Engage_ Vol. VII_ Issue 8_ September 2010 by dfsdf224s

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									Engage! Vol. VII, Issue 8, September 2010


                                       View Engage! online at: http://www.tamarackcommunity.ca/newsletter/engage.htm!




                       We have redesigned the look and function of Engage! to make it easier for you to
                       navigate and connect using social media technology. Click here to share your ideas
                       to improve it even further. This month Mark Cabaj and Sherri Torjman share
                       compelling stories of social innovation and collaborative leadership.

                       ~ Paul Born


                    In this Issue...
                          Stuck in Perpetual Crisis? Collaborate!
                          Reduce Costs: Fight Poverty
                          What’s Next for Philanthropy
                          What Does Belonging Mean to You?
                          Circles That Heal
                          Improve Impact by Listening Before Telling


                    Featured Articles
                   STUCK IN PERPETUAL CRISIS? COLLABORATE! [By: Mark Cabaj]

                   Why?

                   Why are more and more children developing Type Two diabetes while still in elementary school? Why are we
                   so slow to develop alternative sources of energy when we know the supply of fossil fuels is limited and the ill
                   effects of our continued dependence on it are so grand? Why are a growing number of people who work full-
                   time struggling to make ends meet? Why do our traditional approaches to finding solutions to these issues –
                   either by adding more resources, or demanding more ‘accountability’ – only sometimes yield short-term
                   results? Why do so many organizations and communities seem stuck in perpetual crisis?

                                                          Perhaps it’s because these times call for a particular kind of leadership.
                                                          Experts peddling simplistic solutions; command and control executives
                                                          promising order; or, charismatic heroes that encourage blind obedience
                                                          – however well meaning – may not be able to help. In some cases,
                                                          these styles of leadership may even make things worse.

                                                          The long term decline of a distressed neighborhood will be not reversed
                                                          by yet another program or the arrival of lonely community organizer
                   assigned to stay only a short time. Centralizing decision-making in health care systems in order to reduce
                   costs is unlikely to leverage the most impactful and sustained solution – an unleashing of the commitment
                   and ingenuity of Canadians to live healthier lifestyles. Stiffer sentencing for those who break the law may
                   feed our understandable urge for retributive justice but it will not achieve much in the face of the evidence
                   that such measures have little – if any – remedial effect on those who commit criminal offences. They are
                   also certain to drive up costs of incarceration to unacceptable levels.




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                   We need leadership that acknowledges the complexity and chaos of the
                   world in which we live. We need leadership that is rooted in the
                   sometimes grim reality of our day-to-day world yet concurrently is able
                   to fuel our highest aspirations and embolden us to great change. We
                   need leadership that is authentically inclusive; recognizes multiple
                   truths in the world; and, taps into our shared wisdom. We need
                   leadership that is adaptive and flexible and embraces risk-taking,
                   change and failure as opportunities for learning.

                   That type of leadership exists.

                   The 2010 Communities Collaborating Institute welcomes community-builders and change makers from
                   across Canada and beyond to uncover, celebrate, learn more about and nurture what’s needed to lead
                   together in these chaotic times.

                   Related Links:

                          Listen to Tamarack’s CCI 2010 Thought-Leaders Series online audio seminars for more on leading
                          together in chaotic times
                          Visit the Collective Wisdom Initiative to learn more about collective wisdom
                          Visit the Resilience Alliance for more on the dynamics of complex adaptive systems



                   REDUCE COSTS: FIGHT POVERTY                              [By: Sherri Torjman]


                   Several provinces are currently implementing wide-ranging poverty reduction
                   strategies. Selected measures are being introduced not only to increase various
                   benefits but also to reduce basic costs.

                   In its 2010 Budget, Nova Scotia introduced two new tax credits to help make life
                   more affordable for low-income households: the Affordable Living Tax Credit
                   and the Poverty Reduction Credit.

                   The Affordable Living Tax Credit is intended to offset the increased Harmonized
                   Sales Tax (HST). The HST combines the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 5 percent and Nova
                   Scotia’s value-added tax, which rose from 8 to 10 percent in July 2010. The Affordable Living Tax Credit is
                   integrated with the GST credit and is delivered quarterly. It pays a maximum annual $240 per household and
                   $57 per child. The credit is reduced by 5 percent of net family income over $30,000.

                   The Poverty Reduction Credit makes quarterly payments to households with annual net income below
                   $12,000 that have received income assistance and have no children. The credit pays a total annual $200.

                   Clearly, these are modest credits and will not lift any family out of poverty. But they do help reduce household
                   costs and provide an important administrative apparatus on which to build.

                   Another advantage is that tax credits are the least intrusive form of financial assistance. Eligibility is
                   determined by net income as reported on the income tax form. The challenge is to ensure that low-income
                   households complete these forms even if they have no taxable income. They could be eligible for hundreds
                   or even thousands of dollars of benefits being delivered increasingly in this way.

