Inspiring Communities: Waving the flag for community-led development

In the 1990s community-led development was relatively unknown, says Megan Courtney of Inspiring Communities.

Now community-led development – a collaborative approach that encourages communities to use their knowledge to respond to local situations and create local solutions – has moved from the fringes into the mainstream.

Inspiring Communities can take a lot of the credit for that change. It’s an umbrella organisation that helps catalyse locally led change by providing mentoring and training and helping to build connections between people and communities.

“The movement has strengthened considerably as a result of our work,” says Megan. “It’s at a different stage of development, and that’s partly from having a champion organisation taking a look at what’s happening across the country, spotting key trends, sharing local successes and promoting the benefits of a community-led approach.”

In the last year Inspiring Communities has provided coaching, mentoring and training to more than 800 people, including 30 local leaders who attended a two-day “Boost Camp” in the Bay of Plenty. Inspiring Communities also worked with Local Government New Zealand and the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies to co-host “Start Local”, a day-long seminar attended by 160 people from a wide range of organisations, including Federated Farmers and Rugby League NZ.
Megan says they are among a growing number of diverse organisations that can see the advantage of working in locally led ways.

“The outcomes are better if people are involved in stuff, rather than having stuff being done for – or to – them. Local ownership and empowerment happens when everyone works together to make the change.”

Todd Foundation supported Inspiring Communities with 5 years of funding from our Partnership Fund in 2012, and is still funding them through our capability fund in 2022.

For more information please see their website:  www.inspiringcommunities.org.nz