Saturday 5 May 2018


Recently I read a provocative and inspiring blog by Cormac Russell, the founder and CEO of Nurture Development, one of eleven strategic partners of the ABCD Institute. I blogged recently about the Asset Based Community Development Approach, or ABCD. I think the approach has a lot to offer caring families because of the work they do to empower marginalized groups in communities (yep, that's us).
Here's Cormac's blog - I've shifted the perspective a bit. Read on and you'll get the idea - all the words in caps are mine.

Five Questions on Citizen (CAREGIVER) Life and How to Support It

Imagine how different things would be if well intentioned helpers took care, to first discover:
  1. The informal ways communities OF CAREGIVERS sustain themselves.
  2. The informal ways that things get done in a community OF CAREGIVERS and the stories that reveal the quiet and invisible ways residents (CAREGIVERS) make a difference.
  3. How different cultures get along and have come to understand each other (EG. HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL CARE PROFESSIONALS IN CONVERSATION WITH FAMILIES)
  4. How people (CAREGIVERS) naturally and competently produce care, health, safety, sustainable foods, raise their children, care for their environment, and nurture their local economy.

Then having discovered these four indigenous competencies, helpers (SERVICE PROVIDERS AND POLICYMAKERS) proceed to work with local people (CARING FAMILIES) to further precipitate those ‘discoverables’ by supporting that which was previously disconnected, to become productively connected.
Working this way is clearly more sustainable and respectful of hidden indigenous inventiveness. The downside is that it is slower, not controllable/messier, impossible to scale, and complex to measure. For those interested in promoting more citizen (CAREGIVER) led invention, that’s a combined price worth paying. They will therefore happily put the proscriptions in place to ensure institutions don’t overwhelm, demean or displace those capacities; instead deeply listening and appreciating them. (SUPPORT US, DON'T SUPPLANT US.)
In stark contrast, for those committed to efficiency, measurability and scalability these competencies are an irrelevance at best; an irritant at worst. For most others who occupy the provider camp, such capacities are fanciful myths: wishful thinking.
For the deliverers and providers of this world, the solution is there to be prescribed, why wait for it to be discovered, when they’ve already figured it out (WE KNOW WHAT WE NEED!)? But, for the discoverers and the searchers the possibilities are there to be revealed, connected and made productive over time at the speed of trust. It’s the difference between ego and eco.
The ego versus eco choice is made every day. It is important therefore, for democratic processes and cultural wellbeing that we as residents (CAREGIVERS) remind local practitioners of the value of valuing us, and that we remind those who think they know better than us, that that is the surest way to never get to know us better.
Those practitioners who understand the importance of placing discoverables ahead of deliverables have also come to understand the importance of re-functioning our communities, and placing the urgency of community (CARING FAMILIES) re-functioning ahead of institutional reform. 
Cormac Russell

Thank you, Cormac! 

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