together. But
something that we do for one group is frankly not going to be that relevant immediately to
the other group and vice versa. I think we will probably need bridging pieces as well.

Alison: One thing I was going to mention and I‘m sure Michael will hear this as he‘s leaving
but when he responded to our invitation to come he mentioned a number of items that we
could also be reading and one of them is an article by Anthony Bebbington. This article
really helped me to feel more confident that what we were trying to do at the community
level with practitioners was an operationalization of something that had been very well
thought through theoretically.

Pippa: Around this whole area of policy and power, there are a number of IIED publications
on policy that works for sustainable agriculture or policy that works for forests and people.
Some of these have really shaped a lot of our thinking.

Alison: Not only does it help to formulate one‘s thinking, but I think in terms of staying
authentic it‘s very helpful to have that kind of analytical and theoretical framework. It is
important to be able to locate anything that we do in this kind of a framework to see
whether it‘s consistent with the end purpose. Bebbington‘s piece is extremely useful because
it puts together the sustainable livelihoods approach with a lot of thinking around social
capital and a lot of work that the Amartya Sen has done on entitlements. The thing that
caught my attention most was this notion of an asset having not only instrumental value, in
the sense that it can be put to good use, but also giving meaning and identity to a person,
and that is the thing that is so empowering. It is an example of literature that I would very
much welcome from anyone in the group.

Pippa: Just to go back to that paper again. It was one of the ones that really shaped my
thinking, and so I‘m interested to hear about someone else‘s take on it. The point that he
makes on the first page is that assets and resources are important to people for making living
but they also provide the capability to challenge and change the world. And that part about
assets really changing the world is really powerful. It went away from, ‗the cow‘, ‗the road‘
to something that was much more about a change process. We have some other key
references that I will email to you and you can share with others.

Alison: What we were discussing before the break was simply that we are all doing different
things with different people, different constituencies. Some of us are working at the micro
level, some of us at the macro level. All of us are working with assets/strengths in a positive
paradigm for the most part. We started to talk about some areas where there might be some
collaboration, with some ideas around simply pulling together experiences that people knew
about that have been successful at the community level. We talked about a larger discussion,
broadening the network. Michael, before he left, suggested that perhaps another discussion
would be appropriate with this group. There was another suggestion to try to facilitate a
network that included the people here. Are there any other suggestions or ideas for

Pippa: There are some other players that we might want to include. UNDP has documented
some learnings around sustainable livelihoods and some of the Rome-based agencies (FAO,
WFP etc.) have started picking up on it. I mentioned Action Aid earlier. I‘m not sure
whether they should be in the first round of sharing but I want to flag them as potentially
interested parties.

Natasha: For some work we‘re continuing to do down in the Philippines with the association
of foundations, it would be very useful for myself and my colleague Gina, who is based in
Manila and doesn‘t have the opportunity to interact in sessions such as these, to be able to
call on people, even just the little list serve of the people who are here. It would be very
helpful just to sort of throw out questions, and maybe even to bring the associations of
foundations into that communication as well through a very minimal, non-ambitious means,
such as a list serve or email list.

Shari: I would be ‗chomping at the bit‘ for a green book on international asset-based
community development approaches that we might be able to share among our community
of partners and others overseas – with the caveat that Andrea raised about communities
being true collaborators in its development. We could certainly feed in some examples such
as a very well known public health project in Equador, built out of traditional practices
within the home. While it‘s not a participatory mapping exercise, it is all about building on
local assets and it‘s been very successful. It was named by the WHO as one of the 10 best
WHO projects in the world and it‘s run by an amazing leader. These kinds of examples
could even send a message out to our partners that these are the critical elements that we‘re
looking for, for their programs or organizations that they know of or community groups that
might want their case documented. WRF, might be an interesting case.

The Foundation of Community Development in Mozambique is very interested in doing
better grant making. They see ABCD as a means of doing that. They don‘t quite know what
it means and what it will mean for them but they‘re going off to the Philippines to learn
about that experience. The idea would be to work in three or four different communities in
Mozambique over the next few years, trying to implement some of the ABCD methodology.

Pippa: A small but practical suggestion, the Livelihoods Connect website is a resource that is
available for all organizations to tap into and to contribute to. It seems to me that there‘s an
ABCD piece missing so maybe we should get some sort of an ABCD piece posted and see
what response we get. Most of the people who use that website on a regular basis are
coming from the sustainable livelihood approach or sort an IDS participatory development
background so it would be interesting to see the result.

