UACES Facebook Jeder Institute's Dee Brooks Visits with Arkansas Community Developers
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Jeder Institute's Dee Brooks Visits with Arkansas Community Developers

by Tabatha Duvall - December 12, 2023

Dee Brooks, co-founder and director of Australia’s Jeder Institute, recently presented seven sessions for Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service employees, partners, and volunteers on "Asset-based Community Development" and "Participatory Community Building."

Dee Brooks, co-founder and director of Australia’s Jeder Institute, speaks during a presentation

Named after the German word for “everyone,” the Jeder Institute operates across Australia and the world to create positive change for individuals and communities, specifically through Asset-based Community Development (ABCD) and Participatory Community Building. 

During her visit, Brooks taught two sessions of "Essence of Asset-based Community Development," which is a step up from an intro course, meant to help deepen the understanding of the concepts practiced in ABCD with a variety of tools participants can use later.

The Community, Professional and Economic Development (CPED) unit at the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service hosted the sessions and invited volunteers known as Extension Rural Health Ambassadors to participate. People who are interested in extension's Digital Skill Navigator program were also invited to the sessions. 

In addition to Arkansas extension employees, CPED also invited staff of other extension services across the country to attend two of the sessions online. They learned about using Asset-based Community Development in Inclusive, People Based Leadership. The session was designed to help practitioners take the people they work with from “client to community member.”

Lynn Wilson, a CPED project manager, said “Dee's challenge resonated with me: Start where I am; use what I have; and do what I can. It’s simple, proactive and produces positive results. Paramount to good leadership - Lead by stepping back. Everyone is in a leadership position whether we realize it or not. And listen to the community: find out what the community wants - not what we think they need.”

Several CPED community partners were able to meet with Brooks to learn about different tools that help connect connect them to their communities and each other.

“Dee’s presentation was very refreshing as she shared how the Jeder Institute focused on assets and strengths of the individuals and communities to bring about positive change. Taking the time to find out what people want and what people have to offer bonds a community for a common good," said Tandee White with Entergy Arkansas and president of the Arkansas Community Development Society. "My takeaway:  Everyone has something to contribute.”

If you are interested in learning about incorporating Asset-based Community Development in your work, contact Dr. Hunter Goodman at