Asset Based Development
Take an Asset-based Approach
A needs-based approach starts by asking what is wrong with a community, while an asset-based approach begins by asking community residents,
“What gifts has God given to the individuals and institutions in this community?”
There is no doubt that the effects of the fall have created all sorts of needs in any community; however, an approach which starts by focusing on what is wrong instead of on what is right exacerbates the shame and marred identity that is so endemic to low-income communities. The needs-based approach also communicates that solutions to the community's problems must come from outside of that community, thereby furthering the erroneous notion that only the economically non-poor can save the poor. Such a perspective paralyzes the economically poor from taking initiative to steward their own communities and furthers the “god-complexes” of the economically wealthy. Several tools and methods exist to implement an asset-based approach, including Appreciative Inquiry and Asset Mapping, tools that lead members in a community use to identify the assets and gifts within their community themselves.
To learn more, read the article “From the Director: What's Right with You?” found in Issue #1 of the 2008 edition of Mandate.