Gord: I stopped in to IDS a few weeks ago and talked to Carl Jackson who seems to be the
one who runs that site. He seems very willing to post our paper.

Natasha: Just going back to the capturing the documentation/dissemination idea. I think
what would be important would be not just to capture it once something has gone through
various steps and you reflect on it, but actually to capture it as it goes along the process.
Gina and I in the Philippines are really thinking about how we can do that so that we can
learn about the step by step process that takes place because I think that‘s probably the
essence of what becomes useful.

Alison: That is a nice segue into what I just know Gord wants to say.

Gord: We‘ve done a lot of thinking about this. Alison and I have been looking at working
with partners overseas to, in a sense, write an international version of Building Communities
from the Inside Out (the green book). Several people have mentioned the idea today -
documenting successful community driven development around the world. But we also
want to learn from what Jody and his colleagues are doing right now in the US. They are
working on the ground through the 'Neighborhood Circle' initiative in several US (and one
Canadian) cities in applying the asset based community development approach in a
comprehensive way and documenting the whole process. We are planning with several key
partners to do similar action research internationally. We are cognizant of Andrea‘s
comments about ownership and true partnership, so we are thinking of ways of
documenting the process collaboratively. One of our ideas is a "write-shop' format where
everybody works on a chapter and comes together for a couple of weeks of peer review,
revisions, illustrations. Through desk top publishing a book is produced on site.

Jody: Just to make a quick comment about language and then I'd like to see if I‘ve been
capturing the major themes that people have been raising here today. First, about the
language. There are probably four situations in the U.S. in which the word 'assets' gets used
and we‘ve got two of them at the table today. Mostly the word assets gets raised by people
within the banking industry and it‘s about financial assets. Secondly there‘s the way in which
Mel Oliver and his colleagues at Ford have taken the financial assets idea and really
concentrated on wealth. And wealth is defined more broadly than just financial assets.
Thirdly, rhere‘s the stuff we‘ve been doing, taking a look at what is a community and how
could you understand all the resources (broadly defined) that are available for community
building. And then there‘s a fourth use, which we haven‘t really talked about and I‘m not
sure it‘s relevant to the table here although they do international work too. The Search
Institute, out of the Twin Cities, has done some interesting action research around youth
development. They have developed 40 developmental assets for young people. It‘s very
useful stuff but in a different way.

Alison: What exactly is it?

Jody: Positive Youth Development is the overall name but it is basically about what you need
to have young people grow up healthy, lively and vibrant - what you need in a community,
what you need in a family, what are the characteristics of the young person himself/herself.
Think of it as a developmental framework for raising young people who are healthy and well
embodied. That language, at least in the U.S. and I think increasingly internationally as well,
is in use as another way to think about the word asset. So I don‘t know what all this means,
but those are the four places in which we run into people who use this language and it‘s
always helpful to clarify what we mean by this. Whatever document begins to report our
discussions here, should bullet and clarify that language.

Also, there are four themes that we've talked about today that I think might have
constituencies around them. One is at the community level. What are the resources and
mobilization strategies and practices at the local level in communities internationally that
people are using? Secondly there is whole set of questions about how funding happens that
I think would have a huge audience. I could imagine a two-day discussion on how to
sensitively fund, what to avoid and lessons learned. Third, there‘s a whole area of what we
call policy. Could you construct (at the municipal, regional and national levels) policies that
invest in and strengthen local communities rather than deliver programs to them or squash
their initiatives and so forth. We didn‘t get into that today but there are lots and lots of
examples. There is also a growing audience for a close look at the relationship between
economic development and social capital. How do you understand the economic
development dynamic in the context of the larger relationships that define what a strong
community is. So those four theoretical and practical arenas have been raised today and I
could imagine moving forward (thinking about, reading materials about, convening, action-
research etc.) on any of them.

Alison: So you‘re thinking in terms of future meetings?

Jody: Yes, I was thinking about one of these 3 day institutes that Mary was talking about
earlier, or something down here, maybe at Synergos or Ford.

Alison: Nova Scotia in July?

David: You could focus it on one of these themes. You could also ask people to prepare their
thoughts and materials in advance for a more in-depth discussion. I would like to think of
ways of bringing in other countries as well even if we need translation services. I‘m talking
about this because I think we‘ve got quite a lot now on the actual process, but let‘s get some
really practical, concrete examples of what happens as a result of using the strategy. Practical
outcomes are going to help existing practitioners improve their own work.

