How do we know about Outcomes/Impact?
We focus our sustainable development efforts around an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) model. We begin by listening to the priorities, gifts, talents, and dreams of the people in the community. They then identify and utilize existing assets (resources) and capacity to address those priorities and dreams. By creating hope and allowing the people to dream, a shift in their mind set happens and people realize they do have the ability to reach their dreams. They do have talents and gifts. They can work as a community.
ABCD focuses on the strengths, capacities, and opportunities within local communities rather than focusing on the deficits or needs that may limit the growth of a community. A key motivation behind utilizing ABCD versus other development approaches stems from our belief that sustainable solutions emerge from within the community. The community has to “Own the pond.”
Changing the way we approach development means a change in attitudes and behaviors regarding the communities where we work. Rather than seeing problems, we look for potential. Instead of noticing gaps, discord, and poverty, we see local value and opportunities.
We put communities in control, and they actively participate in goal setting, project planning, and implementation. In coordination with ABCD we use the Project Cycle Management. The community participates in a resource assessment facilitated by locals. They can utilize a variety of tools such as the problem/solution tree, resource mapping, focus groups, interviews, and SWOT analysis. With the goal to identify GAPS in resources and document capacity. These tools are accessible to people with all levels of education.
The second step is analysis. This is the brainstorming and visionary process to find out what solutions community members can come up with. Details of the project are discussed. What kinds of skills are needed? How long will it take? What materials are needed? How many people needed? What barriers may exist?
The third stop is Logical framework (logframe). It organizes thinking and communicates with everyone. It says what the project will do and how. This is also where the community determines the goal, objectives, outputs, indicators. Essentially it is a detailed list of what they want to accomplish, who will do what and when. A gnatt chart can also be used.
Step four is Project implementation.
Lastly, monitoring and evaluation (M/E). They need to know if the plan is working to accomplish the goals. Monitoring happens at specific intervals throughout the plan (or project). Evaluation happens midway through and at the end of the plan. Evaluation asks the question what worked well or what did not work well. Were assumptions correct? If monitoring was done, then evaluation should not need new information. From M/E we can accountability, manage projects, and fulfill donor reporting requirements. 4 steps to E/M are 1. baseline survey, progress tracking, data collection plan, and evaluation.