Village-led development is the largest focus area for GraceWorks Myanmar (GWM) primarily through our work in community development education (CDE). This includes a combination of village facilitation in development, and supporting village-led projects.
CDE is about engaging with people in Myanmar who experience poverty, vulnerability and marginalisation via a detailed training program that equips and empowers local communities to take ownership of their resources at a grassroots level. It is a 'bottom up' approach that is contrary to the traditional model of giving hand-outs and resources from a 'top down' or charity mentality that is not sustainable and, ultimately, locks people into a poverty cycle.
GWM’s CDE program is highly participatory, founded on the principles of asset-based community development (ABCD). It releases trained facilitators into poor communities to encourage community-led development processes. Through its integrated, holistic approach, communities plan and implement culturally appropriate, locally driven projects with the flexibility to span any sector. Importantly, those projects are based on community priorities, built around local assets and resources, rather than being dependent on outside support (often foreign support). They also go beyond infrastructure and service provision to include projects that strengthen social capital.
CDE is designed to rebuild hope and entrepreneurial imagination, empowering communities to overcome poverty, disease and marginalisation by mobilising their innate potential, resources and relationships. In this way, it helps people envision and implement positive changes in their communities. In many cases, this foundational work enables the creation of new community-based organisations (CBOs). Our work in CDE follows six broad stages: