The program had been organized over the last six months to focus on 1. updating each other on current projects, challenges and future prospects; 2. sharing information on ICA methodology and philosophy; and 3. introducing projects, activities and funding resources. The program structure involved four days of sharing by various colleagues, a one day village site visit and a day action planning with twice daily virtual dialogues.
The meeting took place at the ICA India Environmental Education Center (EEC) located in Talegaon, an expanding town off the Mumbai – Pune Road. The first impression was what a unique space has been created for hosting ICA activities with meeting spaces, comfortable residential rooms and delicious food.
We were given a tour of the ICA India strawberry farm which demonstrates ecological and quality agricultural approaches… and the strawberries are very delicious.
The highlight of the first day was a welcoming dinner with dancing, both traditional and modern, by the children of ICA India colleague.
The next three days were intensive presentations including:
- Demonstration of Street Theatre by villagers from the Bihar project. This approach is used to help communicate ideas within the community. This project is organized by HCDI and supported by ICA Japan.
- An introduction to the Nepal Earthquake situation and the ICA Nepal response on relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. This was complemented by Loren Weybright in introducing what has been happen a local Nepal school.
- ICA India introduce the Human Development Training Institute concept and invited discussion on how ICA India could help share approaches to community development.
- ICA Taiwan reviewed the status of the ToP Technology of Participation global policy and the link with local implementation.
- ICA Nepal shared the Leadership Development Program which they have been implementing with health organizations. A practical exercise involved several ICAs taking a current project and applying the “challenge model” to clarify thinking and discern new actions.
- ICA Sri Lanka provided introductions to their educational and reconciliation efforts, including a Montessori preschool.
- Mark Pixley did an introductory workshop on the GFSC (Global Facilitators Serving Communities) Crisis>Chang>Choice workshop on facilitating disaster recovery. This also provided an opportunity to review how ICAs in the region respond to disaster situation and consider possible responses.
The site visit was to the Khamboli Community Project which is west of Pune. We were shown the irrigation project, a local dairy operation and a women’s cooperative. In meeting with the local villagers, we got a sense of excitement and determination. It was explained that the irrigation had allowed year round farming, which then created opportunities for raising animals. The farmers are now working together and several have become very innovative in trying new approaches. Several people mentioned with pride how they now “export out” and need very little from other places.
The final actions plans which emerged showed an enhance cooperation between the various ICAs in the region and the cross fertilization of approaches.