Community based self-reflection by climate activists - How are we doing with our Values and Principles?


Utilising the CLCP self-assessment tool, I guided a group of climate activists through a process of "community self-reflection". Currently, this climate movement is reflecting back upon a period of many intense actions (e.g. blocking roads) in public spaces, and at the doorsteps of corporations.

This international movement has an established framework of 10 values/principles, very similar to what we call Practices in CLCP.
The principle "We are a non-violent network -- Using non-violent strategy and tactics as the most effective way to bring about change "--, was yesterday selected in a group of approx. eight participants as the key principle to reflect upon.  

They concluded (1) non-violence is demonstrated commonly during direct actions,  (2) the definition of non-violence requires further clarification: does it only concern actions in public space or does it include verbal aggression online and in meetings?   (3) people from different parts of the world (e.g. activists from South America compared to participants born and raised in the Netherlands or Germany) experience different thresholds as to what is called violent. 

The process leading up to these conclusions was effective:
- examples were exchanged (fact based)
- assumptions were challenged as we were thinking out loud together
- there was no pressure to agree
- there was no blaming/shaming
- the process was fluid: people changed perspective as a result of the exchange.

We thought using the CLCP self-assessment tool was helpful. The process is rapid and has depth at the same time, and can be used in any group, guided by an outside facilitator. Following self-assessment, groups can choose to improve on specific values/principles, and agree on follow-up actions to make it real. 

I hope I can guide more groups within the movement through this type of self-assessment; it was a fulfilling experience. 

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Comment by Marlou on November 26, 2019 at 12:42pm

Thank you Birgitta.

I always like that the self-assessment stimulates a conversation where we find out where good and bad practices are existing in the group. Ideas to do things differently come up and sometimes spontaneous offers for help between those who are at a level where some-one else likes to be.  Thus, small steps towards the dream start happening. 

During the training in Amsterdam last weekend Lieve asked for examples of facilitating a self-assessment when we notice that (not all in) a group are comfortable expressing themselves in words.... hmmmmm.... not a easy one for me who values the conversation in every step of CLCP. 

iSiZ stepped in and proposed presencing theater. We stood in a circle, were asked to thought about our level and then had to step into the circle with a pose that represents how we feel where we are with regard to a practice. 

In this case we discussed the practice 'we recognise the diamonds (in people, nature, resources)'. John stepped in empty handed, Lieve was down with hands up in a battle, Tom with his gesture was welcoming ideas and Lucellia stepped back in reflective mode.. Cool, those poses told us a lot! 

Comment by Birgitta Schomaker on November 25, 2019 at 6:02pm

How to do a self-assessment in groups? Here's what we did in Amsterdam with the group activists.  (to demonstrate the set-up with chairs, I included a photo. It's from a community in Africa, not from the group in Amsterdam)

Step 1: which of the 10 principles do we want to discuss? (participants assign priority with numbers, we used majority vote)
Step 2: explain the 5 levels of adoption:  (1) a good idea, but we don't know how to do this, (2) we know how it works, we haven't done it yet, (3) we have done this a few times, (4) we do this on a regular basis, (5) doing this has become a new habit, we do this automatically. 

Step 3: People ask themselves: "how are we as a group doing in respect to this practice?"  Participants make up their minds about the level or extent of adoption of the particular practice (as a group), and they  position themselves in the room behind one of the chairs that indicates that level. 



Step 4: Every individual clarifies with examples their position.  People listen carefully, ask deepening (follow-up) questions. This results often in people changing their position, they move to another chair. Take enough time to explore, and encourage people to speak up and share experiences. 

Step 5: Try to come to a shared assessment, but don't force it. 

Step 6: Draw conclusions from the discussion. What do we agree upon? Discuss the desired level of the practice. Are we satisfied with our current way of working, or do we want to set goals to improve our practice? 

Step 7: What actions do we want to commit to? Who commits to doing what? Who supports? When will we do the self-assessment again, so we can check our progress?