Shari: I think it would be great if we were to embark on something like this, not only to
include those who would be the objects of discovery, but also to create some sort of
distribution network built in from the beginning. I think part of the challenge that we often
have here at Synergos is we create these great materials, and we know that the world wants
them, but once they are created we don‘t have a person in the office who actually sends
them out. And that‘s why I was really intrigued by what David had to say about, creating the
targets first. If it is ODA agencies then it‘s a different product from practitioners, but I think
we need to define what the product is, who is going to want it and make sure that there are
distribution channel representatives at the table when it‘s developed. It is really important or
else you‘re going to have thousands of books in your office that never get to where they
need to go.

Alison: Just to bring back what we are calling the ‗Andrea factor‘, there is a real danger that
this level of work doesn‘t get grounded enough locally and that the discussions do not bring
out what is really going on. We know there is some concern about being frank and open
and honest about things that aren‘t working perhaps in the way they were intended to. We
need to be able to have a discussion that guarantees honesty about what‘s going on.

Andrea: It could be a traveling session with a few people going to various locations around
the globe, having this discussion at various levels. That might be interesting.

Shari: If it‘s about international it should be a global network. If we are talking about work
that‘s going to be done overseas then obviously that‘s who‘s got to be at the table, if we‘re
going to be creating policy that‘ll be implemented.

Philip: I‘m a little confused. Are we talking about the testing of this ABCD concept in an
international context? I mean I know in the context of Mexico, our partners are not using
the lingo, but they are definitely modeling this concept of building on indigenous community
strengths and resources. And as a northern institution we think we can learn a lot from
taking these principles, as broad strokes and then doing some kind of analysis or evaluation
of our partners and processes. The other thing is that I‘m not sure whether we‘re saying,
"Okay, ABCD, we think it‘s valid, we‘re converts, we think this is a great methodology" or
"Amen, we want to see how we can adapt it and use it to strengthen work that Synergos is
doing on the ground with our partners". You know, they‘re kind of different things and I
see different values and I‘m kind of confused.

Alison: Well, we‘ve given that a fair bit of thought so I‘ll just give you our take on it. There‘s
no doubt that we‘re looking for partners. Usually they‘re graduates from our educational
programs who want to try out ABCD, whatever ABCD is. And then we echo what Jody and
John say which is that this isn‘t a blueprint, but here is a set of guidelines, steps, that would
enable you to operationalize this idea. And what we would like to be able to do is see how
that unfolds in different contexts and where people go with it, whether they follow the
guidelines or not.

Philip: So pilot it?

Alison: Piloting it and adapting it yes. But we do want to avoid the cookie cutter approach, I
know that Jody is quaking at that possibility. In addition what we are also looking to do is to
document the ABCD-like activities. The green book was/is composed of stories that were
not ABCD pilots, they were real life community experiences that were actually asset-based.
They could be, after the fact, described as ABCD but were not done as ABCD deliberately,
as in the experience that you have just described at Synergos.

Pippa: Jodi made the point about what assets mean and we‘ve certainly come up with this
within the sustainable livelihoods approach. I can see some of our departments saying,
―Okay this is an ABCD approach‖.

Philip: Right, like it‘s the new wine in old bottles.

Pippa: It‘s just another way of thinking. I think there‘s a lot of people working in similar type
ways and don‘t think they need to be labeled ABCD. It seems there‘s a need to sort out or
draw some of those stories together, to document some of them, share the learnings, and
then see how it pans out.

Alison: And what were the enabling conditions?

Pippa: Yes, what worked, what didn‘t work.

Mary: And looking for partnerships to do that, both to document as Alison said, existing
stories, to shine a light on those as well as doing some of the more in depth action-research
that we were talking about. Which is documentation of a process, as opposed to a snap

And maybe there‘s another output that relates to that next constituency Jody described,
which is the funder world. Be it the foundation world, be it the bilateral, multi-
lateral…anyway the folks with the bucks. How does one enable a funder to promote this
type of actual citizen driven development that both builds on assets and builds up assets.
That‘s something that‘s quite different and maybe that‘s a think/tank with a paper coming
out of it. I‘m not sure that it would follow exactly the same process or it would be a parallel
volume. It may be something quite different.

