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Campaigning and community activism relies on people. To be at their most effective people need the right support. Some will get that from a central source such as the office of a national campaigning organisation. Others will support each other, creating horizontal networks. Whether you’re an international NGO or a single community group Rhizome can help you grow in numbers, strength, confidence, skill or all of the above by:
- Undertaking a participation audit to assess how you currently involve your activists
- Creating dialogue with and within your volunteer networks
- Delivering training in all aspects of being a sustainable network or group – attracting volunteers, group dynamics, meeting facilitation and more
- Evaluating existing support systems
- Supporting you to set up and maintain effective support systems for volunteer networks
- Training trainers
- Delivering training in campaigning skills to support your work – from using the media to planning an effective strategy, from nonvioelnt direct action to speaking in public
As well as Rhizome we’ve also been involved in intentional housing, housing co-ops, communes, voluntary groups, community organisations, campaign groups, trade unions and other mutual aid groups. So we can provide help and advice on –
- Organisational formation
- Core policies (eg dispute process, risk, consensus etc)
as well as –
- Meeting skills (alternatives to committee style working)
- Group dynamics and team-building
In the last year we’ve given advice and hands on help to a community energy group, several Transition Town initiatives, a radical social centre, community action groups, several international NGOs and NGO coalitions, a community dance co-op, housing co-ops and cohousing communities and more….
A couple of other capacity building approaches I’m quite interested in the potential of:
– Coaching and mentoring – we did a bit of this with activists at Friends of the Earth, it felt like in some circumstances it was more effective than even quite a long and intensive workshop because of the scope for giving sustained support and input over a long period of time. For example supporting a local group co-ordinator to improve the dynamic of a group takes a very long time and can go in so many directions – 6 x 30 min sessions over the phone once a month worked very well
– Video – I don’t feel like anyone’s quite cracked using video well for activist training yet, but feels like there’s loads of potential both as an alternative to face to face training which could reach more people, or to compliment it.
Thanks David. We certainly see ourselves as available for coaching and mentoring – it’s a tool we’ve used successfully over the years ourselves
As for video for training – probably not something we’re going to focus on at this stage, but that’s no judgement of the usefulness of the technique, merely a reflection on our capacity as a (small) co-op. If we come across good examples, we’ll report them via the blog
Other capacity-building approaches that I think would be valuable here are:
– as part of ‘Developing Organisations’ is a piece around organisational culture. Helping people to reflect on the kind of culture that has developed in their group/coop/organisation. The kinds of things they take for granted and shape how they work, and to reflect on which ones are serving them and which ones aren’t and might need some attention to transform. And what ideas, approaches, practices might be useful additions.
– also to apply insights from Ken Wilbur’s Integral Model to this kind of work. Specifically by addressing:
1- four dimensions of his model in social change work to help us cover all aspects of our beings and what we do: the inner worlds of individuals, individual behaviour, culture and shared mental models and social structures and systems.
2- insights from adult psychological development and the evolution of human consciousness in social change work, to help us tailor our messages and actions to engage with people with diverse and different worldviews and sets of values from us.
In addition, workshops to help organisations and groups to become more resilient and share good practice about what it means to be resilient
Thanks to David and Nick. This is exactly the kind of input we were hoping for. Please keep the comments coming!
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