The University of Newcastle's Family Action Centre (FAC) will host a major international conference next week looking at creative ways to help struggling communities help themselves.
The inaugural Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Asia Pacific conference will challenge traditional problem-solving philosophies by focusing on the strengths of a community rather than its weaknesses.
FAC Director Judi Geggie said for too long governments had thrown money at struggling communities rather than tapping into its resources and abilities.
"ABCD is a revolutionary - but simple - approach to building capacity from within. It is about empowering communities by considering what they have and what can they contribute instead of what they lack and what they need," Ms Geggie said.
"We have all heard inspiring stories about communities struggling with unemployment or substance abuse, for example, turning themselves around by drawing on their strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses. This is ABCD in action."
A feature of the conference will be a presentation by Jody Kretzmann, co-founder of the ABCD Institute. He will reflect on how different countries and cultures adapt and customise the ABCD approach to their own unique circumstances.
"Problem communities are an issue that governments grapple with across the world. Unfortunately too often money is seen as the answer which exacerbates rather than relieves the situation," Ms Geggie said.
"ABCD has helped hundreds of communities across the globe from the developed world through to developing countries. It is a model that can be applied to all communities regardless of culture and circumstance."
The conference will discuss how ABCD principles and tools have been applied to projects focusing on families, people with disabilities, youth, Indigenous communities, rural and remote communities, the business and economic sector, health, crime and housing.
Additional conference highlights:
- Bliss Browne, President of Imagine Chicago, will discuss building intergenerational community partnerships using strength-based communications and organisation.
- Peter Kenyon from Bank of Ideas will explore the discovery of community assets, its link to resources and connecting them to opportunities.
Full details available at:
The ABCD conference will run from Wednesday 3 to Friday 5 December at the University of Newcastle. For more information contact Mark Maclean.