Positive Deviance is based on the observation that in every community there are certain individuals or groups whose uncommon behaviors and strategies enable them to find better solutions to problems than their peers, while having access to the same resources and facing similar or worse challenges.
The Positive Deviance approach is an asset-based, problem-solving, and community-driven approach that enables the community to discover these successful behaviors and strategies and develop a plan of action to promote their adoption by all concerned.
In 1990, the US NGO Save the Children (SC) received an invitation from the
Government of Viet Nam to create a program that would enable poor villages to solve the
problem of childhood malnutrition.
Because the challenge was so formidable, I eagerly accepted, and in December 1990,
Monique, our son Sam, who had just turned 10, and I left for Hanoi to become the
thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth Americans to take up residence in that city. The
daunting challenges facing us were many.