Asset-based community-driven development in Ethiopia

[Updated 1 November 2018 to fix some broken links.]

Oxfam Canada and the Coady International Institute have been doing some asset based community driven development (ABCD) in Ethiopia. Below are three videos explaining how it has changed the lives of three women.

To be honest, while the videos are interesting and inspiring, they don’t really show how ABCD was used. Some Oxfam leaflets (which I haven’t been able to find on the internet) and a report by Peters, Gonsamo and Molla (2011)  give more of an indication of how ABCD works in practice in this context.

Oxfam and Coady have been working with three local partners (Kembatti Mentti Gezzima-Tope, Hundee, and Agri-Service Ethiopia) using ABCD processes. The projects include:

  1. Appreciative interviewing to explore positive past changes that have been community driven. Through this process,  participants are encouraged to focus on past success thereby highlighting their skills and expertise, and helping to build their confidence; it introduces a strengths-based approach; it helps to demonstrate the external facilitator is there to listen and learn and is not an “expert” with all the answers; and it helps to identify some common themes.
  2. Asset mapping to identify community resources (including the skills of individuals). Some of the strategies used include:
    1. A transect walk which involves drawing an imaginary line across an area (capturing as much diversity as possible) and walking along the line capturing observations (particularly in relation to assets and opportunities).
    2. The Leaky Bucket which explores what comes into the local economy and what flows out, which allows the community to consider how to increase money coming into the community and reducing money “leaking out” of the local community.
  3. Creating a vision and action plan. It is important that asset mapping is not just a data collection exercise but that it also encourages discussion about how the community can mobilise their assets and take action. By starting with their assets, possibilities for action emerge.

It is also worth mentioning that much of their evaluation is based on the “Most Significant Change” technique, in which groups of participants are asked to identify the most significant changes that had occurred since the start of the project, to indicate why these changes were of particular importance to the community, and to illustrate each change they had selected with a story.

[15 March 2013: I just discovered that a full evaluation report on the Ethiopia work, compiled by Brianne Peters,  has just been posted on the Coady website.]

The videos

(More information about each video is available from the Oxfam website).

Kibnesh’s story

Marta’s story

Abenet’s story

If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:

  1. What is asset-based community-driven development (ABCD)?
  2. An example of asset-based community development (Video)
  3. A video introducing asset-based community development (ABCD)
  4. Seven principles for a strengths-based approach to working with groups
  5. A reading list on ABCD (over 100 resources)
  6. 10 things I’ve learnt about strengths-based community engagement

If you find any problems with the blog, (e.g., broken links or typos) I’d love to hear about them. You can either add a comment below or contact me via the Contact page.


Peters, B. (Ed.). (2013). Applying an Asset-Based Community-Driven Development approach in Ethiopia, 2003-2011: Final internal evaluation report. Antigonish, Canada: Coady International Institute.

Peters, B., Gonsamo, M., & Molla, S. (2011). Capturing unpredictable and intangible change: Evaluating an asset-based community development (ABCD) approach in Ethiopia. Antigonish, Canada: Coady International Institute.

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, environmentalist, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace, sustainability.
This entry was posted in Strengths-based approaches & ABCD and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Asset-based community-driven development in Ethiopia

  1. Solomon Zewdu says:

    My name is Solomon Zewdu. I’m PhD candidate. I want to do my PhD dissertation work on ABCD model and I want to take a look at the full report of the document of the work you have persued on ABDC approach. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!


  2. Pingback: What is Community Capacity Building? - HowtoImpact

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