                   Related Links:

                          Read Sherri’s paper, A Poverty Reduction Strategy for Nova Scotia
                          Listen to the Vibrant Communities Audio Seminar on Nova Scotia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy
                          Register for Poverty Strategies and Provincial Policies an upcoming tele-learning seminar with Sherri
                          Torjman


                    Idea's We're Following...

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                   WHAT'S NEXT FOR PHILANTHROPY                                [By: Liz Weaver]


                   The Monitor Institute’s report, What’s Next for Philanthropy challenges everyone working in voluntary
                   organizations to consider the continually shifting external environment and how to be more effective and
                   responsive.

                   The status quo is not an option is the rallying cry at the beginning of this report which is targeted at
                   philanthropic institutions but provides many interesting lessons for everyone working in the voluntary sector.
                   One of the key forces identified in the report is the challenge of wicked or complex problems which face
                   communities including addressing poverty, climate change or education reform. These problems are complex
                   because they require multiple interventions, and do not adhere to political, geographic or sector boundaries.
                   In addition to these complex problems, there are the challenges of turbulent political and economic times, the
                   increasing use of new technologies, globalization and the pressure on leadership to be transparent,
                   adaptable, and employ rapid decision making.

                   These forces call for changing the way that organizations and institutions work. No longer can we stay in our
                   silos - which means increased coordination and collaboration across organizations through bridging and
                   leveraging resources. It also means increasingly being flexible and adapting to changing environments and
                   contexts.

                   The ‘next practice’ approach identified in the report is founded on the circular aspiration of ‘you/your
                   organization to seek more impact by acting bigger which influences the outside world which requires adapting
                   better which shapes you/your organization’.




                   The report illustrates each of the five next practices of acting bigger and adapting better with practical
                   examples of how foundations and collaboratives have used the practice to leverage larger-scale change.



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                   These vignettes are models of emerging and effective cross-sector collaborative practices.

                   The What’s Next for Philanthropy report is both practical and inspirational. The practical "next practice"
                   competencies provide a way to deal with a complex and changing community environment while the stories
                   provide examples of on the ground results. One of the biggest challenges facing organizations is effectively
                   changing behaviour in order to weave together the five acting bigger and the five adapting better practices
                   together for transformative social change. We all know that this kind of change is hard but possible with
                   leadership that is adaptive and collaborative.

                   Related Links:

                           Read What's Next for Philanthropy
                           Download the Executive Summary of What’s Next for Philanthropy
                           Visit the Monitor Institute website


                   WHAT DOES BELONGING MEAN TO YOU?                                              [By: Paul Born]


                   The experience of belonging is a deeply held human desire but one that is far too infrequent in the chaotic
                   times we live in. The results and analysis drawn from a survey of 500 members of Tamarack’s learning
                   community reveals a rich exploration of the meaning of belonging.

                   What does “belonging” mean to you?

                   To me, belonging means...

                   “I know where I want to be seen as a legitimate part of the group. When people smile when I arrive and ask
                   me something beyond ‘how are ya’ I have a basis to belong.”


                      CATEGORY          %                                DESCRIPTIVE EXAMPLES



                                                      Being a part of something beyond myself
                     Being a part of/
                                                      Belonging means the experience of connectedness
                     included/          65%
                                                      "Belonging" is something I do naturally, reflexively. If I don't belong I don't
                     connected
                                                      hang around long




                                                      Being at home - an assurance that one is accepted. The "longing" bit in
                                                      "belonging" sometimes puzzles me... is it a longing for the ability to just
                     Feeling      of
                                                      "be"?
                     acceptance/        44%
                                                      Being accepted, being real, who you are without fear of exclusion
                     being valued
                                                      When you belong you have a feeling of being needed by others feel useful
                                                      secure comfortable




                                                      Sharing/contributing to a cause with other like minded individuals, working
                     Sense       of
                                                      towards a common goal
                     purpose/
                                        6%            Sense of purpose, part of something bigger
                     similar values
                                                      Respect of ideas, shared interests/values, inclusion, compassion, shared
                     in common
                                                      passion




                                                      The results of working together with people in my community - It can be as
                     Recognition for
                                                      simple as my neighbour picking up my mail while I'm away, or as big as
                     contribution/      2%
                                                      having a major roadway shifted so that the neighbourhood deals with less



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                     skills
                                                       noise and air pollution



                     Access         to
                                                       Having others recognize my strengthens and value them
                     services/           4%
                                                       A feeling of contributing to a group and that the contribution is recognized
                     recreation



                                                       Identity
                     Other               5%            Ownership
                                                       Community




                   Analysis of the Survey

                   There was a strong consensus on this question that belonging means being a part of something, feeling
                   included and connected. 65% of the time respondents answered in this way. The emotional aspect of
                   belonging – the feeling of acceptance, being valued and “fitting in” was given as an answer by 44% of the
                   respondents. These were the only two significant responses to this question.

