As the effort to alleviate poverty and increase food security takes on new dimensions on the backdrop of increasing challenges, asset-based community development has become a key strategy. There has been a shift of focus to individual, communal and institutional asset and the capacity or potential they have in building the capacity of achieving locally defined development (Social Design, 2010).
The asset-based community development strategy is based on the principle that including as many people as is possible in a development project increases the probability of the project remaining sustainable even after the experts implementing it leave it under the management of the community.
The asset-based community development strategy begins by first acknowledging that the existent poverty and insufficiency in a community cannot be solved by the human, physical and intellectual assets at the disposal of the community (Social Design, 2010). It involves the mobilization of members of the community so that these assets, coupled with external investment, can be effectively utilized to improve the community’s capacity of meeting the developmental challenges that face it.
In addition, there needs to be creation of awareness about alternative means of acquiring additional assets and resources. Secondly, asset-based community development should be viewed as complementary to developmental work already in progress within the community; and must be based on the traditions rooted within the community with regard to organization, community development and developmental planning (Social Design, 2010).
It should be noted that not a single entity (government, the business community, civil society and the community itself) can bring meaningful development on its own, so the essence of asset-based community is to forge a working partnership between all the stakeholders to bring about improvement in sufficiency, democracy and respect to human rights (Social Design, 2010). The process must therefore be based on transparency and accountability, justice and participation. Having established this operational framework, attention is shifted on ways of mobilizing the community and the assets it has towards a clearly defined vision.
The first step is mapping all the assets within the community and its local institutions (Social Design, 2010). Full mobilization in this context is only achieved after the community can address its agenda and challenges with an awareness of the resources that it has to counter the developmental challenges it faces. Second, elaborate plans should be put in place to build strong relationships within the community so that these resources can be aggregated and given a common focus towards progress.
Strength and self-reliance are attributes bolstered when all members of the community are linked and actively involved in finding solutions to the challenges that face them (Social Design, 2010). The community realizes that it has a great potential than it had realized and there is a rejuvenation of hope, motivation and renewal. After relationships have been established, the assets owned within the community are mobilized towards economic development and for the purpose of sharing information.
This includes the assets relegated due to lack of information on how to harness them or lack of the applicable technology. The community is then convened as a unit to participate in the development of a vision and the plan to achieve it. As said earlier, the assets and resources within poor communities are not sufficient. Asset-based development strategies need therefore to leverage outside resources to support them; and after all these steps have been taken, the community is on its way to self-sufficiency (Social Design, 2010).
Sustainable livelihoods frameworks (SLF) Sustainable Livelihoods frameworks provide a basis for poverty analysis so that policies, programs and projects designed to reduce poverty can be specifically tailored to meet developmental challenges facing a community (Ludy & Slater, 2008). Through SLFs, a coherent approach to the analysis of economic challenges can be performed, leading to the identification of suitable intervention and the timetable for these interventions.
SLF implementation are founded on analyzing livelihoods, risks and vulnerabilities of individuals, households and the community so that key drivers of poverty and their remedies can be established (Ludy & Slater, 2008). Sustainable livelihoods frameworks are centered on people and their capacity to mobilize the natural, human, social and financial assets at their disposal in response to opportunities and risks so that the quality of life can be improved.
An emphasis is laid on strengths rather than weaknesses, and the strategy is to make targeted people have the awareness that they have the assets and the potential to utilize them in pursuit of livelihood goals (Ludy & Slater, 2008). SLF implementation is multidimensional and aims at first identifying the constrictions standing in the way of individuals and households and analyzing the same to yield the opportunities that may arise therein; developing specific but diverse strategies to empower the people to pursue paths towards securing their livelihoods.
SLFs focus on each target’s individual strategy for socio-economic development and therefore favor full participation and multidisciplinary approach at different levels (Ludy & Slater, 2008). They thus are flexible to organizations planning specific interventions to poverty and allow focus to be on the elements within a society most likely to face developmental challenges. Entrepreneurial ideology in rural project Entrepreneurship has been identified as a very strategic intervention for accelerating development in rural areas.
It creates employment, prevents rural unrest and leads to the creation of wealth at the local level reducing dependency especially for women and other marginalized people (FAO, 1997). There is acceptance that entrepreneurship in rural areas by itself cannot achieve development; so the emphasis of this ideology is the creation of an environment that makes entrepreneurship in rural areas a viable venture. The premise of the rural entrepreneurship ideology is that diversification from subsistence agriculture holds the key to economic development (FAO, 1997).
Attention is therefore paid to alternatives like the promotion of tourism and other trades like carpentry, training, retailing and sports. The genesis of rural entrepreneurship is the creation of a supporting environment through policies that establish macro-economic stability, property rights and an international outlook (FAO, 1997). The necessary inputs to the entrepreneurship process like capital, infrastructure and management training can therefore be dispatched to the rural areas as a base for establishing a vibrant economy, consequently increasing sufficiency and reducing dependency.
? References Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO. (1997). “Rural development through entrepreneurship” Retrieved on 20/5/2010 from http://www. fao. org/docrep/W6882E/w6882e02. htm#P359_61606 Ludy, E. & Slater, R. (2008). Using the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework to understand and tackle poverty. Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Social Design. “Asset-Based Community Development” Retrieved on 19/05/2010 from http://www. socialdesign. org/assets/development. html
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