July 2007

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In this mid-year Exchange

Aunty Ali Golding, Indigenous Elder participating in the Reconciliation Bridge Walk

* Global Impact Report

* From Little Things, Big Things Grow in Australia

* One Room to the World in Canada

* The Power of Local Initiative and Resources in India

* A Strategic Approach to Tackling HIV/AIDS in Kenya

* New Tools for Healthcare Managers in Nepal

* The Impact of Thinking Big in Peru

* Building Peaceful Communities in Tajikistan

* Remembering a Catalyst for Change in the UK

ICA Australia

From Little Things, Big Things Grow
Robyn Hutchinson
International Representative, ICA Australia

This is the title of a song written by the well-known Australian Indigenous singer/songwriter, Kev Carmody.  It has been one of the theme songs in the reconciliation process here in Australia, and also evokes the journey of ICA Australia (ICAA). As ICAA is made up of a lot of individual people doing amazing things, as well as participating in voluntary, collaborative ICAA projects, we would like to share a few of these stories.

Their Spirit Still Shines: Supporting the Reconciliation Movement

'Their Spirit Still Shines' is the theme of the reconciliation movement – and continues to be a true statement in the face of all odds. Where Australian Indigenous peoples number amongst the most disadvantaged in the world, in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we are shamed!

In these last 10 years, we have just about hit rock bottom in terms of the real progress needed. This year, Australia commemorated the 40th Anniversary of the 1967 referendum, where over 90% of the population voted for Aboriginal people to be recognized as citizens of their own country, despite having been the custodians of the land for over 60,00 years.  While some progress has occurred, little has changed on the ground for Indigenous people in this country.

Around Australia, committed Indigenous and non-Indigenous people work tirelessly for basic human rights for all citizens.  In this commemorative year, events and ceremonies expose the power of the symbolic. This month, for example, people marched waving red, black and yellow flags; smoking ceremonies cleansed the lands; teams of didgeredoo players heralded more new growth; songs were sung; dancers danced; people greeted old and new mates; workshops were held; churches, schools and organisations renewed their commitments; moving ceremonies led by students took place; candles were lit, extinguished, and re-lit; messages of hope written on paper hands; and virtual hands were shared and added to the national Sea of Hands; pledges were signed; speeches were made; and the three flags (Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian) were flown in places they have never been flown before! For a moving example of one such effort by a 10-year old Grade 5 student, click here 

In the words of one ICA colleague: “We sat and listened to stories and the Songlines Choir, under the poinsiana tree, which dropped its tiny leaves on the people.  As the breeze blew through the gathering, it felt like tears falling.”  There has been no formal apology to the stolen generations and for the stolen lands.  We are moved to tears and action.

The symbolic, translated into real collaborative action, remains key for Aboriginal people and the future of this nation. Some progress has been made in Indigenous rights, but we have a long way to go.

People to People Bridges in the Southeast Asia Pacific Region

This past year has seen more collaboration between ICAs and other organizations in this region.  We celebrate the collaborative efforts that are taking place in and between places such as New Zealand, China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, India, Timor Leste, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Nepal, Nauru, and Australia, among other places.  We are proud and challenged by the fact that this region hosts the Great Global Conference in November 2008 in Japan!

Sustainability Street Projects

Supported by Local Councils, this project brings local people together to see what they can learn and do to live more sustainably. Councils support the groups with staff and resource people, demonstrations of appropriate tools, and some administrative help to share information. A sharing of life stories focuses action, as people learn about what can and needs to be done to conserve and preserve their environment, economy, and culture for future generations. Practical projects in energy and water saving, gardening, household chemicals, waste, transportation, and energy assessments with practical recommendations for improvements are all part of the process. Most importantly, people meet and talk with each other. Some ICA colleagues have found this a great way to build community!

Transformational change continues inside ICAA

One interesting story in these last few months is the successful 'all on-line' Strategic Planning process that our 5 person Facilitative Leadership team is conducting with the 40 members of the ToP Learning Community, with a pretty high participation rate! This work-in-progress will be ready to share with the membership at our next bi-annual gathering in Brisbane in July, and in January 2008 in New Zealand.


