In this Exchange  

* Responding to the Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa
* Comprehensive Police Training in India
* Rebirthing, relaunching and developing our capacity building in Spain
* Working with CIVICUS in Nepal
* Tree Planting for the Planet in Benin
* Tools for Change: Sustainability in Practice Conference in New Brunswick, Canada

ICA South Africa - Responding to the Xenophobic Attacks

Fisser Mpuka

The unfortunate incidents of xenophobia that have gripped South Africa over the last months seem to have calmed down for now. The issue of what is the best way forward has arisen and the future is uncertain. The damage however has been done, lives have been lost and no one can bring them back; properties have been destroyed and people’s life savings have gone up in smoke. Many people today carry physical and mental scars from these xenophobic attacks, scars they will have for the rest of their lives. The question now is, “What next?”

Since the wave of xenophobic violence broke out in Alexandra almost three months ago, South Africans, without hesitation, have shown their true spirit of humanity. Volunteers working in the field have many personal stories to tell about the inspiring acts of compassion they have witnessed while working in the refugee camps around Gauteng and Ekurhuleni. South African residents of affected communities have come to the refugee camps to simply talk, counsel, sing and pray with victims of the violence.

  Participants at the conflict for transformation training.  

It is in this context that the Institute of Cultural Affairs South Africa sought assistance from the ICA community and supporters globally to provide immediate crisis response training in conflict transformation for the youth affected by this crisis and material support for displaced families in Alexandra, including food, clothes and blankets. The first activity within this action plan was a two day training on Conflict Transformation that took place at the St Kopano Community Hall in Alexandra on the 17th and 18th of July. Twenty-one participants from the Youth as Facilitative Leaders program attended the training, which was facilitated by Muzi Mbonani and Louise Kubeka of ICA South Africa.

The main objectives of the training were as follows:

  • To equip the participants with major tools, techniques and methodology of systemic conflict transformation
  • To help the youth to understand the root causes of conflict within various social systems
  • To familiarize the participants with the genealogy of family and social conflicts, and enable them to cope with various types of conflict - familial, societal and national.

The workshop focused on the conditions and obligations of systemic constellation; the mapping of national conflict, conflict dynamics, de-escalation and systemic conflict resolution at various levels. Several conflict simulation and resolution exercises were also performed. Participants were also given background knowledge about the philosophy of peace, the structure of peace and the need for positive peace for harmonious social, economic and political governance. Other themes covered were non-violent communication, religion and peace. The workshop adopted a participatory method that enabled the young people to discuss and reflect.

Participants found the systemic constellation methodology very significant for reconciliation and peace in a community torn apart by xenophobia. An evaluation on the workshop was carried out and the future needs of participants were also assessed. Participants revealed that they found the workshop to be very useful in addressing various types of conflict situations and agreed to carry out the knowledge they learned in their everyday lives.

The positive evaluations also underlined the need to take this methodology to other communities that experienced xenophobic attacks. One participant, Sipho Mkhize, shared that the training built his confidence in the application of this methodology in the community. Another participant argued that there should be more of a focus on the emotional dimension so that linkages can be built between knowledge and emotional preparedness for conflict transformation. Participants felt a clear need for additional “train-the-trainer” programs so that they themselves can provide training afterwards on the resolution of a complex conflict system.
One participant is quoted as saying: “Conflict is normal and natural and cannot be avoided. It is an integral element of human existence. As conflict cannot be eliminated in our lives, so also is our desire for peace. Every human being naturally desires to live in peace, and yet we find ourselves constantly in conflict. The source of conflict is our diversity. Human beings look different, create things differently, make different choices and decisions on issues, and have conflicting interests, ideas, needs, beliefs and generate intimacy. This method is good and it encourages the establishment of relationships of cooperation, understanding, trust and love. One efficient and effective way of team building is by bringing people together for fun activities. This method is said to be very reliable and helpful, especially when dealing with young people and religious groups.”

The Institute of Cultural Affairs South Africa would like to thank the ICA Community and well-wishers for their generous support. Your commitment to helping the victims of xenophobic attacks in Alexandra is sincerely appreciated. There is a continuing need for food and clothes for women and children especially, and the funds raised by the ICA community will provide ongoing relief in the weeks ahead.

