Connecting local responses around the world
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:
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
A late-break contribution from Ibrahim Kamara, on behalf of Sierra Leone CLC:
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
Feel free to post your responses in this forum - the conversation shall never stop!
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:
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:
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:
“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.
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?
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 :-)