The same with the public policy piece. Perhaps those first two, because of the constituency
we have here around the table, might be the first ones that we want to undertake. Not to say
that we don‘t get to the public policy and the relationship between economic development
and social capital but that maybe we can start to bite off some small pieces and get working
on them.

Shari: So you‘re suggesting at the pilot phase to do kind of a follow up on whatever was -
done in the Philippines, tracking the process and the implementation of ABCD?

Mary: What I‘m saying is in that first document you could have a half dozen or a dozen
good stories that we have identified, that are consistent with this approach, and maybe you
include a couple more in depth stories in that document that are from the action-research
sites where we‘ve accompanied them throughout the pilot process. Perhaps one in the
Philippines, perhaps one in Ethiopia or somewhere else where we‘re already working. That‘s
all I‘m suggesting for that first one, a combination piece that would be practitioner focused
and grounded. Not to ignore the funding piece and not to ignore the public policy piece. It‘s
just a suggestion to get started.

Jody: In the subsequent workbook series to the green book, we have been writing for
communities. That‘s been the audience, it‘s not been an academic audience. One of the
unexpected ironies of all that is that now policy people and universities are using the work.
So the lesson is never to write for universities because nobody else will read it. If you write
for communities, lots of people will read it.

Gord: I think one of the remarkable things about your green book Jody, is that it managed to
reach below the filter of intermediary organizations, and into the hands of community
activists at the neighborhood level. This is going to be more of a challenge for any work we
do internationally. Our constituency at Coady has largely been development workers in

Pippa: I think we have to get away from stereotypes of who we want to reach and what types
of information we assume they need. For example on the "how funding happens"
document, if that was aimed at the development agencies I would make that a short dynamic
"ladybird"1 , sensible piece. On the public policy one, which is the one we would be
particularly interested in, I see that less as an output and more as a dialogue. That‘s where
we might be looking to build a wave of people who are interested in this. And maybe there‘s
a meeting here in New York or perhaps we can piggyback on another existing forum. For
the economic development and social capital piece I think we first need to make sure we
know what‘s going on around us. I suspect there‘s a lot more out there than we know. Even
a resource list would be really useful.

 The Ladybird series are illustrated pocket books for children that have been around since the 1950’s in the
UK. They set the standard for clear, well illustrated, summary non-fiction.
Shari: To me that‘s step one. Let‘s find out who‘s already out there, who‘s already potentially
gathering some of these stories, certainly, who‘s doing the work that we would consider to
be good work. In terms of what you put on the table as the product, I think I would de-link
them, de-link the stories from the pilot and the documentation following the pilot. Frankly,
I think part B is something that you all need to do because this is what you want to do in the
world. You want to promote the idea of ABCD and you want to have communities
adopting it and it could be mixing neutral stories and prescriptive lessons learned that you
cull from your experience. I think the latter is tremendously useful and helpful and adaptive
to all kinds of communities overseas, but if one part is just telling stories and the other is a
methodology piece and you mix the two, some people might say ―Coady is just wanting to
sell it‘s services‖. So I would be interested in the first one. And certainly the second process
I think is very important for you all to be doing but not necessarily in a collaborative way,
but maybe just documenting your work and whether or not it‘s successful in these kinds of

Mary: And I assume you‘re doing it as well?

Shari: Yes

David: And we recognize it‘s not easy. We‘ve got to spend time looking at how we will
evaluate the impact of what we‘re trying to do. We need to do this with our community
foundation partners and they in turn need to look at their constituencies. And that‘s a
challenge for all of us who are talking about social change and talking about empowerment.
It‘s not as if we got something we can pull off the shelf and use. So we've got to keep
working at it and I simply haven‘t seen any ideal tool or methodology out there. We‘ve got
to be constantly working, testing and trying to improve the system that we have and sharing

Natasha: Just a quick note on Synergos and documenting. I mean for us, our partner in the
Philippines, the Association of Foundations, is a different partner from Coady's partner,
SEARSOLIN. Our partner is very intrigued with ABCD. They came to our workshop in
Bangkok but they already had an understanding to a certain degree of what ABCD was all
about so they‘re very interested in going forward with it. But I think part of what Alison and
I were talking about before is that we‘re realizing that the steps they‘re going to take are not
necessarily set in stone. They are not necessarily going to be following every step of the
ABCD methodology. There is no set blueprint. We‘re going to see where they come out on
the end of it and I think that itself is a really important part of the process. I think seeing
what communities take from a concept or theories and how they distill that and make it
work in their own context is really an important part of the documentation. That‘s how
we‘re approaching it. We are not necessarily saying, ‗it‘s got to be ABCD‘. But they are
intrigued and that‘s why it‘s exciting and I think there‘s a lot there.