In the context of this new challenging situation, the Institute of Cultural Affairs South Africa will continue to advance its mission of empowering organizations and individuals by promoting a culture of participation through social and economic engagement using technologies of participation methods, such as its program Alex! No to stigma and HIV/AIDS being funded by ICA Canada and the Youth as Facilitative Leaders program.

Police Training in Maharashtra, India 2004-2008

Shankar Jadhav
Executive Director for ICA: India, Pune Office

Public Concern for Governance Trust (PCGT) is an NGO based in Mumbai that works on reducing corruption, supporting good people, helping in legal matters and promoting more transparent, accountable and efficient governance. The organization was founded by a group of concerned citizens including retired civil servants, police officers, social workers and other professionals.

Police training is one of PCGT’s programs designed to inspire positive thinking, a proactive attitude, a humanitarian approach to community relations and to develop positive behavior changes in the police force. The main objectives of these trainings is to encourage the development of honesty, transparency, human sensitivity as envisioned in the role of a positive police force.

Shankar Jadhav of ICA: India, Pune was recommended to become a faculty member of the police training by one of our old colleagues in Pune, Mr. Kiran Gandhi, who worked for one of our partner organizations called Thermax Limited. Initially Shankar did a workshop on “Issues in the Police Force” and also a “Solutions/ New directions” workshop and both were very effective. Normally, police officers are trained to be part of a disciplined force, one that does not give them the chance to make any suggestions; their job is to listen to instructions and enforce the law. These workshops were the first time in their career that they were asked about the challenges they face. When they were given the opportunity to speak, many of them exploded with emotion. The workshop method however helped them to say everything they needed to with respect for one another and resulted in the creation of an organized product. In fact, both the workshop participants and their supervisors were impressed by the data and the level of reflection of the participants.

For second program, Shankar took his colleague, Mr. Bhimrao Tupe, with him and added a few additional sessions, including Style Flex and ORID (the latter was used for day reflections). A vision workshop was also added, followed by trainings on other topics such as self esteem, being a change agent, and seeing the results. The program has been increased and its areas expanded. In the first year alone, Shankar conducted 80 days of programming and the training program has continued to grow until now.

The total training curriculum took six days and started first thing in the morning at 7 am and continued until 6 pm. The curriculum is comprehensive and deals with personal life- meditation, pranayam, and yoga, talks on happy family, communication, team approach, health, participatory approach, change agent, stress management and communal harmony. We also invited a few doctors and other experts as visiting faculty to speak on particular subjects. Mr. Bhimrao Tupe and Shankar Jadhav were present for all six days to support the group’s journey.

The training participants included staff, officers and new recruits. Up to now, we have trained about 25 000 new recruits from 7 schools in Maharashtra, and about 6000 staff and officers over the 3 year period. We also did PSP-Participatory Strategic Program with the PCGT organization who is conducting these trainings.

Ms. Shabnam Shiddique who is Executive Director of PCGT is very impressed with the methods and work of ICA. Just recently in May 2008, she was in Canada with Duncan Holmes and participated in a program conducted by ICA Canada.

ICA Spain / ICA España

Rebirthing, relaunching and developing our capacity building

Rebirth - This best describes ICA Spain. We just had a presentation of the ICA's methodology to a nucleus of people who are re-establishing ICA in Spain. Enthusiasm built as each person began to conceive how to apply it to their sphere of work and influence. When someone has been involved with something a long time the luster can wear off. So it was encouraging to see the shine of something new in the faces of the participants.” Mark Abbott, ICA Spain President.

  Standing left to right: Mark Abbott, Franco Voli, Ma. Jesús Bellón, Yolanda Rodriguez and Roberto Goicochea, down left to right, Catalina Quiroz, Bianca Quiroz with ICA Spain misquote: Chorri and Sofía Gutierrez.  

This quote says it all about our first gathering with the new board and members, to discover ICA Spain heritage and future potential in Spain.