One Room to the World
Leah Taylor
Youth as Facilitative Leaders Program Manager, ICA Canada

In a small yellow room at the back of the shared ICA Associates/ICA Canada office, there is one tall leafy plant, a globe, three desks, three women under 30, two ICA Canada initiatives, and one purpose: to develop the capacity of all people to contribute to positive social change.  Each day begins with our chairs pulled to the centre of the room in a circle; we drink our coffee and chat about what is happening with our respective programmes. Sitting around this circle is myself, Leah Taylor, representing Youth as Facilitative Leaders (YFL), and Eowynne Feeney and Liz Donnery, representing the Listen to the Drumming fundraising and awareness campaign for ICA HIV/AIDS programs in Africa.

It is in this small room that we work together, exploring opportunities to collaborate and support each other. Recently we presented to a potential corporate funder, Deloitte, for them to fund the creation of a Listen to the Drumming university student group at York University that would be trained in facilitative leadership by YFL. This project would not only develop synchronicity between the two major programming arms of ICA Canada, but would also bring together students from very different backgrounds – from the left-leaning faculty of International Development Studies to the Schulich School of Business. This project is just one application of an ICA Canada core value: to emphasize the collaborative approach as a means to making a difference.

By bringing together people and organizations from diverse backgrounds and facilitating open dialogue, new and exciting connections can be made, often with startlingly powerful results. Three women working on two initiatives in a single room is one reason we are able to do this so well; by working so closely together we are able to see how our work intersects. Our office is one small symbol of how the creation of collaborative networks, much like the Network Exchange, strengthens and expands the capacity of individual people, projects, and organizations to contribute to positive social change.

ICA India

The Power of Local Initiative and Resources
Shankar Jadhav
Executive Director, ICA India

For the eight years, ICA India has engaged in community development efforts in a neglected area of Pune where residents have gradually developed the local initiative and resources needed to realize their goals.

The project was originally supported by local organizations, as well as Japanese foundations through ICA Japan. When funding ran out three years ago, I raised concerns about how to continue the project. Rather than cease our involvement, however, ICA India and the community decided to experiment by continuing small projects that utilized existing resources, without outside funding. I focused on facilitation work that cultivated ideas for how to use local expertise and available resources to enable continued progress. We continued with meetings and trainings, and provided moral support.

Because of the high degree of local participation and positive attitude within the community, the government began taking responsive action. Some of our many accomplishments included: drinking water supply for 3 villages; new approach roads; temple hall for meetings in 3 villages; latrine construction; campaign on cleanliness; main road repairs; office for local government in 2 villages; pre-school buildings for 2 villages; social forestry tree plantation in all villages; water dam cleaning; and irrigation scheme maintenance. All this was accomplished through the initiative of villagers themselves.

Through this eight-year project, I learned that while funding helps accelerate and expand development, many things can be accomplished simply with local resources, knowledge, and supporters. It is the role of the NGO sector to facilitate and support this local initiative.

At the same time, my colleague Bhimrao and I have shared ICA methods with the Maharashtra Police force through a partner NGO, PCGT. Through this initiative, we have trained about 20,000 new police recruits and over 1000 police officers in “Humane Policing.” In addition, the Environment Education Center is keeping busy, with a variety of programs hosted by various organizations held there on a continuous basis.

ICA India is very grateful for our friends and supporters abroad: Shizuyo and Wayne, Japan; Hutchinson family, Australia; Stover family, USA; and Don Elliot, USA. In India: Pranay Shah, Kiran Gandhi, Vijay Lokhande, Mira Rajda, and Sanjay Jagtap. I also continue to work in memory of my wife, Late Mrs. Shakuntala Jadhav. These people keep us motivated, encourage us to continue in our work, and guide us along the way.


An Startegic Approach to Tackling HIV/AIDS
Edward Mutiso
National Director, ICA Kenya

On 16 May 2007, I arrived in the Machakos District at 11am from Nairobi by a “matatu.” I was headed to visit ICA Kenya’s new Leadership Training and Integrated Development Programme in Ikalaasa, which is 64 kilometers from Machakos town. I was joined by our Programme Manager Meshack Mutevu. ICA Kenya recently chose the area for the project since there were previously no development agencies working there.

