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An assessment of empowerment through highly participatory asset-based community development in Myanmar

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-08-01, 00:00 authored by Anthony WareAnthony Ware
Asset-based community development (ABCD) is a highly participatory approach to development that seeks to empower communities to draw on tangible and social community assets to manage their own development. The strength of ABCD is its ability to facilitate people imagining their world differently, resulting in action to change their circumstances. Previous research has shown international non-government organisations have found highly participatory, community-led approaches to development to have been particularly effective forms of poverty mitigation and community empowerment within Myanmar, even before the current reforms, which is surprising given the restrictive socio-political context created by authoritarian rule by a regime with an international reputation for human rights violations. 

This paper documents ABCD programs within Myanmar, one of the poorest countries in Asia suffering major underdevelopment and ranking poorly across a wide range of socioeconomic indicators. It explores the operation, effectiveness and reasons behind the success of ABCD programs in this environment, and reflects on the role of outsiders in ABCD in the light of underlying theory and this contemporary experience. This research draws largely on recent field interviews and personal experience working in this sector within Myanmar, as well as surveying a number of evaluation reports which have been made publically available.



Development bulletin : challenges for participatory development in contemporary development practice




110 - 114


Australian National University


Canberra, A. C. T.






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Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2013, Australian National University