What makes people decide to join activities for a better neighbourhood? Let us discover the sparking magic in connecting with people around us for a common purpose. Jan Somers, an experienced coach from Belgium, helped participants to learn from their own experience and from insights shared by others during a series of two webinars organised by The Constellation.
The first session on the 9th of November 2021 gathered around 25 international participants. Community members from Kenya, The Netherlands, and Singapore shared why and how they joined activities for the betterment of their neighbours.
Florence from Kenya:
“The change starts with us. We did not want to be idle when schools were closed during corona-times. So, we as youth discussed what we could do for our community. It was our own decision to make bricks. So, we did it. We made 2000 bricks in a month!”
Zohra from Amsterdam recalled how she decided to step out of her house and become active in the Women’s Café:
“Inviting some-one to activities in the neighbourhood can be done with simple and kind words: “Come, join us, you are welcome.”
Grace from Singapore learned that a problem can be turned into an opportunity for the neighbourhood. When a boy was showing bad behaviour, neighbours discussed how they could organise positive activities for youth instead.
At the end of the first session of the webinar, the facilitator asked all participants to reach out and connect with some 10 people in their neighbourhood that they did not know yet (or not very well). This assignment then became the topic of appreciative investigation during session two of the webinar by means of breakout groups and plenary discussion. Some great insights emerged from this.
“When you find the courage to connect with others, you find that many of these people light up.”
Zohra and Mwita, Kenya.
“When you listen, things can emerge which is good to see happen. Give space for emergence.”
iSiZ, The Netherlands.
“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”
Florence Mwikali, Kenya.
“For a cleaner neighborhood the best thing to do is start cleaning it and you will be joined by others, inspired by your actions.”
The second session was then completed with the introduction of the Community Life Competence cycle by iSiZ of the Women’s Café in Amsterdam. This well appreciated sharing brought the CLCP alive. Participants reacted positively when asked for their reaction.
“The Constellation webinars may be the most transformative and inspiring learning opportunity you’ll ever have if you want to change the world, one neighborhood at a time.”
Deborah Teplow, USA.
To be continued!
Jan Somers facilitating a citizen initiative in the Molenbeek Maritime neighborhood in 2016. Photo courtesy of Celicia Theys.