The people of Asdee, a small rural village in North Kerry, have brought home gold at an international awards ceremony for their ambitious community development plan.
The Asdee Community Development Association won the prize for its community-led five-year socio-economic development plan (2020-2025), and is the first in Ireland to bring home an International Association of Facilitators (IAF) Facilitation Impact Award.
Asdee’s impressive execution of its community-led plan saw it listed among 16 awardees from 14 countries, such as China Bank, Russian Railways, Swiss Biopharma and a leading Canadian asset management company.
The awards, hosted by the IAF, recognise processes that encourage powerful change using facilitation. The IAF is a participatory organisation with members in more than 65 countries.
They set internationally accepted industry standards, provide accreditation, support a community of practice, advocate and educate on the power of facilitation, and embrace the diversity of facilitators.
The facilitators for Asdee’s community plan, namely Paul O’Raw, Breandán Ó Caoimh and Rishi Ballal, encouraged an inclusive process, through well-attended community workshops, going door-to-door with surveys, and connecting through the community website www.AsdeeVillage.com.
“We’re absolutely over the moon really, we’re ecstatic. It’s a huge honour for a small village in North Kerry, and it’s recognition of what the committee and wider community have done over the years as part of the Asdee Development Association,” said John Kennedy, chairman of the association.
Mr Kennedy said the secret ingredient of the winning plan was buy-in from everyone in the community.
"There was no point talking about it, it was about doing something to get life into our village again. It was all about the buy-in from the community, and everybody willing to be part of a winning team, which we are now,” he said.
Up to 90% of the community were involved in the creation of the plan, from schoolchildren to senior citizens, to diaspora around the world. The plan has become their collaborative roadmap for the creation of structures, spaces and places, while celebrating their existing assets.
Speaking about the IAF award specifically, Mr Kennedy said it couldn’t have happened without the hard work of their subcommittee of Lorraine McElligott, Mary Mulvihill and Eoin Kennedy.
“The ethos of the group is to push the boundaries of what’s possible, by continually striving to make positive changes in our community," said the association's treasurer Lorraine McElligott.
"The past three years have been a whirlwind for us, but we have learned a lot along the way. We are lucky to have so many great people who are always willing to roll up their sleeves to get the work done”, she said.