Unleash Your Potential


Leading the paradigm shift in community development – From Need-based approach to Strength-based approach


“Every individual, whatever the situation may be, is endowed with inherent strengths and assets. As a community and a society, we need to help create an environment where everyone can be engaged and contribute by utilizing these assets”
– Om Dhungel

“Every single person has capacities, abilities and gifts. Living a good life depends on whether those capacities can be used, abilities expressed and gifts given” – John McKnight

Driving a Paradigm Shift in Community Development: What Do We Need to What Do We Have

Australia is currently experiencing major changes in the social sector particularly with government reforms and funding model. It is a time filled with both uncertainty and real possibilities.

The federal government currently spends over one-third of the revenue on welfare which demonstrates its commitment to assist those in need. However, with the welfare expenditure growing at over 2.6%, it is under pressure to review its sustainability so that it can continue to meet its social obligation. Welfare needs also increase during difficult economic times, meaning when it can be least afforded.

The social sector, and in particular the settlement service providers are confronted with the challenge of doing more with less due to funding pressure while the demand for services continue to grow. While having to look after the welfare of the most needy in the community, it is also faced with competition from the for profit business sector.

The government or the social sector alone will not be able to drive social change and help address the social issues facing the society today. There needs to be a much more collaborative approach amongst different levels of governments, service providers, businesses and grassroots communities.

Community development and in particular, service provision is currently driven largely though a ‘What do we need’ approach – thinking in terms of needs, problems and deficiencies such as unemployment, lack of education and training, youth issues and ageing.

On the other hand, we can take a ‘What do we have’ approach – starting on the premises that the community is resourceful and gifted and will be more likely to draw upon the skills of local people to address issues and solve problems.

It is clear that the way we approach service provision and more broadly community development will mean a community completely relying on outside help or that which will harness its own resources and seeking external intervention only to fill any gaps.

Multi-pronged, cross-sectoral collaborative approach is needed to drive innovation and a paradigm shift. As a Though Leader and a Strategic Connector, Om Dhungel works closely with all levels of governments, the not for profit sector, community organisations, educational institutions and businesses and creates opportunities for collaboration to Unleash Potential. This is supported by his expertise in Strength-based Approach to Refugee Settlement and Community Development and Corporate Governance with a special interest in Social Innovation and Sustainability.

If you would like to engage Om Dhungel or to find out more please contact [email protected].



Unleashing Potential – Making the best of what you have: The Om Dhungel Story

Having survived two other near-death situations, Om truly understands the value of life and wants everyone to live to their fullest by utilising their full potential. As he calls it, 2Rs got him to where he is today – Resilience and Perseverance are very much integral to his success.


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“Om’s lived experience and thoughts have influenced me and the way we do our work at SSI.”

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