                   Related Links:

                              Download the survey results for: What does “belonging” mean to you?
                              Read Paul’s article on Belonging and Meaning
                              Access the 500 Voices: Meaning of Community Survey Process for more on how this survey was
                              conducted
                              Access Tamarack’s audio seminar series Seeking Community in Chaotic Times
                              Share your feedback on this article


                   CIRCLES THAT HEAL                    [By: Sylvia Cheuy]


                   "Circle is an energetic social container capable of helping a group draw on wellsprings of insight, information
                   and story that inspire collective wisdom and action.”
                   ~ Christina Baldwin

                   For two years now, I have been part of a group of women who meets once a month in circle to share, listen
                   deeply and speak thoughtfully about our multiple roles and life journeys. The simple, yet elegant,
                   infrastructure of circle has enabled us to create a space where we slow down; explore and harvest our
                   collective wisdom; and are enriched by the community we have created.

                   In a small rural community in Nova Scotia, residents meet in circle to resolve an issue that had created a
                   deep rift in their community: should an abandoned rail line running through the community be open to both
                   non-motorized and motorized vehicles (ATV’s, snow mobiles)? The practice of circle offers them a way to
                   listen and speak with one another so that ultimately a strong consensus view emerges. New and better
                   understandings are created; real forgiveness begins; a fresh faith is created that, together, they can work to
                   bring about a good end result; and, there is acceptance of the need to move forward even knowing some will
                   be disappointed by the outcome.

                   Circle is a practice for creating a world in which the best of collaboration informs and inspires the best of
                   hierarchical leadership in a wide variety of settings. The infrastructure of circle restores principles of
                   belonging and finds meaningful ways for everyone to contribute. It invites an intelligence that integrates the
                   heart and the mind. In this way, people are recognizing that it is possible to take and listen ourselves into the
                   changes we need – in our families, our organizations and our communities.

                   Related Links:




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                          Access Basic Circle Guidelines
                          Read Circle: Step by Step an excerpt from The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair
                          Buy The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair by Christina Baldwin
                          Read A Recreation Trail for Motorized and Non-Motorized Users
                          Visit our Partner & Friend Events for more info on Christina Baldwin’s upcoming workshop in Orillia
                          Ontario


                   IMPROVE IMPACT BY LISTENING BEFORE TELLING
                   [By: Ricardo Ramirez & Wendy Quarry]


                   When Simon Batchelor agreed to head an NGO in Cambodia, his contract was an unusual one. He told his
                   funders that he would not spend a single dollar in aid in his first year. Instead, he spent that time immersing
                   himself in the local context, getting to know stakeholders and searching out potential champions. By
                   investing in listening, Simon identified where and how his funding could be used for maximum impact.

                   We wrote Communication for Another Development: Listening Before Telling after spending more than
                   twenty years dissecting lessons from numerous international aid initiatives. It reflects what we have come to
                   realize: that the industry's understanding of communication is a primary problem. Too much of 'strategic
                   communication' relies on telling people what to do or think, and too rarely is it used to listen and learn what
                   people think and know. This is, in part, because slowing down to listen and honour the pace of long-term
                   social change can be difficult when matched against funders' expectations for quick, predictable, expert-led
                   interventions that meet institutional requirements.

                   Participatory communication is messy, takes time and will definitely spoil the linear direction of a development
                   plan. Yet this, we see, is the form of communication that lies at the nub of what makes communication so
                   essential to the development process.

                   As practitioners, we work in a “grey zone” where we are often faced with conditions that are not conducive to
                   participation. We have learned to navigate in this zone using three coordinates: champions; an
                   understanding of context; and a matching of appropriate communication functions.

                   We have come to realize that participatory communication is about allowing people to choose their path of
                   development. The development industry prefers the telling kind of communication to inform them about a
                   prescribed plan. We believe, for development to have lasting impact, it must steer away from the
                   communication of the planners in favour of a shift towards the communication of searchers.

                   Related Links:

                          Read Communications, Media and Development Policy by Ricardo Ramirez
                          Buy Communication for Another Development by Ricardo Ramirez and Wendy Quarry
                          Email Ricardo Ramirez or Wendy Quarry

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                    Vibrant Communities Across Canada Updates
                          Hamilton: Being Included at the Games More >>
                          Debating Poverty and Homelessness in Calgary More >>
                          Reforming Welfare in New Brunswick More >>
                          Poverty Strategies and Provincial Policies More >


                    About Engage!
                                                            Engage! e-magazine is published by Tamarack - An Institute for Community
                                                            Engagement, to bring you inspiration, ideas, and resources to envision and
                                                            create vibrant communities. We would love your ideas to help us improve our
                                                            new format. Please send comments to: paul@tamarackcommunity.ca. Photo




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Engage! Vol. VII, Issue 8, September 2010




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