Dear Friends,

The Constellation needs your help.
The Constellation Support Team is going through rough financial times, just like many country teams. Since a few months, the team members are volunteering their time to continue to fulfill the necessary support functions.
Click on this link for an Analysis of the Financial Situation.
We know that any crisis can be turned in an opportunity. Therefore, we are taking this financial crisis as an opportunity to revisit our dream for the Constellation, and to reconsider how we can organise ourselves to be more resilient. We need your thoughts and advice in further shaping the possibilities.

First, we invite you to listen to a 5 minute address from Jean-Louis, Constellation Chair on:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0TXJyupdds
and to read the reports in the following links. A 2-page report summarises the The CST's dream for the Constellation, which was discussed at a recent CST meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It also lists some of the support functions that need to be in place to achieve this dream.

What is most important is to hear your voice. Please contribute in this forum with your response to one, more or all of following questions:

1. What does the Constellation mean for you, both in your personal and your professional life? (The CST and Constellation Coaches in Chiang Mai explored the Dream for the Constellation in 2050. You may use this document as a reference for your response).

2. What kind of support, from Constellation Teams, helps you most in your personal effort to apply and spread the Community Life Competence Process, or SALT? (The CST defined essential functions in the document ‘How CSTs support the Constellation'. You may use this document as a reference for your response)

3. Country teams, such as RDC-Competence, Kenya Competence, India Competence, are one expression of the wider Constellation. Do you agree that country teams and/or individuals can and should contribute more to global support functions and connect more with other teams?
(For reference, JL’s speech).

4. Would you, or your country team, be interested to carry out specific ‘packages’ of support? Examples of ‘packages’ are moderation of the ning platform, compilation of the annual report, exploration of new partnerships...
What conditions would need to be in place for you to contribute effectively?

5. In the world and in your specific context, what business opportunities or new revenue streams do you see for the Constellation? And what conditions would need to be in place for you to start addressing these?

6. What further/other suggestions would you have for a resilient future for the Constellation?

Your input to this thinking is essential for the future of the Constellation. We count on hearing from you this week. You can respond in this forum or, following Jean-Louis example, you can podcast / video your response and share the You-Tube link in the forum. We will close this first consultation round on September 7. We will share a synthesis on September 9, which will serve as input for a virtual board meeting which will take place mid September. After a review and a vote of the Membership Assembly, we will aim at having our new organisation in place by end of 2011.



With gratefulness for your friendship and commitment,


The ‘Constellation Dream’ Team,

Olivia, April, Yves, Sanghamitra, Jean-Louis, Gaston and Marlou

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A late-break contribution from Ibrahim Kamara, on behalf of Sierra Leone CLC:

 

 

Dear Marlou,

I am sorry for only coming back you now due to very tight schedules and my being away from the office and lack of continuous email access.
  
Below are my responses to the questions posed (against the questions):
  
What is most important is to hear your voice. Please contribute in this forum with your response to one, more or all of following questions:

1. What does the Constellation mean for you, both in your personal and your professional life?  (The CST and Constellation Coaches in Chiang Mai explored the Dream for the Constellation in 2050. You may use this document as a reference for your response).
 
 The Constellation to me:
        
·         Personally - means an opportunity to achieve my personal dream of contributing towards bringing about change in my own life and that of others for positive development.
·         Professionally - means a way of working that can be used to help others contribute towards their own development.

2. What kind of support, from Constellation Teams, helps you most in your personal effort to apply and spread the Community Life Competence Process, or SALT? (The CST defined essential functions in the document ‘How CSTs support the Constellation'. You may use this document as a reference for your response)
 
·         The e-platform is one of the very useful supports that have helped me in the application and spread of the Community Life Competence. For instance most times when I tell people about the CLC and the work of the Constellation, I refer them to the competence e-platform and most often they are moved by seeing what is happening in CLC around the world.
 
·         Help from colleagues (face-tot-face) meeting had also been very helpful for me and my efforts. For instance each time Joseph and I meet anywhere, we must talk about CLC or Constellation and how we think we can contribute towards promoting CLC or the Constellation.
 

3. Country teams, such as RDC-Competence, Kenya Competence, India Competence, are one expression of the wider Constellation. Do you agree that country teams and/or individuals can and should contribute more to global support functions and connect more with other teams?
(For reference, JL’s speech).
 
