What is Positive Deviance?

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.


Check out this Positive Deviance Voices blog that was created by students participating in the PDV project which is aimed at improving educational outcomes for young men in The Bronx. The blog features the Positive Deviant behaviors, photos, and videos of their work.

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The Economist
The Economist reports on Ben Ramalingam's new book, "Aid on the Edge of Chaos." "The most interesting part of Mr Ramalingam's book, "Aid on the Edge of Chaos", is his discussion of how some agencies are beginning to learn from the way poor people can successfully do difficult things - such as bringing up well-nourished children on meagre incomes-without external experts or programmes. Learning from such "positive deviants", but also experimenting repeatedly and quickly, has much to offer the world of aid."

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Multimedia Center


Click the thumbnails below to view videos about Positive Deviance. See more videos in our Multimedia Center