ASSET BASED COMMUNITY DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT, ABCD
Through its experience of working with the community, Masindi Community Foundation, MCF recognized that people identify with a given community through the history they share with others of coping with change and responding to opportunity. Tension and struggle are part of this process of change, but those communities that have been able to move forward tend to be those that define themselves by their assets and capacities, rather than by their problems. These various lessons learned in the field eventually instigated the foundation to develop the asset based community driven development, abcd approach.

Abcd is an approach that recognizes the strengths, gifts, talents and resources of individuals and communities, and helps communities to mobilize and build on these in order to establish and manage sustainable social enterprises capable of improving their livelihoods and helping them achieve poverty relief.

By focusing on assets and capacities rather than needs and deficiencies, energy is directed toward opportunities at the community level, while remaining conscious of how the policy environment could be changed to further strengthen citizens' capacity to drive their own development. At its core are the various assets (human, social, financial, natural and physical) that already exist in the community.

MCF developed the Community Asset Mapping and Development for Sustainable Development, CAMDSD tool to guide communities in establishing sustainable social enterprises capable of improving their livelihoods and helping them achieve poverty relief.

Community Asset Mapping and Development for Sustainable Development, CAMDSD is a contemporary tool to sustainable development that enables communities develop sustainable enterprises by taking advantage of the local resources that already exist in the communities like natural assets eg. land, water sources, forest resources; physical assets eg. buildings; human assets i.e. skills and capacities and social assets i.e. institutions able to offer capacity building services to the enterprises. Regular annual Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation, PME workshops are then held with the communities to discuss about; what significant changes have happened in their enterprises since a particular point in time, why the changes were significant, how the changes took place and what decisions to make about future development activity. PME workshops help in continuously developing the skills of the community members in managing their enterprises to increase income levels. PME workshops also aid in identifying issues which negatively impact on the community enterprises; enabling MCF solely or through development partners to take appropriate actions.

CAMDSD process takes a community through a series of exercises designed to make them aware of their hidden skills and capacities eg. craftsmanship skills , leadership skills, carpentry skills etc; physical assets in the community eg. maize mill, rice-huller, school, hospital, free land, water sources etc. Community members then generate ideas/projects /enterprises in line with their skills and capacities, assets in the community and the available opportunities which they are able to exploit to improve their livelihoods.

CAMDSD works on the principle that for communities to move forward towards achieving sustained socio-economic development, they need to define themselves by their assets (what they have) eg. human, social, natural, physical and human assets i.e. skills and capacities, rather than by their problems (what they lack). In so doing, energy is directed toward opportunities at the community level, while remaining conscious of how the policy environment could be changed to further strengthen citizens' capacity to drive their own development out of the poverty cycle.

This is in contrast to the traditional approach to development where community development organizations often ignore the fact that communities have capacities and assets. Without prior knowledge of community capacities and assets, these development organizations often impose their own policies on communities and allocate development aid to projects that do not address the core issues in communities. These projects often do not achieve the intended objectives and are thus simply a waste of financial resources. This raises question of ‘’Who is actually benefiting from development aid?’’ in a region where poverty relief is not forthcoming.

CAMDSD exists to bridge the gap between community capacities and opportunities that will strengthen and expand their asset base. Building the asset base is the only sure way to establishing sustainable social enterprises capable of improving livelihoods and moving communities out of the poverty cycle.

CAMDSD process in pictures