‘When we reject the single story we regain a kind of paradise: Why Jubilant Stories matter!’ by Cormac Russell

UnknownHere is a really excellent blog from Cormac Russell of Nurture Development.

‘This blog reflects on the dangers of becoming trapped in the single story. This is a ubiquitous risk. From getting trapped in our personal history, to the dangers inherent in how media shape messages for our consumption, we all need the inoculation that a multiplicity of diverse and contradictory stories bring.

“Show a people as only one thing, over and over again and they become that one thing.”

These are the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian novelist who has dedicated herself to writing about the many stories of her life; her country and her continent. Her newest book, The Thing Around Your Neck, is a brilliant collection of stories about Nigerians struggling to cope within a corrupted context in their home country, and about the Nigerian immigrant experience.

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‘ABCD: Connectors, Conductors & Circuit Breakers’ by Cormac Russell

Unknown-5This is the first of 3 blogs in which Cormac will be exploring issues of citizenship, power and democracy and what these mean to asset based community development.

Recently an ABCD Community Builder in Gloucestershire commented that in the neighbourhoods where he works there are three kinds of people:

  1. Connectors: those that bring people and energy together.
  2. Conductors: those that constructively hold negative energy and creative tensions and either help others channel these in a positive direction (like lightening rods) or ‘earth’ them… In other words bring them to ground before someone ‘blows a fuse’.
  3. The third he described as Circuit Breakers. These are people, institutions and sometimes places that break connections and the flow of energy, sometimes with very negative consequences, but often, even in the apparent negativity, they create new learning that can’t be experienced by going with the flow.

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A new year’s message for Governments… the ABCD way

UnknownSome of you will know that I am very enthusiastic about asset-based community development (ABCD). You may have been reading some of my blogs about Nurture Development – where you can learn more about ABCD – and their blog.

I though this an important message from Cormac Russell: ‘As we look toward the year ahead a thought for central and local Governments:

There are things that only a community can do – so get out of their way.
There are things that a community can do, with some help – so offer to help.
There are things that only government can do – so do them.

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Asset Based Community Development & The Big Society

“Care in a Big Society comes from people. It doesn’t come from programmes and it doesn’t comes from services. And often it can’t be managed because care is the freely given gift of the heart, one person to another.”

“We need to figure out how we become caring again and where the domain of care lies. Systems, services, institutions provide services, very important, very valid services. But communities, families, neighbourhoods is where care is created.”

Cormac Russell, Managing Director of Nurture Development talks to Dominic Lodge, CEO of ROCC about ABCD, and how a big society can be a caring society.

‘Global Health Futures’ by Cormac Russell

UnknownOver the next few days I am privileged to be attending the Global Health Futures Conference hosted by the College of Medicine, UK and Soukya Foundation. We are in Bangalore, India, and I can think of no better place to speak about Health beyond sickness and allopathic approaches.

This morning’s conference opening was refreshing, The Prince of Wales who is currently in India addressed delegates via video link, and his message chimed with that of others: Health is not a commodity, it is co-produced and must have the person and their community at the centre with medical systems in service and in reserve. The Prince of Wales cited Hazel Stuteley’s work in England and called for more approaches of this kind.

Brian Fisher and Hazel Stuteley addressed the conference in the afternoon with a passionate invitation to all in attendance to work to ensure that asset based community development is known and practiced globally on the basis that it offers a global opportunity for health improvement.

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‘Five keys to broad and inclusive community engagement’ by Jim Diers

giant-chainExcellent article by Jim Diers, Associate of Nurture Development, Faculty Member for the ABCD Institute and author of Neighbor Power: Building Community the Seattle Way

‘Building strong communities is not easy. In Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam documents the decline of community life in North America. He blames poverty, suburbanization, television, and more time spent at work.

Others have added fear, mobility, globalization, and increased professionalization and specialization to the list of culprits. Even so, my 37 year background in community building has taught me some simple rules of engagement that still hold true today.

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Cormac Russell explains Asset Based Community Development

“Asset Based Community Development really is the focus on what exists in communities and within individuals that they can use to grow community to get the kind of life that they want, a life of their choosing…

… What it also recognises is that there are some barriers to people doing that, to focusing on what they have. And probably some of those barriers relate to the fact that over the last 30-40 years we have become very focused on what people don’t have, what people need to receive…

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John McKnight on where change begins

“One of those men belong to one association and one belongs to none. Statistically, the one who belongs to one association will live two years longer than the one who belongs to none. Now you can measure medical interventions, but hardly any would claim that they make you live two years longer.”

In his forty years working with impoverished American communities, John McKnight witnessed incredible social change at the grassroots. He discovered that the majority of the solutions to issues like unwanted teenage pregnancy and crime depended on empowering local citizens and building relationships at the community level.

Although social innovations disrupt the status quo in boundary-breaking and sector-spanning ways, change begins with the individual and their surrounding network.

‘Felling the Forest’ by Rebecca Daddow

get-low-blog-imageHere’s an interesting blog from Rebecca Daddow of Nurture Development.

‘This past weekend, I watched the film Get Low – it was recommended to me by Cormac following a conversation about Community Builders (can you spot who the Community Builder is in the film?). It is a film filled with wonderful acknowledgements of the gifts we possess and find naturally around us. In many ways, it speaks to some of the core values of ABCD.

One of the scenes that resonated most with me sees the main character, Felix, walking through the forest that grows on his land with an old friend, Mattie, who he has reconnected with after 40 years of self-imposed isolation:

Mattie: “It really is beautiful out here. It probably looked like this everywhere 100 years ago.”

Felix: “If you leave things alone, they know what to do”

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