Mary: What we need to do is be really clear on what the basic principles are so that we‘ve
got a lens to filter out those stories we wouldn‘t want to document and that might be
something that we could do on a list serve. I think many of the common core elements
came out today. We could have a good listserve discussion to make sure that we‘ve thought
that through and then move forward.
Mary: The first step would be just to establish the filters. The second step would be to have
people propose examples of organizations or communities.

Pippa: And I was about to say that, it‘s very easy for me to sit here and say, ―Oh you should
put in this story and not that one but I‘m not the person to tell that story‖ But in our
experience it is very time consuming trying to work with someone who is actually involved.

Alison: We might look at one of the models that Gord picked up on in India, the
"writeshop" idea. There have been other very nice examples of books that have had
contributions from people who might not otherwise think of themselves at writers but who
attend a workshop that facilitated that story telling,

Mary: There would have to be a first round of having a good look and then a second look
narrowing it down.

Shari: One of my first questions would be the unit of analysis. Are we talking about NGOs?
Are we talking potentially about community foundations? Are we talking about a
community-based organization? Can it be all of those things? Can it be a local government?
Not everything is asset based community development so I think we do need to develop a
litmus test for what it is we‘re trying to look at.

Jody: Where we came down at the end of some of these kinds of discussions ourselves is that
there are basically just two core criteria for what we‘re talking about. Number one is that the
activity is in a local community to some significant degree shaped by, and driven by, local
citizens. Are local residents, somewhere at the core of the process? Do they exercise real
citizen influence and power? And secondly, whatever it is they are doing, do they use local
resources primarily? They may not use local resources exclusively, but do they start with
local peoples skills, local associations, local institutions, the land and physical resources?

Shari: Does that include local government resources or would government be outside?

Jody: We usually think of government as a second investor, from the outside. So if they have
those two things, local citizens somehow at the core of the action and using local resources,
there are zillions of variations on that. And what we would tend to do then is to collect 10
or 12 of these stories, put them out on a table in front of us and think about them. Do they
cluster in some way? Are there ways in which they are using one set of resources more than
other sets of resources? Are there different organizations on the outside that have been
helpful in different ways?

Shari: Interesting. There really is a difference between international and local. I think so
much of the innovation around community development in the countries where we work or
a lot of it anyway has been inspired by outside resources. You know, all of the examples that
I‘ve put on the table today would not pass the local resource test. I mean it would in that it
was local ingenuity and local ideas but the catalyst came from outside.

Jody: That‘s enough.
Shari: Okay, so it depends on how you define resources?

Alison: It also depends on the overall environment. My question around this would be that
with the green book there were certain constants. It was all taking place in the United States.
And that is a big constant because of the regulatory environment and social environment
that was very similar.

Jody: Especially since it was all urban.

Alison: Right, and I wonder, if we‘re going to really learn from this, whether we need to
ensure that we are getting examples from one or two countries or one or two contexts just
so that we hold something constant. And, at the same time, are we able to be sensitive to
different local realities within a context we hold constant?

Andrea: I think we need to include the continents of Africa and Asia. There‘s already too
much focus on Latin America.

Pippa: We went through a two-year, multi-country review of this at DFID and came to the
conclusion that you really can‘t compare completely different contexts, such as West Africa
and Latin America, or even Nigeria and Cameroon for that matter.

Alison: Well I guess it depends on what constants are significant.

Pippa: Yes perhaps that is more the question. I'd be interested in people's experiences in
what they think you can and can't compare.

Jody: That‘s a really good question. To be frank, we have tended to back away from that
question. I mean there were significant differences in the way some of this stuff played out
in the African American community and Latino communities. Those are totally different
realities in cities and I don‘t think we dealt with that. We tended to be more aware of the
interesting differences that sectoral/professional language and practice had on communities.
For example the health care sector had different entry points, language, questions, and
possibilities in interacting with the local community then the school sector did. What we
held constant was that the local community had to be in the center of the action, as a
producer not as a consumer.

Gord: Jody you have given us a couple of the principles that Mary was looking for: a citizen
driven process and using local resources first. Are there any others that come to mind?

Jody: I‘ll add a third to that list: activities that result in a stronger community. We are about
building community here. It‘s not just who does it and what do they use to do it, it is also
the results.

