Our culture can marginalise many whose rich experience of life might valuably be lent to community growth. NWB training is built on the premise that all are poorer in a disintegrated community. The goal is to enable all to bring the full potential of their strengths and assets to build an inclusive and flourishing community.
This is not a program that identifies people who need to be rescued. It rejects patronising and paternalistic approaches in favour of removing the cultural barriers and lies of culture that separate “us” and “them”. In the words of Murri artist, activist and academic, Lilla Watson:
“If you’re here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you’re here because your liberation is bound up with mine then let us work together.”
(Ascertain, Analyse, Act, Assess):
The NWB process assists a community to hear and see the perspectives of all who broadly have a stake in the community. Seeing freshly requires suspending what we have always thought we saw. It requires listening without judgement to see deeply below surface impressions. It begins with three key questions that should help to ascertain what exactly is happening and what it is doing to people.
Participants then attempt to make sense of the reality and bring greater clarity to the root causes of what is happening. A social analysis explores the historical and structural relationships that reveal a more complete picture of what was ascertained in step one. The essence of Palms training is then provided. Participants are assisted to analyse what they believe should be happening through a series of frameworks and tools that explore and apply their core values.
With the insights of analysis, a strategic direction will be developed to identify and implement action. to achieve the full potential of the community by drawing on the strengths and assets of all individuals and groups.
Achieving the full potential of engaging Neighbours Without Borders is an ongoing process of continuous learning and improvement. It is cyclical. After action it is critical to assess what worked and what still needs work. It will be quite organic and even more reward is to be gained by proceeding through the steps again.
(Is the whole community achieving the full potential of its vision and mission?)
- Are the talents (strengths and assets) of all individuals and groups engaged? Who is/is not engaged?
- What appears to encourage or discourage engagement? What are the characteristics and difference between those engaged or not engaged?
- What is the relationship of those less engaged in determining the culture of the community to those fully engaged?
- Why does this situation exist? What are the root causes?
- What do you think should be happening?
- What do your values/prophets say?
- What exactly is it that needs to change to transform the structures and relationships that produce this situation? (long-term objective)
- How can you act now to enable any who are disadvantaged in this situation?
- Who needs to be involved in the action?
- What was done and what was experienced by all involved in various actions?
- What have been the results of all action taken; successes and failures?
- What is the most significant change for each member of the community?
The first full cycle of Ascertain, Analyse, Act and Assess might usefully be planned over a period of 12 months. Ongoing cycles can then be easily integrated into annual activities for continual engagement and growth of the community. The cycle can also be used to assist identify valuable action to realise other possibilities and potentials for the community.