Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Become the change you want to see

We are “Appreciating the Programmatic Approach”. For two days now we have been sharing stories and experiences of what ICCO has been doing in the name of the Programmatic Approach from many parts of the world. A number of us in the group are consultants who come from those parts of the world often referred to as the “developing” world or even as “under-developed”, we come from Central Asia, South Asia, Africa, and Latin America. We have been asked to study progress in the use of the programmatic approach in these parts of the world often defined by their need to develop and change.

But here we are in the ICCO compound in the heart of what is often thought of as the “developed” world. Our focus is meant to be on the ability of groups in far off countries to come together to collaborate and coordinate their efforts towards becoming more effective in their common purpose. But as we tell the stories the two parts of the world keep coming together. It becomes clear that the bigger story is not of one fixed and stable (developed) system intervening into systems that need change. The interventions are coming from a place where change is rampant, where the pain of real development is being acutely felt. It becomes clear from what is happening inside ICCO how deeply difficult it really is to let go of the old in order for the new to emerge.

In our conversations we explore themes of dependency, of power and powerlessness, of ownership and of new organisational forms. We recognise the critical role of leadership. As we draw learning from experience we are reminded of the Gandhian challenge to “become the change you want to see”.

James Taylor, CDRA - South Africa

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