Mary: Something good that came out of it.

Jody: Absolutely, a community that is more powerful, economically, socially or politically.

Pippa: My inclination would be to not make it more complicated than it needs to be.
Jody: I think if you collected cases or stories, that you would have at least two levels of
comparison, one within a country and one across countries.

Shari: Our book is an example of doing just this. It was a collection of stories, one could
say, of different organizational development phases, formations, programs, governance, and
fundraising. It told the stories of something like 25 organization across the globe, distilling
out the lessons learned. We‘ve ignored quite a few things like differences in legal
frameworks. And I think what we find across the world sadly is that civil society is at very
different levels of development. There are some places with very few fiscal incentives and
some places with very weak legal and regulatory frameworks. What we find is a warming of
relations between civil society and government in some places and much less of a warming
in other places. I think we tend to hold some things constant that really shouldn‘t, but we
can still extract out some lessons that are interesting.

Alison: Yes, this discussion is making me rethink that suggestion. I can see the context being
taken care of by success. Success is the constant.

Pippa: I think that if there were a like-minded group around the table, each person would
have subtle differences in what we want to get out of it. What I want out of this is the
message that communities are producers and not just receivers. It‘s the way to go. That is
the message that I really need to see emerge for my organization and for the people that I‘m
dealing with.

Shari: Do you want to be able to say, when the community is a producer and not a receiver,
what you find is a relationship that emerges between economic development and the
building of social capital in that community? If we were able to find cases that illustrated
this, that would be a real help.

Pippa: The level I need to reach is fairly superficial. There are a lot of people in my
organization that just need to get the message about producers versus receivers.

Mary: Well, and that's the beauty, frankly the simplicity, of your work Jody. I don‘t mean to
say it‘s simplistic. But that‘s what you need, otherwise you lose people. I think you‘re
absolutely right to focus on that. You need to demonstrate that a citizen or community
driven approach has excellent results in terms of a positive change in the social and
economic environment, but also, in the community builders themselves and their capacity to
then go on to do the next thing. I mean that‘s what‘s it all about.

Shari: I don‘t think we should lose the opportunity to harvest some of what‘s coming out of
South Africa. I think it is important to look at a situation where the opposition becomes the
government, and in their heart of hearts they want to make community development work.
I‘d like to see that compared to other countries where there‘s less of a positive relationship
between government, civil society and the market. As much as I understand that we may
want to ignore those things, I think, in some ways it would be great to start pulling out
deeper analysis.
David: I think we really have to get to the ‗why‘. Why was this so successful? I think is very
helpful way of sweeping out cases we don‘t want to look at. Once we sweep them in then
we say, ―Why were they successful, was it about leadership, was it the facilitating
organization and their role, how effective was that‖? And I prefer that rather than trying to
somehow stand in judgment as to what is ABCD and what is not. What is important is that
we find out why it worked in this situation and why didn‘t it work in other situations.

Alison: Well, judging by the time I think we should start to think about going home. This
has been extremely productive on many fronts in terms of bringing ideas to the table and
helping us think things through. I would like to personally thank you on behalf of the Coady
Institute for coming and contributing so much and making this such a successful event.
We‘re going to now try to synthesize some of this material that we‘ve got on tape. We‘ll be
able to circulate it and try to start the ball rolling with some of these initiatives that you‘ve

Mary: I want to thank Synergos for your incredible participation today but also for lending
us your wonderful space here to have a fruitful discussion today. I want to thank Jody very
much for being here. I know you‘re a busy guy and I know you‘re on your way to Australia
and I think you interventions were absolutely on the button and really helpful in guiding our
discussion. I'd also like to thank Pippa very much and DFID for being here. I think it‘s been
terrific having you here. And I want to thank my colleagues Gord and Alison who actually
did all the work to conceptualize this, and for really taking it on and making it happen. I‘m
expecting that they will take the reins from here on in as well and try now to bring more of
you into some of the next steps as we work this through. Finally I‘d like to thank Natasha
for all your support in making this happen. Your work behind the scenes has been absolutely
invisible for most of us here but it‘s made everything flow really nicely. I‘m very much
looking forward to what‘s going to come next. I feel like a lot has already happened inside
my head, which is usually a good first start, and hopefully it‘s happened in some of your
heads as well. And now I think we will all feel freer in the next level of discussion even if
part of that is electronic, having the comfort level of knowing each other first.

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