Rich Comunities research

Child Rich Communities Aotearoa New Zealand ‘Bright Spots’. Exploring Aotearoa New Zealand’s ‘Bright Spots’. Local and Community-Led Projects Making a Difference to Children and Families turns on its head the usual deficit analysis of problems and vulnerability.

The commissioning organisations for this report are: Inspiring Communities, Plunket,  UNICEF and Every Child Counts.

Acting on a ‘hunch’, these organisations sought to make visible locally-based, community-led initiatives happening in neighbourhoods and making a positive difference to children and families/whanau.

The report asks “What are bright spots doing that is different from the rest of the country?”, “Why are they having an impact?”.

Packed full of initiatives and ‘learning stories’, the report is truly inspiring, and a challenge to all of us to rethink our deficit language and see people as our assets and not ‘problems to be fixed’.

A must read!

Ten Key learnings from ‘bright Spots”
  1. See ‘the poor’ as the greatest asset, not a ‘problem to be fixed’.
  2. If families are well, then children are well.
  3. Counter the culture of disempowerment- “get people to ‘dream again’.
  4. Go beyond ‘social service delivery’ -walk alongside people, use ‘soft doors’, and ensure reciprocity.
  5. No judgement. No stigma. Accessed by free-will.
  6. Change takes time – be there for the long-haul.
  7. Build on the positive first (generally, before tackling the ‘negatives)’.
  8. Relationships and individuals are key.
  9. Being a local gives you a head start.
  10. But ‘externals’ can still make a difference.
Three other reflections
  1. Avoid ‘either/or thinking. Lots of different approaches work’.
  2. Be ‘authentic’. And that’s hard to replicate.
  3. ‘We’ all have a part to play in this.