A Unique Development Process

May 21, 2013

Guest Post by Emily Patrick, Community Social Change Workshop, April 2013

Community Social Change is a unique development process that is immensely dependent on local practices and community history. The AASD has taken a very unique approach to working within, and ultimately, becoming a part of, the communities in which they operate. Their approach is based on respect and in many ways, is dependent on organic processes that emerge over time. Given their commitment to working in these communities for the long run, building relationships without specific expectations or pressures is a wise avenue to pursue. In many cases, development professionals fall into the trap of arriving to situations with a myriad of prepackaged designs and intended outcomes. With such a ridged arrival, the potential for truly organic emergence of locally relevant processes is less likely. Having a truly organic approach to development in the region may actually be a tremendously innovative approach. Understanding more about the impact of the AASD approach is something that will be revealed over time.

Working within a community, whether it is for a long or short period, is heavily dependent on power dynamics that emerge as a result of interaction approaches on behalf of the community members and development workers. The effort AASD makes to become part of the community through meaningful relationship building is powerful.  A lingering question for me is, how does the community change as relationships with ‘outsiders’ develop? How does this relationship  interact with traditional development processes and the emergence of organic processes?

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Our mission is to provide and implement sustainable programs and projects in collaboration with the indigenous people of the Sacred Valley of Perú in an effort to improve their lives and reduce poverty in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner. Furthermore, we work to support local NGOs with whom we have shared values using the skills and tools we possess.