So, it's been awhile since I've been on the ABCD in Action Forum (got distracted in the crisis and aftermath of a wildfire). I dropped working with the group whose situation with younger participants prompted me to write the original post just before then, and went onto another project, and it's interesting to review the discussion after all the related life-changing events.
I think there can be no doubt that any approach does better in communities with some money, simply because there are more resources to leverage. The problem that ABCD addresses is how to identify and leverage whatever resources there are. People starving is a humanitarian crisis and resources need to be brought in from the outside. But only bringing in resources from the outside is not enough, because dependence gets tiresome. My original question had to do with people who have computers and know how to use them trying to contribute their assets to the projects the group as a whole wanted. Not everyone could even afford a computer, and lots had no cellphone let alone a smartphone. The call for a mandatory data base at first inadvertently and apparently highlighted the differences in the group according to culture, class, ability, age in some cases, power and privilege, access to information and power to manage information -- but from another perspective it highlighted the resources that existed. And we found that it doesn't matter what it is, there's always something there that people will latch onto in their fear of change.
In the end for the first group I worked with before the wildfire, John's advice to "Figure out how the work being done by folks doing web 2.0 or social media-driven activities can complement the work being done via other types of mapping and leveraging assets. Identify how information about all of these activities is shared. ABCD doesn't have to be standardized to be effective." was very helpful. What a gentle way to work! We didn't have to change the world, wand we didn't have to be perfect at it, we just had to change how we saw things, and work together with our piece of it to get it off the ground and be used as a tool or platform for the next level of change that may be needed.
We found a way to expand the network of people involved, had some volunteers do "interviews" with pen and paper over the phone (remember we were covering 14 countries) or in person while other volunteers followed up with the data entry. Some people contributed money, lots of people contributed time and enthusiasm. It took a few years to iron out many fronts, but now the organization exists; we have an online worldwide service network and a network of reps - not in every region yet, but the core activists are feeling confident now; it turned out some folks wanted to learn about computers and others were willing to teach, and all in all, group members of many ages and abilities are offering their heads, heart, and hands who were unable to before, and feeling connected where it had not been possible before. Maybe progress is perfection.
updated by @magdalena-valderrama-hurwitz: 01/27/18 07:00:52PM