Comment by Marie Lamboray on November 18, 2019 at 5:53pm

Hello Birgitta! Please explain what is the chairs and 5 sheets method

Comment by Marie Lamboray on November 15, 2019 at 12:25am

Thank you Birgitta! Here is the French translation of your blog and comments:

Retour sur soi mené par des militants pour le climat – Où en sommes-nous au niveau de nos valeurs et de nos principes ?

À l'aide de l'outil d'auto-évaluation CLCP, j'ai guidé un groupe de militants du climat dans un processus de "réflexion personnelle". Ce mouvement pour le climat réfléchit après une période de nombreuses et intenses actions (par exemple, le blocage de routes) dans les espaces publics et aux portes des entreprises.

Ce mouvement international a un cadre établi de 10 valeurs/principes, très similaires à ce que nous appelons Pratiques dans le CLCP.

Le principe « Nous sommes un réseau non violent - Utiliser stratégie et tactique non violentes comme moyen le plus efficace d’apporter un changement » a été sélectionné hier dans un groupe d’environ 80 participants comme principe clé sur lequel réfléchir. 

Ils ont conclu que (1) la non-violence est couramment présente lors d'actions directes, (2) la définition de la non-violence nécessite des éclaircissements supplémentaires : concerne-t-elle uniquement les actions dans l'espace public ou inclut-elle l'agression verbale en ligne et dans les réunions ? (3) des personnes de différentes régions du monde (par exemple, d’Amérique du Sud, des Pays-Bas ou d’Allemagne) ont des seuils différents en ce qui concerne ce qui est considéré comme violent.

Le processus menant à ces conclusions a été efficace :

- des exemples ont été échangés (basés sur des faits)

- les hypothèses ont été contestées alors que nous réfléchissions ensemble à voix haute

- il n'y avait pas de pression à être d’accord

- il n'y avait pas de blâme/honte

- le processus était fluide : les gens ont changé de perspective à la suite de l'échange.

Nous avons pensé que l’utilisation de l’outil d’auto-évaluation CLCP était utile. Le processus est rapide et apporte de la profondeur à la fois, et peut être utilisé dans n'importe quel groupe, guidé par un facilitateur extérieur. Après l’autoévaluation, les groupes peuvent choisir d’améliorer des valeurs/principes spécifiques et de convenir d’actions de suivi pour les concrétiser.

J'espère pouvoir guider davantage de groupes au sein du mouvement à travers ce type d'autoévaluation ; c'était une expérience enrichissante.

  

Commentaires

Commentaire de Birgitta Schomaker le 7 novembre 2019

Autry, c'est exactement pourquoi je suis si enthousiaste à propos de notre outil d'autoévaluation: non seulement il génère un échange franc de points de vue sur l'état actuel, mais il clarifie également les objectifs sur lesquels se concentrer, et permet l'auto-suivi des progrès.

Je remarque que les gens sont enthousiastes quand ils voient comment des choses intangibles deviennent tangibles avec le graphique où nous traçons le niveau actuel d'adoption d'une pratique et le niveau cible de changement souhaité.

Commentaire de Autry Haynes le 7 novembre 2019

Merci beaucoup Birgitta d'avoir partagé ce post sur l'auto-évaluation! J'apprécie énormément cet outil du CLCP. Il a un impact potentiel sur les participants s’il est facilité de manière efficace. Je suis d'accord avec les bénéfices du processus tels que vous les décrivez. L'autoévaluation conduit également à d'autres résultats, notamment la confiance entre les membres de la communauté. La confiance découle de la conversation franche qui s’explique par le fait que chaque personne apporte une contribution et est écoutée. Pour parvenir à ce consensus, une conversation franche et un compromis peuvent être nécessaires. Ce que nous voulons éviter, c’est que quelqu'un quitte la conversation d’autoévaluation avec le sentiment de ne pas avoir participé à la conversation. Cela peut compromettre l'appropriation globale et la responsabilité de la communauté dans son ensemble et des actions spécifiques qui peuvent progressivement mener à la réalisation collective des résultats escomptés. Effectuer l'auto-évaluation à des intervalles convenables au cours de la mise en œuvre offre aux communautés la possibilité de mesurer le changement et d'adapter sa réponse.

