Guest Post by Anja Mondragon, Community Social Change Workshop, April 2013

Community development: what does it mean to me?  Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and really I’m not the community in question.  I’ll be quite frank, I’ve operated under the assumption that the communities I want to work with will want money and a sustainable income.  It is strange that I never really thought of this as an assumption before but I guess that’s how assumptions work.

Initially working with the Andean Alliance, I felt unsure that I understood their methods.  “Why is it taking so long to get anything done?” I thought, however, I understand now that they operate much differently than most internationally organizations do which is quite refreshing, and a bit confusing.

I won’t say that I think the Andean Alliance is assumption-free, however, I do think that their method of slow development helps to remedy some assumptions they might make on behalf of the community.  They also use the adaptive management approach, and shift their focus as the communities’ needs change.  Taking the CSC workshop from two prominent founding members of the AASD (as professors) allowed us to question our assumptions together and gave me a great deal of respect for their method and how I could incorporate it into my own work.