Research Article

Flourishing communities: A new model to promote sustainable community leadership and transformation in semi‐rural Kenya


Michael Goodman, Linda Theron, Sarah Seidel, Aleisha Elliott, Lauren Raimer-Goodman, Philip Keiser, Stanley Gitari, and Christine Gatwiri


Goodman, M., Theron, L., Seidel, S., Elliott, A., Raimer-Goodman, L., Keiser, P., Gitari, S., & Gatwiri, C. (Accepted/In press). Flourishing communities: A new model to promote sustainable community leadership and transformation in semi-rural Kenya. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology.

Publication Date

November 21, 2022

Publication Year




Communities often face numerous challenges and opportunities—situations that may be reduced to specific domains by researchers, policy makers and interventionists. This study informs and animates a new “flourishing community” model that seeks to build collective capacity to respond to challenges and opportunities. Our work is a response to children living on the streets, whose families face myriad challenges. The Sustainable Development Goals make explicit the need for new, integrative models that acknowledge the interplay of challenges and opportunities within communities through the flow of everyday life. Flourishing communities are generative, supportive, resilient, compassionate, curious, responsive and self-determined, and they build resources across economic, social, educational, and health domains. Integrating theoretical models—specifically, community-led development, multi-systemic resilience, and the “broaden and build” cycle of attachment—provides a testable framework to understand and explore hypothesised relationships between survey-collected, cross-sectional variables with 335 participants. Higher collective efficacy, a common byproduct of group-based microlending activities, was correlated with higher sociopolitical control. This correlation was mediated by higher positive emotion, meaning in life, spirituality, curiosity, and compassion. Further research is required to understand replicability, cross-sectoral impact, mechanisms of integrating health and development domains, and implementation challenges of the flourishing community model. Please refer to the Supplementary Material section to find this article’s Community and Social Impact Statement.