Ways to Help Heople and Neighborhoods Out of Poverty

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.


5 responses to “Ways to Help Heople and Neighborhoods Out of Poverty

  1. Appreciative inquiry has been used in international development for years. There are many great tools including resource mapping and a process that involves building community awareness and mobilizing leaders prior to interventions that have been chosen by the community. I’d like to see how this works in the urban areas in the U.S.

    • Thanks for the response Darrell. We use Appreciative Inquiry as a second step of Neighborhood Transformation in North America. We have used Appreciative Inquiry overseas guite successfully for a number of years overseas. We have a lesson series on Appreciative Inquiry.
      Our initial first step in the urban setting is Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) for discovering assets in individuals and identify informal groups in the neighborhood and then go to Appreciative Inquiry for the neighborhood as a whole.

  2. My name is Dave Hood and I am a United Methodist Pastor whose passion is for the church to become the empowering center of its community for the transformation of the world. I just found your blog and want to applaud your vision, understanding and for sharing your thoughts. Our team will follow this blog closely.

  3. Stan,
    I just went through CHE training. My wife and I are planning on using CHE in Burkina Faso. It didn’t hit me until the middle of TOT 1 last week that CHE may work with our home church. Our church has been doing local projects for 4 years now. Only recently did our Senior minister catch a vision for a specific impoverished area of downtown Winchester, VA. I would love to dialogue with you (and maybe get my Senior minister talking with you). Maybe a vision seminar down the road?

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