Connecting local responses around the world
Welzijnsgroep is an organisation in the Netherlands that works with young people in neighbourhoods. They organise activities for fun or around prevention and specific topics. Today their challenge is that the local government, who provides their budget, wants to cut down on spending. Therefore, they would like to rethink the way they work and stimulate local communities to take ownership of some of the activities.
One of their staff members, Gemma Van Voorst, participated in a workshop in Amsterdam organised by Dutch Competence. She was so enthusiastic about the approach that she went through Blended learning and organised a presentation to the staff. Through Gemma, Welzijnsgroup then invited the Constellation to introduce CLCP to the staff.
On the 15/08/2013, two teams met with Laurence Gilliot and Boris Alberda, two Constellation coaches, to get to know the Constellation’s approach. The purpose of the half day workshop was to introduce the CLCP and give them an opportunity to see the application in their own context.
The two teams participated with enthusiasm to all the proposed exercises, especially the dream building exercise, building the self-assessment and discussion around one practice.
From the dreams, the teams build their own draft self-assessment with the following practices (in dutch):
1. Uitwisselen, communicatie
2. Overal naaartoe gaan, verbinden
3. Kwaliteiten, middelen aanwenden, krachten bundelen, teaming, aanvullende kwaliteiten
Visie delen, continuiteit
4. Organiseren (goed georganiseert zijn)
5. Activeren, jongeren tools en verantwoordelijkheid geven, buurt invloed laten hebben
6. Steentje in het water zijn, vonken, fakkel doorpakken
7. Balans vinden, liefde, positivism
As an exercise, the teams both did their self-assessment on one of the practices.
At the end of the day, participants saw possible applications of the approach in their work.
“I realized that I often skip step 0, 1 and 2 and that I go straight to 3, making an action plan. I sometimes get impatient and then I start rushing and just organize activities without involving everyone in the visioning process. Today reminds me of the importance of building a common vision to stimulate ownership.”
“I already work in a very participatory way with my theatre group. I see that this approach can help me to go even further, more systematic.”
“I notice that I sometimes still see problems so I’m reminded to keep looking for strengths and positive things.”
“Shall we all go to the training of Dutch Competence in Amsterdam?”
Lessons learned on facilitation
What went well?
- We acknowledged, appreciated and utilized the vast experience of the participants in youth work and theoretical background on participative work. We discussed perceived differences between methods and how SALT and CLCP add value to their experience.
- The most efficient way to get to know the approach is to experience it. Therefore, the coaches
1) introduced SALT by drawing experiences from the participants with the question “What is your experience with working in a participatory way with youth?”. They then linked the answers with SALT acronym.
2) gave a brief introduction to the CLCP and went straight into dream building for the teams themselves, then helped them define their self-assessment and do their self-assessment around one practice.
- Djehosua, a volunteer youth leader from Maastricht, shared his experience of local ownership. Djehosua is the perfect example of a volunteer who fully took ownership of the activities with youth in his neighbourhood. He started from scratch in April 2013 and is now organising activities for more than 100 young people. He is a volunteer and he managed to mobilise at least 40 other volunteers and 2 other team members. He shared his powerful experience towards the end of the workshop, which demonstrated to participants that it is possible for young people to take ownership. It also showed the power of connection beyond the neighbourhood and the inspiration that comes forth from this connection. After the session some of the team members mentioned the idea of visiting Djehosua’s community with a group of young people they work with.
- We did not give too many examples from far-away countries but more from Belgium and Netherlands that the teams could relate to. The examples we gave were from young people.
-Even though we were running late, we took the time at the end to share possible application of the approach in their work.
What can be improved?
- When we introduced SALT, we could have summarized SALT with the usual explanation for everyone, on a separate sheet of paper.