We got to the project site at 1pm. Voluntary HIV/AIDS Testing and Counseling was going on at Kiuukuni Primary School. I noticed that Nicholas Muindi and Masai Wambua, both from the Ministry of Health, were very busy counseling and testing people. I noticed a group of young women talking. They had come to be tested. One young woman asked another whether or not she could get infected through handshakes or mosquito bites.

By 5pm, 64 people had been counseled and tested. Over 50% of them were women. Since a majority of the men have moved to urban areas to look for jobs, women constitute the majority in this area. I asked one of the ladies who came for the counseling and testing and what motivated her to do so. She told me that, “If I know my status, then I can plan how I want to live. If I don’t know, it is hard to plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Indeed, human development in Kenya is inextricably linked with counseling and testing. Counseling and testing is the first step in the fight against HIV/AIDS and a must for any organization or community that wants to control the spread of HIV/AIDS. ICA Kenya’s work in this community will include a “Positive Self Management Programme” (PSMP), which trains people to effectively manage their HIV/AIDS conditions. The programme was developed at Stanford University and a successful pilot was implemented in Kenya between October 2005 – February 2006.

A few general assumptions underlie the PSMP:

* People with similar chronic conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, have similar concerns and problems.
* People with HIV/AIDS must deal with not only their diseases, but also its impact on their lives and emotions.
* Peers with HIV / AIDS, when given training and a detailed manual, can teach the PSMP as effectively as health professionals.
* The process or way in which the PSMP is taught is as important, if not more import, than the subject matter that is taught.

What is most important is for organizations, communities, and individuals to decide what aspects of the HIV/AIDS challenge they want to tackle. Once that is clear, they need to collaborate with other stakeholders to add value to their work.

ICA Kenya is at the forefront of this effort. These are the times and we are the people.


New Tools for Healthcare Managers
Tatwa Timsina
Executive Director, ICA Nepal

With the restoration of peace after Nepal’s long democratic struggle, the national role of ICA Nepal has continued to grow. Taking part as an active civil society organization, we are increasingly focused on the introduction of new training and facilitative tools and technologies. With the introduction of the Technology of Participation in the country over the last ten years, Nepal now has a new group of facilitators who are capable of managing a variety of group processes with our dynamic, powerful tools.

As a part of our work in facilitative leadership development, ICA Nepal had the opportunity to work with Management Sciences for Health (MSH), a Boston-based organization renowned for its leadership in the health sector. The programme was carried out with the support of USAID, as part of its commitment to develop capable facilitators in the Government of Nepal’s National Health Training Centre, as well as other organizations dedicated to the improvement of health. During the six-month programme, participants belonging to different organizations implemented 29 projects in their respective areas. The projects were based on challenge models and resources for project implementation were generated locally.

A high-level evaluation team found the training programme very successful and recommended similar programmes for many other districts. Materials for the program were based on the well-known MSH manual Managers Who Lead, as well as the Technology of Participation tools developed by ICA. Sylvia Vriesendorp, Senior Facilitator of MSH, noted that "ICA's cooperation in this regard is very fruitful since the programme is based on facilitative tools and techniques". MSH is now undertaking this programme in other countries as well.

Leadership and Development Models:
The Result Model (Source: Management Sciences for Health)


Antioquia: the proposed national demonstration community for the 100 Valleys Project  

The Impact of Thinking Big
Staff of ICA Peru

When the staff of ICA Peru began to think about implementing the 100 Valleys Project, we soon realized that we could not do it ourselves.  There are over 3,000 communities in the target area of the project, and we want to see major changes happen in ALL of those communities over the next ten years.  We knew we needed help, and a lot of it!

Our first plan was to hire and train a lot of people to work in teams with the communities, since we thought that we would have to initiate the work ourselves.  But then we began to meet with other NGOs in Peru to see what they thought, since there are literally hundreds of them operating here.  What we have found after just a couple weeks and only 20 interviews is that they are eager to join with us – and already have a lot of work underway in these communities.  There is a huge number of very dedicated and committed people out there who want the same thing that we do.

  The Women’s “Frutsana” Association, which processes fruits and vegetables from Antioquia

So what is emerging now is that while ICA Peru is the initiator and coordinator of the Project, our principal role appears to be one of implementing the actions that ensure that the Project is inclusive and comprehensive – inclusive in ensuring the coverage of all communities in the valleys of Peru, and comprehensive in the results achieved in each community.  This in turn challenges the ICA Peru staff to do some wonderful creative events of training for the staff members of our fellow NGOs and public agencies to assure the results we envision. 