·         Both ways can be used to provide support to CLC and the Constellation. For instance I have made personal efforts and have as well worked with the Sierra Leone Community Life Competence towards the promotion of the process and the group. For instance I sold CLC to Cameroon and today we have Constellation members in Cameroon and they have also made effort in trying to include CLC in their work e.g. the Global Fund Malaria project. This has not worked very well yet but it is a good sign that the idea is already in Cameroon. With Sierra Leone CLC, we are also trying to sell the approach to bigger bodies. Others in other places have also equally or even done better individually and in country groups. I therefore agree with both approaches.
 
 
4. Would you, or your country team, be interested to carry out specific ‘packages’ of support? Examples of ‘packages’ are moderation of the ning platform, compilation of the annual report, exploration of new partnerships...
What conditions would need to be in place for you to contribute effectively?
 
·         Yes, we will be interested in exploration of new partnership
 
·         Required conditions should include linking us up with potential new partners; sharing new partnership opportunities with us and helping build our capacity in building partners.

5. In the world and in your specific context, what business opportunities or new revenue streams do you see for the Constellation? And what conditions would need to be in place for you to start addressing these?
 
·         Grant opportunities including The Global Fund is one opportunity the Constellation can make use of now that the Global Fund has recognized the importance of Community System Strengthening tools including CLC in their work. For instance in Sierra Leone competence has been included although on a small scale in few project opportunities including the Global Fund.
 
·         This will require letting colleagues around the world know about the opportunities that exists and how CLC can be included in grant opportunities. It requires advocacy and lobbying to those outside the Constellation for their buy in into the CLC idea.
 
 
6. What further/other suggestions would you have for a resilient future for the Constellation?

 
·         The Constellation members need more face-to-face meeting to share the feel of the CLC spirit going around the world. That as far as I have seen pumps new blood into the process and its promotion. For instance the Mombasa meeting for me changed the life of the CLC. More actions took place immediately after that meeting. It is an opportunity for renewing commitment to the process in addition to the sharing and learning that take place when face-to-face meetings occur.
 
 
 
Ibrahim Kamara
Sierra Leone CLC
 

Dear All,

 

Many thanks for contributions from so many places.

It truly helps to think together!

Please find attached the synthesis of the responses in the (english and french) Forum. The synthesis will serve as a contribution to the virtual board meeting tomorrow morning (Tuesday 13 September).

 

With best wishes,

 

Marlou - on behalf of the 'Constellation Dream' Team

Attachments:
Friends: I only saw this posting now. As a staunch supporter, advocate and user of the CLCP, using and applying the principles widely, in my work with UNAIDS and as a lecturer and mentor in academia, I must participate in this important discussion. Will read the attached documents and watch JL's address. Let me know how I can contribute - albeit that September 7, 2011 has passed

Hi Ruben,

Thanks!

Feel free to post your responses in this forum - the conversation shall never stop!

 

Marlou

Dear friends,

 

Greetings to all from South Africa!

 

First, thanks for the opportunity to weigh in along with other members of The Constellation family on ways to restructure support.  Second, my apologies for not being able to respond to that ning post until just now;  timing just did not work out.  I hope it’s still okay to pitch some brief thoughts, even though the main discussion is closed.  So, a few thoughts:

 For me, The Constellation has always been about – fundamentally - a global network of people connected around the vision of sustainable and scalable local responses, and the practise of facilitation team behaviour.  The three things that were essential to the preservation and cultivation of that vision, I think,  were (a) a relational way of being together between members, (b) the virtual community of practise and interest on the ning-platform and (c) SALT visits.  Everything else – the tools, the generic CLCP process, the capacity-building contracts, etc. – was useful to give focus and refinement, but were supplementary to the vision for local response.

 

I make that point to illustrate why I’d propose there are possibly two very different questions to be asking as we re-imagine the future:

  1. How do reorganise structures and support in order to keep The Constellation going?  (where “The Constellation” is an organisation, an entity, providing some sort of service/product)
  2. How do we need to work now to further advance the global movement of local response, and the collective vision of what that looks like?

While these questions are both obviously related to each other, can we consider that they may not be automatically mutually inclusive of each other?

 

I only really have experience with the Constellation contracts related to Cordaid South Africa, IIRR Ethiopia and HI Mozambique, but I think we’ve been able to achieve good success with those processes because the ACP design was integrated into what was already a priority issue/programme for the client-partner.  I think there are lessons to be learned there about how we can “mainstream” our vision by integrating the concepts of local response into existing work within countries. 