8 people attended the ICA Spain gathering (3 from the new board and 5 active members) to work on a mini participatory strategic planning + action plan

Los documentos que miramos juntos e inspiraron el marco y contexto de la planificación y plan de acción fueron los siguientes:

  • Historia de ICA de libro El Coraje de Liderar de Brian Stanfield, ICA Canadá
  • Copia estatutos adaptados a la nueva ley: IACE
  • Documento sobre elementos de fortalecimiento organizacional IACE
  • Dossier ICAE con programas de formación / Dossier sobre la metodología
  • Documentos ICA Internacional: membresía y requisitos de transición

Pudimos consensuar la visión y a su vez priorizar los elementos de la misma, dándonos una idea clara dónde debían ir nuestras energías, tiempo y dedicación:
Aquí el resumen de las categorías acordadas y priorizadas para IAC España

1. Generación de ingresos para lograr fines de la organización
2. Como motor de cambio dentro de área educativa y familiar
3. Estructura jurídica, legal y administrativa formal
4. Promoción de Proyectos de desarrollo social
5. Empoderamiento para poder marcar una diferencia
6. Recursos humanos para lograr los fines de la organización
7. Mentalización de autoridades
8. Relaciones con instituciones afines

Compartimos entre todos/todas los intereses, aportaciones y compromisos claves y concretos de cada quien para trabajar poco a poco el desarrollo y capacidad organizacional de ICA España.

Pudimos conversar y hablar sobre la importancia de definir nuestro Manual de Organización y Funciones y se pudo acordar

El proceso a seguir por los socios/socias para desarrollar las actividades del instituto dentro de España, así como la estructura y contenido de la solicitud de aprobación de proyectos IACE por la Junta Directiva.

Un plan de acción a corto, mediano y largo plazo nos ayudó a decidir la fecha de nuestra próxima reunión de trabajo y decisión-acción conjunta para el próximo 18 de octubre, 2008. .

Terminamos la jornada con una reflexión conjunta sobre lo vivido y experimentado, he aquí algunas de las contribuciones:


  • Palabras en acción: participación, empoderamiento
  • La metodología utilizada muy dinámica e inclusiva


  • Me sentí bien al ver que lo que hacíamos tomaba cuerpo
  • La ilusión del trabajo conforme íbamos avanzando


  • Todas las ideas se han respetado y han sido consideradas importantes
  • El tiempo ha cundido bastante.
  • Pensar en asociaciones que tienen valores similares y a las que podamos ofertar este tipo de metodología y procesos de trabajo.


  • Podemos hablar sobre lo que IACE es, hace y desea para el futuro.
  • Contactar con potenciales socios/socias para la reunión de Octubre
  • Asistir a la reunión de octubre

Working with CIVICUS in Nepal

Experience of implementing the Civil Society Index in Nepal

Tatwa P. Timsina

For the last five years, ICA Nepal has been working closely with CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation. CIVICUS is an international alliance of members and partner organizations that works to strengthen citizen action and civil society throughout the world, especially in areas where participatory democracy and citizens' freedom of association are threatened. CIVICUS provides a focal point for knowledge-sharing, common interest representation, global institution-building and engagement among various sectors.

ICA Nepal is a National Coordinating Organization for the CIVICUS Civil Society Index project and thus has been working to promote participatory governance and the empowerment of civil society organizations in Nepal.

The CIVICUS Civil Society Index (CSI) is a participatory needs assessment and action planning tool for civil society around the world aimed at creating a knowledge base and momentum for civil society strengthening initiatives. The CSI is being implemented by civil society organizations at the country level. Participants actively disseminate the Index’s findings to a broad range of stakeholders, including government, donors, academics and the general public.

ICA Nepal has undertaken several initiatives as part of this outreach program. First, members of ICA Nepal visited and introduced the CSI to 150 civil society organizations (CSO) in Kathmandu and surrounding areas. They also distributed the CSI report to 200 organizations. Training institutes were also approached about including the CSI in their curriculum for civil society organization leadership development programs. ICA Nepal and other organizations in Nepal have also been implementing some of the recommendations made in Nepal’s CSI report.

In March 2008, ICA organized a two day public training on 'CSI Methodology and Recommendations' in Kathmandu and Dadeldhura. Representatives from different CSOs attended this training. In September 2007 and early 2008, ICA Nepal also organized a half day public awareness program in the Dadeldhura, Doti, Baitadi, Jhapa, Rupandehi, Rasuwa, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Parbat districts, which were attended by local CSOs, government, local entrepreneurs and the media. The programme included workshops, lectures and a brief field visit. About 100 people participated in this program.

