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Community capacity for response in Australia

Matt Campbell and i have been developing the learning network across the state of Victoria, Australia.  the learning network bring people together for ongoing, strategic conversations to learn, share knoweldge and build networks of relationships that support the ability to deal with natural events before, during and after the event e.g. bush fire. 


there have been many learnings as we have gone about this namely - community capacity to respond to the issues around them, care, change and be 'community' are universal. 


attached is a case study, written by Matt,  from one such community.  We have been working alongside mebers of the Dereel community ofr a number of years.  in that time their capacity to identify, work toghether and take ownership of their own solutions has grown.


the case study is part of a larger action research project we have been working on over the last 3 years exploring the influence of faciltiated dialogue (conversation) on decision making.



Dereel case study

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Comment by Laurel on December 1, 2013 at 12:21am

Hi Claire

I was really interested to see this. Just after Black Saturday, a small group of us proposed such an approach which was instantly rejected!!!The strength of your approach as I see it is about putting the local community into the role of experts, not others who are not connected  and make their own interpretations.

And Phil, I think you can work with communities that have not had the trigger of a bushfire or similar. It depends on how you craft the question to stimulate the conversations. I think this needs to be done in close collaboration with the respective community and there are techniques that can be used to do this.

This is great work Claire and needs to be applauded.


Comment by Phil on November 29, 2013 at 1:03pm

Hello Claire, 

That is a very interesting case study. Thanks for posting it. 

What I understood from the text was that in order to realise the full benefits of the community conversation, you needed a trigger, in this case a bush fire. It feels as though the actions of the community took on a whole new life. 

Two questions:

First, do you think that you could have used the fire at Dereel as a trigger for other communities to take a leap forward. So use the experiences of the people in Dereel to make other communities recognise the true nature of the challenge that they faced? 

If not, what does this tell us about communities that don't have such a trigger to stimulate the step forward. 


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