 

Personally, I think that, structurally:

  •  The Constellation needs a global board of reference, as we do now, with a focus on accountability to the core vision, and to be an interface with global-level opportunities (programmes and policy, etc.).
  • Operationally, the movement needs a single coordinator, a public face who relates to prospective global partners and to Constellation members, and who manages administrative issues.
  • The ning-platform is still an essential piece of community-building, and that needs ongoing support for moderation which can now be capably done by several members around the world.  I agree with Geoff's comments that global connection for shared learning, inspiration and encouragement is an important function to preserve.
  • Country chapters following the Starfish model continue to seek out national opportunities, as they’re doing.
  • The big addition that I’d propose is the genesis of regional support teams to promote the concepts of HIV-competent communities demonstrating local responses within their respective regions, and relating to the global Constellation family for inspiration, encouragement, sharing and learning.  At least, perhaps, in the Europe, South/East Africa;  Central/West Africa;  India;  Asia;  Pacific regions.  If there are opportunities in Southern and East Africa, let’s let an SEA RST run with it.   Of course, everyone has access to everyone else for support and input, and regions can invite support from coaches in a different region if needed, but the regions get a little more cohesive and self-initiating.

Programmatically, I think one possible future for The Constellation rests in making stronger efforts to integrate ACP/CLCP/local responses (at country and regional levels) into:

  1.  Primary healthcare reform
  2. Global Fund Community Systems Strengthening proposals
  3. Civil Society advocacy around human rights, inclusion and participation of the marginalised
  4. Promoting the link between care-work (by non-institutional home-based carers, for instance, and prevention)

“The Constellation” as an entity with a stand-alone product in the CLCP process may not be able to engage as clearly with these programmatic/thematic areas, but Constellation members can begin to look for those themes, and interact with each other about how to participate and influence so that local responses are strengthened.

 

I’m not sure how well that responds to the original questions asked, now that I’ve re-read it, or how clearly it reads on paper.  (odd how things sound much clearer in your head! :)  Sorry if it’s missed the mark completely.  I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts.

 

Be well,

Ricardo

Hi Ricardo, thank you for the in-depth reflections.

The distinction you draw in the beginning has become apparent the last years. For us, the Constellation refers to the movement around local responses that you mention. Now, many groups use the term 'local responses' even when it in essence they mean something different. At our last meeting in Chiang Mai, we thought that that practicing SALT is the key distinction as well as the non-negotiable. Therefore the board suggested that the definition of the Constellation is: All facilitators and communities that practice SALT. The practice or how we engage with communities can be explicitly called 'SALT' or can be more implicit, but in harmony with the values of SALT.

For me the entity or organization has one overarching purpose: Supporting this movement around the world on local, national, regional and global level. Therefore, it's difficult to separate the two conversations?

I completely agree with the opportunities you describe. In specific on the regional teams: They would then focus on inter-country work especially related to Transfer, right?

Regards,  

Hi Ricardo,

Your reflections, and Gaston's response, has prompted a lot of interesting thinking for me this morning. So... I thought I would share my musings.

Your summary of The Constellation as a "global network of people connected around the vision of sustainable and scalable local responses", as well as your list of 3 essential elements, is beautifully articulated. I also appreciated Gaston's response, sharing the results of Chiang Mai, that SALT is the key distinction which makes The Constellation unique.

 

I was grappling this morning with this distinction.  They are not the same thing, but they both seem correct. So I thought I'd run it through a little test in my head. I asked 2 questions:

1. Without SALT, could we still strive for the vision of local responses? and

2. Without a vision for local responses, can we exist strictly as an organisation connected around the SALT philosophy?

My conclusion is yes to both.  By this method it seems that each one CAN exist without the other, however it is both together that make The Constellation unique, and effective

With so many people, activities and thematic areas involved in The Constellation, it is not surprising that there are variations in the way people see our overall vision and value proposition. But to be effective as we move forward we will need to be really clear on what this is.... essentially we need to all sing the same tune.  

So, with that in mind, our support functions need to start from that very goal - to enhance and strengthen the collective vision of The Constellation to practise SALT and to connect local responses. 

I don't have a conclusion here, and I may be going around in circles!  Nevertheless, I think clarity is around the corner and your response this morning has helped enormously :-)

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