In late 2007 and early 2008, with the support of a national organization called the Society of Study, Research, Law and Development (SSRLD), ICA Nepal also conducted a seminar on the Role of CSOs in Constituent Assembly in five development regions, which was attended by more than 300 CSOs. The Rotary Club of Rudramati partially supported SSRLD and ICA to implement this program.

ICA Nepal has integrated CSI concepts into its regular 3 month long Professional Career Development Training (PCDT) program as well. So far about 80 participants have experienced this updated program. From July 4-6, ICA Nepal organized a Development Book Fair in Kathmandu, which was attended by more than 5000 people.

ICA Nepal representatives have not only been implementing CIVICUS activities in Nepal, they have also participated in several CIVICUS World Assemblies, most recently in June in Glasgow, Scotland, in addition to other international events. These events have given them the chance to share ICA’s views about civil society development at the global level

Editor’s note: CIVICUS is one of the partners of the 7th Global Conference on Human Development
taking place on 17-21 November 2008 in Takayama, Japan.
Have you seen the new conference website?

Project “Plant for Planet” in Benin

Kassimou Issotina

This project was initiated in the framework of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) global campaign to plant one billion trees a year called Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign. This major tree planting campaign encourages people, communities, business and industry, civil society organizations and governments to enter tree planting pledges online and to plant indigenous trees that are appropriate to the local environment. UNEP recently set a new goal of planting 7 billion trees by the end of 2009. In April 2008, UNEP endorsed Lambassa ICA Benin's fundraising and awareness raising activities related to fulfilling the campaign's mission.

Communities in Benin are dealing with deforestation, soil degradation and drought due to the desertification occurring on the border of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger, which is advancing more than ten kilometres a year. Desertification can have enormous consequences, including reducing the land’s resilience to natural climate variability, reducing the soil’s productivity, damaging existing vegetation, destabilizing food production as well as increasing the risk of internal displacement and forced migration. ICA Benin has conducted several workshops in the northern part of Benin and has determined that if action is not urgently taken, rural communities will leave the northern regions and put pressure on more fertile land in the south, which may create tensions in the local communities that are already active in those areas.

ICA Benin is in the process of its tree planting project in order to limit deforestation in the northern part of Benin, to engage decision makers on all the levels in this challenge and to inspire and engage the local population in this particular project. The project was designed using a participatory process that includes farmers, residents, volunteers and local leaders in the management of activities.

ICA Benin’s activities are now in their third implementation phase. The district of Copargo has been chosen to host the first tree farm and eight volunteers are working there. At least 10 000 trees have been planted. ICA Benin is negotiating with funding institutions interested in supporting the project. Grassroots communities are also working on this project on a volunteer basis. The next step in the process will be to encourage the central government to get involved in order to increase the impact of the campaign in Benin.

International Training Program for Leadership in Human Development

One of the highlights of this year’s International Training Program for Leadership in Human Development was the Tools for Change: Sustainability in Practice Conference hosted by the Falls Brook Centre in Knowlesville, New Brunswick from June 2-14, 2008.

The conference was an exciting and interactive forum bringing together national and international development practitioners and sustainability experts to share approaches to some of the most complex challenges of our time. The main questions addressed were:

  • Sustainability in practice: What are the challenges to including sustainability in human development work?
  • Tool for Change: What are the approaches that work in ensuring sustainability through human development?
  • Global Sustainability Platform: What can we commit to implementing in diverse national and international contexts?
  Milo Bekins Faires (far right)  gave an introduction to Analog Forestry at the ICA Tools for Change Conference and ICA open house at Falls Brook Centre, New Brunswick, June 2008.  

The Falls Brook Centre and ICA International collaborated to emphasize the importance of talking about sustainability and human development in the same conversation. The conference was intended to bring together development practitioners and sustainability experts from around the world to share approaches to some of the most complex challenges of our time: building participatory approaches at the community level that incorporate principles of sustainability in the context of poverty; supporting sustainable livelihoods that not only respect environmental integrity but also support biodiversity and environmental remediation; and facilitating replicable approaches to sustainable human development.

