ABCD's of Mission Teams
ABCD (Asset Based Community Development), is a methodology developed by Northwest University that employs the resources found in a community to bring about sustainable improvement. Programs of this type have been successfully implemented throughout communities in the United States.
Many STMT’s (Short Term Mission Teams) use a Needs-Based community development focusing on what the community does not have and become an outside agency bringing what they believe would benefit the community. Asset-based community development works with the community to identify and leverage those skills, empowering them through education.
Principles of Asset Based Community Development
- Everyone has gifts: Each person in a community has something to contribute.
- Relationships build a community: People must be connected in order for sustainable community development to take place.
- Citizens at the center: Citizens should be viewed as actors—not recipients—in development.
- Leaders involve others: Community development is strongest when it involves a broad base of community action.
- People care: Challenge notions of “apathy” by listening to people’s interests.
- Listen: Decisions should come from conversations where people are heard.
- Ask: Asking for ideas is more sustainable than giving solutions.
- Inside-out organization: Local community members are in control.
- Institutions serve the community: Institutional leaders should create opportunities for community-member involvement, then “step back
Light A Candle Missiology
In 2010 Light A Candle began bringing medical care into the Bateyes of the Central Romana Sugar Cane Company. Central Romana has more than 165,000 acres of sugar cane cultivated with a yield of more than 4 million tons of sugar cane.
Most of the cane is harvested by migrant Haitian workers living in one of the 125 communities called Bateyes.
The work is very hard labor from dawn to dusk. Each worker cuts between 2 1/2 to 3 tons of cane a day for which they get paid less than $150 pesos ($3.00US)
Virtually all cane is harvested by Haitian Migrant workers that have no standing in the Dominican Republic. They are classified as Stateless. In the Bateyes, they are supervised by company overseers. There is no active form of ‘Social Order’ such as community elders that provide planning or direction to their lives. With the absence of social order, for years efforts to improve their living conditions were little more than a hand to mouth effort.
Considering the many projects where ABCD has been put to the task of community development the batey seems like the last place to expect it would work.
Thanks to the flexibility of the methodology and the creativity of dedicated people to make it work, Light A Candle has developed and implemented a program that uncovers the skills and resources in the community and helps them build a better life. One that is sustainable and provides a path for them to leave the batey for a better life in the city.
The objective of LAC is empowerment through education. The Health Fair program is the core of educating each age group in the batey.
Starting with the children they are taught the importance of good hygine beginning with washing their hands.
Teens and young adults receive information about family planning and the danger of sexually transmitted disease.
Adults are counseled on the effects of diabetes and hypertension.
These are three of the twelve programs offered.