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ABCD and Education

All learners will benefit from the broad-based support that can happen when individuals and communities  come together in support of learning. The capacity building elements of successful community mobilization are increasingly relevant as we seek ways for communities to become fully engaged in education. An asset based community development lens offers a pathway to:

  • focus on developing the often untapped assets and strengths inherent among schools, families and the greater community.
  • offer a pathway for schools and other institutions to effectively contribute to the overall development of the communities to which they belong.
  • provide an approach to respond to the increasing complexities of multi­stakeholder interests in education.
  • align efforts with asset-based principles reflected in educational goals related to democratization, citizenship, and human rights
. As an individual’s capacity increases, so too does their opportunity to participate fully as a citizen in the community, thereby impacting the overall capacity of the community to drive their own development.


life in your hands

Key to the foundation of Café’s work is the relationship between learning and capacity at the individual and community level. The capacity of both individuals and communities to facilitate learning and development to meet desired goals is critical for sustainable social change. Building Learning Capacity Through an ABCD Lens situates the individual learner through an asset-based lens taking steps to build their own learning capacity. This capacity prepares them to contribute to the community overall.  At the same time, communities that have capacity to drive their own development offer more opportunities for individual learning to take place, resulting in a virtuous cycle. 


Suggested Reading – ABCD approach for education 

John P. Kretzmann, Community-Based Developments and Local Schools: A promising partnership,  The Asset-Based Community Development Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University.

Sutherland, D., Sokal, L. (2003) Resiliency and capacity building in inner-city learning communities, Portage and Main Press, Winnipeg.

further reading ABCD and Education (pdf)