I want to close this series of posts with a summary of what I am learning about poverty alleviation.
What is the need? (Diagnosis)
Is it relief, rehabilitation or development? Are we trying to help alleviate suffering through emergency aid (relief)? Or trying get things back to their previous state of functionality (rehabilitation)? Or is it long-term systemic change that is needed (development)?
How can you improve your situation? (Dignity)
This is generally referred to as Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). It dignifies the individual and honors what God is already doing in her and in her community. It rests upon the assumption that we all have gifts and abilities that can be used to make our situation better. It is a highly relational approach that neither shames nor rescues individuals, but opens the door to a new sense of worth and purpose for one who has been disenfranchised.
How can we work together to make things better? (Partnership)
This question destroys the notion of the great White Hope or the God complexes that develop in poverty alleviation. It does not involve doing things to people or doing things for people, but rather, it is the notion of doing things with people to improve their lives. So, two broken people roll up their sleeves and try to help improve a life or a community.
The authors are associated with The Chalmers Center which offers training and consultation around the world. Their website is full of great resources.
Here is the book website.
Here is the website of The Chalmers Center.
This post was originally published February 23,2010.