In my last blog I discussed poverty and the five groups who are in poverty. Also awhile back in this blog I wrote about focusing on assets, not needs. This shift of focus is central to helping people and neighborhoods out of poverty. The objective is to transform neighborhoods from the inside by building on the assets already present.
The goal is to encourage people in the neighborhoods to take responsibility for their own lives. Neighbors are encouraged to reach out to other neighbors and break the isolation of those living in urban settings. As residents become transformed (changed), they then revitalize their neighborhood from the inside out.
The key is empowerment, which is a long-term process, and has the following features:
• It is a people-oriented, relationship building process.
• It is designed to identify assets within the neighborhood found in individuals, associations and institutions, and identifies which of those assets they are willing to share.
• Once the assets are identified, you begin to link the people you have been building relationships with, to the assets that would empower them.
• It is based on neighbors helping neighbors, not being dependent on professionals to do things for them.
• It is designed to build up internal and external abilities.
• It is designed to be sustainable.
• It is primarily a grass-root, bottom-up process which requires a person to act as a catalyst and facilitator.
• It is a gradual learning process progressing from the simple to the more complex and from the known to the unknown.
• It works primarily with individuals and households and then impacts the neighborhood as a whole.
• It is greater than the sum of its parts.
• It requires a moral and ethical focus for relationships to grow, which results from establishing trust.
• These ethical values are based on absolutes that do not change, but are the same year-after-year. This is based on God’s Word, the Bible.
People and neighborhoods can be transformed from the inside with a proper approach that empowers people under God’s guidance.
My next blog we will talk about What the Desired Results Might be in a Neighborhood.