The conference was designed to maximize the interaction between participants, using facilitated sessions focused on the in-country experience of participants, and drawing on common themes and experiences to build a Global Sustainability Platform.

One of the memorable features of the conference included presentations of sustainability projects from around the world. We asked Milo Bekins Faries from the Analog Forestry Network and Sebastian Africano from ENASA to share their exciting work with the whole ICA network.

ENASA Energia, Ambiente y Salud

Sebastian Africano

  Claudia Menendez pulls a cake out of a Justa Oven Stove, while soup boils on the griddle.
ENASA is a collective of appropriate technology practitioners based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. We provide and develop tools, methods and projects geared to encourage sustainable community development throughout Central America and the world.

One of the tools we use in developing healthy communities is custom-built, fuel-efficient, clean-burning, cooking appropriate and ecological stove construction. In countries like Honduras, upwards of 85% of the population may use biomass, mostly firewood, to cook their food and heat their home. We design stoves appropriate to local cooking styles that eliminate indoor air pollution almost completely during use and which also reduce fuel consumption dramatically.

  Sebastian Africano teaches how to assemble a rocket stove in Northern Nicaragua.

Our approach is to teach the design, construction and maintenance of our stove models to local craftsmen and women, with a vision of establishing a network of capable micro-entrepreneurs that deal in the teaching and production of ecologically friendly technologies. Trainings are generally sponsored by local and international Non-Governmental Organizations, and include lessons in appropriate design, sourcing of locally appropriate materials, and development of project management skills.

The impacts of our projects lie not only in the stoves we leave at our work sites, but also in the new skill sets we leave to local micro-entrepreneurs and the community. To find out more about what we do and how we can assist your project in the future, please visit our website ( and/or send an email to

Analog Forestry through Community Based Organizations

Milo Bekins Faries

The last era has been the era of nature conservation. Now we are entering a time of recapturing landscapes and reintroducing biodiversity. There is a need to consolidate the reintegration of biodiversity in human landscapes, which is the larger part of the land surface in the regional South. Analog Forestry (AF) is a method to restore degraded ecosystems and simultaneously provide communities with a sustainable income and livelihood. The method, developed over the millennium is known traditionally as Forest Gardens in Sri Lanka, is now practiced all over the world.

  A local Farmer is taking soil samples for his land during the first stage of planning an Analog Forest. Guantanamo, Cuba, Dec 2007.  

The International Analog Forestry Network (IAFN), formed in 1996 and comprised of 26 Community Based Organizations (CBO), spreads AF on every continent through capacity building in its methodology directed to agriculture technicians AND farmers groups and their families. Case studies of communities benefiting directly have been documented in Ecuador, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Vietnam. Currently, there are thousands of AF hectares, each in their own stage of Ecological Succession towards maturity of bio-diversity.

But what is Analog Forestry? It is a system of growing trees and plants that seek to establish a tree-dominated ecosystem that is analogous in architectural structure and ecological function to the original climax and sub climax forest community. We use the design input not only from traditional models, but also from the natural forest. Thus, when an ecosystem to be restored is incorporated with a design to be analogous to the indigenous climax state, the efficiency and dynamics of the natural processes can be replicated and enhanced.

Analog Forest Technicians from the IAFN lead an Analog Forest mapping workshop in Cojimar, Cuba, Feb 2008.  

In addition to the ecological characteristics of these quasi-natural forests, the design can be applied to provide economic benefits. Specific landscape AF designs can be directed to the needs and markets of the communities such as: fruits, spices, medicinal plants, non-timber forest products (NTFP), and, not to mention, Carbon production, benefiting climate change, and Eco-Tourism. The social benefits of organic methods used goes without saying. However, it is not until all the ecological requirements of the location are satisfied that economic values of species are considered. Therefore, an AF may be comprised of natural and exotic species in any proportion, the contribution to the structure and function being the overriding factor that determines its use.

Finally, a system is set in place by way of the IAFN Certification Standards for
Forest Garden Products (FGP) for farmers and communities to export and/or market these FGP to bridge the North-South economic gap by producing products in ecologically and socially just ways. With this certified history of the AF farm, the consumer is guaranteed that the product was and is under Forest Garden production and the farmer betters his ecological footprint along with his farm income.

Some members’ websites of the IAFN:

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