New to ABCD in Action!

kristopher jay swanson
kristopher jay swanson
2 years ago
2 posts

Hello all! My name is kristopher swanson, and I work at The Neighboring Movement, in Wichita, KS. We are an asset-based community development nonprofit that does work through the lens of neighboring - encouraging people to get to know their actual, literal neighbors and companioning them in this process. Here is our website for more information: I am new to ABCD in Action and was told about this community by Dee Brooks. It's good to be connected with you all! Our nonprofit operates out of one particular neighborhood in Wichita, KS - the South Central Neighborhood, or what we call "SoCe". We are in the process of starting a brand new neighborhood initiative called the 8 Front Doors Initiative where we will encourage all of the residents within a certain area of our neighborhood to get to know the neighbors behind the 8 front doors closest to their own. We will have materials on why doing so is good and important, incentives for doing so, and a "listening team" of high school students from the neighborhood who will regularly check in with neighbors to hear how their neighboring is going and encourage them in the process. In general, we think our two biggest challenges in our work are 1) How do we build trust as an organization in our neighborhood? Our staff members have lived in the neighborhood for a long time, but how do we come across as neighbors, and a neighborhood organization, to other people in our neighborhood - not as an outside organization "coming in" to help the neighborhood? and 2) How do we build the capacity for patience, in ourselves and others, in the midst of this work? Because this kind of organic development requires such a long scope, how do we foster the patience that is required for that long-term scope? If anyone has ideas, they would be much appreciated, and again, it is so good to be connected with this group! If anyone would like to learn more about our organization, as well, I would love to be in touch!

updated by @kristopher-jay-swanson: 02/09/23 07:22:31PM
Letlhage Mochadibane
Letlhage Mochadibane
last year
2 posts

Greetings all.  I am a community development practitioner based in Midrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng province in South Africa.  In 2013, we set up an asset-based community development practice under the auspices of Jazz 4 Social Transformation & Empowerment Platform and called it by the acronym, STEP. Our departure was stimulated by the debilitating flow of drugs and substance abuse in the vulnerable communities accompanied by rampant domestic crime. 

We sought to find alternative solutions to the usual rehabilitation centres that were bursting at their seems and could not handle the numbers. It was our humble opinion that the vast jazz appreciation societies is a captive platform to draw these young people, facilitate and provide a creative rehabilitation wherein they are exposed to monthly camps with a programme that involve motivational talks, teaching, project development, qualification enhancement through skills transfer, entrepreneurship and job placements. 

We sold the idea to many venue owners and developed partnerships, secured collaborations with some of the community-based organisations, invited professional associations and the police services. However, we learnt that the problem was broader and more of a social system affected by poverty, unemployment and inequality which prompted alternative responses to these direct impacts consequent to the deteriorating. Companies were confronted by digital challenges against minimum skills supply; cheaper products penetrating the market; and thus laying off staff without absorbing new entrants. 

As a result, the jobless helplessly roamed the streets in the hope of opportunities emerging elsewhere; except to exploit the saturated recreation and entertainment sector which ironically draws and packs patrons despite the lack of financial liquidity among the poor. To this end, herein lay an opportunity to help local communities identify hidden and undervalued innate resources, galvanise and use their passion to create and co-ordinate scalable and sustainable economic activities in collaboration with other community entities. 

These are held locally, regionally and within the municipality challenges towards a provincial challenge preceded by formations of focus hubs who spearhead, administer community branding on behalf of the community, conduct symposia, commission requisite training and development; and subsequently accept, appraise and showcase historical legends followed by the appreciation of talent and skills. 

Participating communities bid to host the challenges, at the various levels, ensure a clean, secure and stable environment that is attractive to enable administrative resources and investors.  Our campaign is rotational over eighteen (18) month and conditional to the Covid regulations will now become hybrid and therefore increase to digital resources for live streaming and in person audiences. We are happy to share details of the campaign with anybody willing to collaborate and transform these communities into better social space and improved livelihoods for the Gauteng community.