In an age that is quick to turn to programs, agencies, and organizations to make a difference in the community, many people are starting to discover the nimble power of associations.
Associations are formed when community members come together to make a difference in their own neighborhood. Associations, whether formal or informal, tend to have some unique advantages. Nurture Development (the ABCD Institute’s lead partner in Europe) puts it this way:
“These associations are the vehicles through which all of a community’s assets can be identified and connected to one another in ways that multiply their power and effectiveness. Users of the ABCD approach are deliberate in their intentions to lead by stepping back. Existing associations and networks (whether formal or informal) are assumed to be the source of constructive energy in the community. Community-driven development is done rather than development driven by external agencies that divide their capacity and expertise between service provision and the priorities of their continuing existence.” (From Nurture Development’s website.)
As Nurture Development points out, programs and agencies and organizations tend to spend at least some of their time and energy on themselves. Groups of neighbors coming together to make a difference in their neighborhood? They are much nimbler and have no weighty self-interest. This is an important advantage that associations have. What others can you think of?