Community Action Learning Programme

Meeting the business challenges head on


ABN Amro is a Dutch bank that offers a full range of products and services to retail, private and corporate clients.


To create a powerful learning experience to enable the senior finance managers from the ABN AMRO Asia Pacific Regional Finance Team to embrace the theme of ‘Meeting the business challenges head on - Client Engagement’ through a real life situation with direct consequences.


A Community Action Project was identified as a dynamic learning vehicle for the team. This involved identifying a suitable community partner and creating projects that would both help the community and allow the regional team to experience real outcomes. 

The community partner that was identified was the Samor-rakote community in Bangkok, situated on the  banks of the Bang Ramat canal.  It is home to over 300 families whose lives are centered around a 400 year old temple. The members of this very traditional Thai community rely heavily on each other and are bound ethically and physically to the temple.

The regional finance team took on four community action projects which included renovating the children’s playground, transforming a garden space and the community notice board, painting the bell tower and renovating a small pavilion used for social activities.

The scale and nature of the projects were challenging and significant. Not only did the project teams have to develop an understanding of the cultural differences but they also needed to work as a team using their leadership skills to complete the project successfully.

They quickly developed relationships with each other and the people in the community, taking responsibility and ownership for their actions in order to solve very real problems.  The effective use of resources and time management enabled the teams to complete the projects to a high standard. 


The people of the Samor-rakote community have been inspired by seeing the results of hard work and commitment and commented that the outcome had well and truly exceeded their expectations. The regional team felt proud of the contribution they had made to the community and also appreciated how the project had developed their skills.  The experience engaged them emotionally and took learning to another level as the team discussed the transfer of their experience and skills back to the workplace.