Thinking BIG seems to inspire every group we talk with – and it’s catching us too!

Previous articles about the 100 Valleys Project can be found here and here. Para obtener más información en español, visite ICA Peru aquí.


Building Peaceful Communities
Marina Safarova
Executive Director, ICA EHIO Tajikistan

Last October, one of the most interesting and powerful programs ever implemented in the Central Asian region came to a close. The long-term Peaceful Communities Initiatives (PCI) started in October 2001, with financing from USAID, in the territory of Fergana Valley: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Its major goal was to support collaboration between ethnic groups within the republics and inhabitants of cross-border communities. The program was implemented in partnership between Mercy Corps and local NGOs. Tajikistan was represented by ICA EHIO.

ICA EHIO oversaw community mobilization in all of the Fergana Valley. We carried out training on more then 30 topics, and used the Technology of Participation in numerous exchange visits, meetings, forums, conferences, round tables, and focus groups. Between 2004-2006, the PCI program worked in seven cross-border communities of the Asht district. In this district, ICA EHIO worked in partnership with Mercy Corps to achieve the following: conduct community mobilization and identification of priority problems; create Community Initiative Groups (CIG) with village activists and leaders; train created CIGs; help CIGs in the development of infrastructure and social projects; and monitor implemented projects.

During these two last years of PCI implementation, 7 infrastructure projects were realized as a result of these efforts in the Asht district: 1) repair of a school in Goj village; 2) rehabilitation of  the electricity system of Uzbekokjar village; 3) cleaning of collector and drainage lines in Jarbulok village; 4) reconstruction of water system in Tajikokjar and Kalam villages,; 5) rehabilitation of irrigation water system in Uzbekokjar; and 7) reconstruction of irrigation water system and additional installation of the same system in Navbunyod village. In addition, a great number of social projects were implemented, including training programs, youth summer camps, sports events, celebration of Navruz and Victory Day, and marathons. 

Moreover, in 2006 ICA EHIO developed and realized two major social projects in these target communities. The projects focused on vocational training for young people, while also supporting improved understanding between people of different nationalities – one of the main goals of the PCI.

The first project focused on professional training for Asht district youth in trades such as carpentry, sewing, cooking/confectionery, and hairdressing. We created and equipped workshops and trained about 200 boys and girls, ages 16-25. Among the products of this training were school desks made by schoolchildren from the Tajikokjar village, which were presented to an Uzbek school in the Goj village.

The second major social project aimed to organize joiners and carpenters to complete the building of a school in Sarvak village. 30 boys from the village had been trained in carpentry and practiced their new skills and knowledge through the construction of that school. Under the leadership of a master carpenter, they made window-frames, doors, floors, and ceilings. One of the external program monitors noted that the floors made for that school by boys from the Sarvak village were the best he had seen in all of Tajikistan.

As a result of the PCI, both economic opportunity and inter-ethnic understating and cooperation have vastly improved throughout the Fergana Valley. ICA EHIO is proud of its central role in bringing about this change.

United Kingdom

Remembering a Catalyst for Change

Sir James Lindsay was President of ICA International from 1982 to 1989 and acted as Convenor of the International Exposition of Rural Development (IERD) held in India in 1984. He died on 22 April 2007 at age 91. Read Sir Lindsay’s life story as told by his friends and colleagues here. Below is his introduction to ICAI’s 1984 Annual Report, as well as a reminiscence that originally appeared in Circle of Life.

An Introduction by the President
Sir James Lindsay
Reprinted from the 1984 Annual Report of ICA International

Through my close involvement with the International Exposition of Rural Development over the past three years, I have had the privilege of talking to people from a large number of countries around the world. There have been a striking number of common themes in what these men and women, some of them eminent thinkers in their own fields, have had to say.

For example, “We all live in an inter-dependent world; but it is one that is at a turning point”; then “There is an emerging ethic that enjoins us all to move more purposefully towards responsible and holistic management of the planet. That means unprecedented cooperation within, and between, all sectors of society at all levels”; and “More than ever before the poor nations of the earth need accelerated development that is sustainable. Processes and principles for achieving this exist, and are applicable worldwide.”

