There’s a real difference in a community development approach that’s based on needs rather than assets.
Historically, much of community development has been based on needs due in part to government involvement. Grant programs often are managed by government agencies and directed toward meeting the needs that those government agencies have identified in various communities.
Let’s take a look at needs-based development.
Two things stand out that I believe should be considered:
1. The differences between what government agencies see as the needs in a community vs. what those who live in the community believe to be their needs.
I’m among those who think that the residents of the community are the people most capable of accurately assessing their needs.
2. Majoring in negatives rather than building on positives.
This one strikes at the heart of what’s too often already present in community development — discouragement. It’s a daunting task to put together and implement a successful community development program.
Here’s a global view of the two approaches that will make as much sense in rural Arkansas as rural Africa. I hope you will take the time to read it.
Increasingly, community development is tied to global considerations.