Hi All,

I recently added a blog post to the ABCD Asia Pacific site which you might be interested in!

It discusses the importance of starting small - one conversation at a time!

We can hear a lot from people by having Learning Conversations and discovering what they truly care about...

You can find the blog here

Late one Friday afternoon, I was talking on the phone with the Regional Coordinator of a Government Department about the upcoming talk and workshop I would be delivering at their Annual Forum.


Being very passionate community workers, we very quickly moved onto talking about the importance of listening, the potential dilemmas caused by fly in-fly out government work, the history of international aid, plus much more.

During our discussion, I reflected on the importance of learning conversations, as I listened to the stories he shared of many international community-led initiatives.  One particular story, which resonated, was about Chumkriel Language School, operated by a Cambodian grass-roots organisation who wanted to support the education of local children… and it started, with two men, sitting under a tree, having a conversation!

Through Learning Conversation we can hear what people are concerned about, how they see their preferred future and discover what skills and abilities they have to offer.


Top Down versus Bottom Up


If we start with a top down approach and we charge into communities with “the answer”, we then require people to implement that answer and often have an added problem of needing to find an answer to the problem of lack of motivation.


We might start to think, “Why don’t people care?”, “Why won’t they get involved?”, “They obviously don’t want the help!”


Instead, if we start with a bottom up approach and we have a Learning Conversation with community members, then we discover what people care about, hear how they view the situation and uncover what skills or abilities they have to offer.


Two Paths – Two Solutions


When we start with an answer, we respond to a “need”, services charge in with programs to “fix” the issue and local people become consumers.  This suggests that programs are the answer.


Alternatively, if we start with a question and discover people’s motivation to act, we support them to identify and mobilise local assets themselves and they become active community members, not program consumers.  This suggests that people are the answer.


I continue to reflect on how many ABCD conversations I have had with community members all around Australia; under trees, on park benches, in cars, over a cuppa or walking in a park or on a beach and it reminds me of the Power of Two quote which says;


If one person spent one day having a conversation to two people about what they could create (1+2)


If the next day, those two people each had a conversation with two different people (1+2+2+2)


And so forth…


Then in ten days, 2047 people would be having a conversation

In 15 days, 65,535 people would be in conversation

In 20 days, 21million people would be in a conversation


Then multiply that by millions on social media!



Learning Conversations discover care and the motivation to act! As Mike Green says, “If we discover what people truly care about, we can mobilise communities to action!” and with this in mind, I look towards a hopeful future and to the thousands of conversations still to come!

The blog was originally posted here http://abcdasiapacific.ning.com/profiles/blogs/one-tree-at-a-time?c...;

Yours in ABCD community,



Please feel free to comment and add your thoughts!



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