Clearly vigorous activity by the Institute of Cultural Affairs International is called for. Its role, as I see it, is to draw on its thirty years of worldwide experience to promote the development of people, as individuals and as members of a community. It should use its well-fried participative methods that are the fruit of action-research and make for effective local planning and motivated implementation.

The Institute has always been a catalyst of change; but increasingly it is collaborating with other groups to share methods and approaches. A sign of this new role of the Institute was the granting to it in May 1985 of Consultative Status (in Category II) with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

This Annual Report shows how our programme of work is meeting the challenges of our times. It is gratifying to see how widely the ideas and findings of the International Exposition of Rural Development are being spread. Certainly its central international event in India made a global impact: it may have lasting effects on rural development that reach far beyond the boundaries of the 55 countries whose nationals attended it.

As we look forward towards the year 2000, we shall - as this report explains - be paying increasing attention to three themes conceptualised under the headings Healing, Reconciliation and Caretaking. It is through the combined efforts of local people throughout the globe, that our planet will be cared for.

Sir James Kay P. Nixon, with Cyprian D’Souza
Reprinted from The Circle of Life: Stories of Ordinary People and the Gift of Spirit, edited by Petty Pesek, Ellery Elizondo, and David Dunn.

It was a daunting task to work with the image that we had to raise all the money needed to do our development work in India. Hundreds of village development projects were underway by the early 1980s and thousands and thousands of dollars had to be raised each year to keep them going. From 1982 to 1985, my husband and I joined this monumental effort by the Development Team in Mumbai (Bombay). During these years, Sir James Lindsay [former President of ICAI and Trustee of ICA Development Trust in Britain] was the only source of relief in an unending cycle of phoning, visiting, proposal writing and accountability.

Sir James visited Mumbai about twice a year in his capacity as President of ICA International. He had lived in India years before and had been the CEO of a large Indian company for many years. He was a distinguished gentleman and had been knighted for his public service while working in India. He had many friends and connections in high places, including many Indian industrialists. He was so well known and so well loved, he could get us into any company we wanted to visit. When we knew Sir James was making plans to spend a week in India, we spent upwards of a month lining up all his appointments. We scheduled every person he was to see and planned every move he would make, usually at least six or seven appointments a day. It was a very tight schedule.

While he was in Mumbai, Sir James was always hosted by one of the many companies where he had friends. He stayed at their guest houses with his own suite of rooms, a small kitchen, beautiful grounds and a swimming pool. Breakfast was brought to him each morning of his stay on a silver platter. India’s company guest houses are lovely places and Sir James always received royal treatment.

It had been difficult to get an appointment with the Tata industrial house, the biggest industrial empire in India, until we mentioned Sir James. An early morning appointment was quickly arranged with Mr. Ratan Tata. On the day of the appointment, we got up early and called Sir James to make sure that he was ready. But there was no answer. We phoned at least a dozen times. No answer. We got worried. Had something horrible happened? Frightened out of our wits, we drove over to the guest house and nervously knocked on the door. We kept worrying to ourselves, “He’s forgotten about the appointment and is sleeping!”

We knocked many times, but there was still no response. As we were wondering what to do next, Sir James appeared, dressed in his swimming briefs. Before we could open our mouths, he said, “Don’t say anything. I can explain why I am dressed like this for the meeting!” That morning when he had left for a swim, he had inadvertently pulled the door shut without taking the key with him. He had been locked out. He had no access to a phone and had spent most of the morning wondering what to do next.

It was too early to call the guest house company for duplicate keys and too late to reschedule our appointment. As we scratched our heads for a solution, Cyprian pulled out the Swiss army knife he always carried with him. It had a tiny saw blade. Using that mini-saw, he cut around the door knob. When the hole was big enough, he put his hand through and opened the door. Sir James finally got to his bedroom and dressed in his own inimitable way - brown shirt, jacket and tie - and in all his wonder-filled glory, came out beaming. We met our appointment. Sir James spent the rest of the day with us and I am sure made thousands of dollars for the villages of India. He was the most disarming man I have ever met.

Before we returned Sir James to the guest house later that day, the whole door had been replaced by his hosts. A different kind of lock had been installed: it locked from the outside and required a key.

Designed by Peter Ellins; edited by Sarah Miller.
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