Commentaire de Birgitta Schomaker le 5 novembre 2019

Salut Rituu,

- il y avait déjà une base de confiance dans le groupe au départ.

- l'autoévaluation a été faite volontairement (non imposée)

- ils étaient impatients de découvrir la méthode (avec les chaises et les 5 feuilles)

- Ils étaient très ouverts à s'écouter. L'un des principes qu'ils défendent est :

"NOUS RECONNAISSONS LA VALEUR DE LA RÉFLEXION ET DE L’APPRENTISSAGE »

Suivre un cycle d’action, de réflexion, d’apprentissage et de planification pour plus d’action. Apprendre d’autres mouvements et contextes ainsi que de nos propres expériences. "

Au début, je leur ai demandé d’attribuer individuellement trois points à la liste générale des 10 principes. En raison de contraintes de temps, nous n’avons choisi que celui qui intéressait le plus les participants. Il aurait été intéressant de disposer de plus de temps pour couvrir 3 des 10 principes et définir des actions de suivi spécifiques pour améliorer certains principes.

Merci d'avoir posé ta question, Rituu! Tu m'as fait réfléchir encore plus en profondeur :-)

Commentaire de Marlou le 4 novembre 2019

Très créatif, Birgitta! Super.

Commentaire de Rituu B. Nanda le 4 novembre 2019

Brillante application de l'auto-évaluation. J'ai une question sur le processus. Qu’est-ce qui a bien fonctionné selon toi ? Que ferais-tu différemment la prochaine fois? Félicitations Birgitta.

Comment by Birgitta Schomaker on November 7, 2019 at 5:39pm

Autry, that's exactly why I am so enthusiastic about our self-assessment tool:

- it not only generates a candid exchange of perspectives on the current state, but it also creates clarity on goals to focus on, and it allows for self-monitoring of progress

I notice that people get excited when they see how intangible matters become tangible with the graph where we plot the current level of adoption of a practice and the target level of intended change. 

Comment by Autry Haynes on November 7, 2019 at 5:29pm

Many thanks Birgitta for sharing this post on the self-assessment! As a tool within the CLCP I have immense appreciation for it. It has the potential to impact participants once facilitated in an effective way.  I agree with the outcome as described by you. The Self-Assessment also achieves other outcomes, including trust between members of the community. Trust results from the candid conversation as to why each person is making a contribution and is listened to. In arriving at that consensus there may be need for candid conversation and compromise. What we do not need is someone leaving the Self-Assessment conversation feeling that he/she was not included in the conversation. This can compromise holistic ownership and responsibility for the community as a whole and  for the specific actions that can progressively lead to collective accomplishments of intended outcomes. Doing the self-assessment at convenient intervals of implementation offers opportunity for communities to measure change and adapt its response moving forward.

Comment by Birgitta Schomaker on November 5, 2019 at 12:01pm

Hi Rituu,

- there was a trust base in the group to begin with.

- doing the self-assessment was done voluntarily (not imposed)

- they were eager to experience the method (with the chairs and the 5 sheets)- 

- they were very open to listen to each other. One of the principles they uphold is

"WE VALUE REFLECTING AND LEARNING 

Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action. Learning from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences."

At the start, I asked them individually to allocate three points to the overall list of 10 principles.. Due to time restrictions, we only picked the one that had the most interest by the participants. It would have been nice if there was more time to cover 3 out of 10 principles, and also to define specific follow-up actions to improve on specific principles. 

Thank you for asking the follow-up question, Rituu! You made me think even deeper :-)

Comment by Marlou on November 4, 2019 at 11:33pm

Very creative Birgitta! Super. 

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on November 4, 2019 at 11:16pm

Brilliant application of Self assessment. I have a question on the process. What do you think worked in the process? What would you do differently next time? Kudos Birgitta.

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