In November, the team at Collaboration for Impact (CFI) brought together people from government and the not-for-profit sector for two days of learning to lead authentic and lasting community engagement.
Deputy Chair of the Logan Child-Friendly Community Trust and Logan Together Management Committee member Dr Geoff Woolcock participated in the first day’s conference, along with Opportunity Child funded initiative The Hive (in Western Sydney).
He said they shared learnings about community engagement in collective impact initiatives. Here are some of his thoughts from the day:
“The tenor for the day’s proceedings was set by the highly regarded Paul Schmitz, who leads the Milwaukee-based Leading Inside Out initiative. He emphasized the critical factor of shared leadership in any community engagement endeavour, citing the Rosa Parks ‘first lady of civil rights’ story and its incredibly rich historical roots where dozens of community leaders took courageous actions well before and after her famous act of resisting bus segregation.
“Paul reminded everyone that authentic community engagement can only work if it is grounded in actively practicing values, namely i) asset-based; ii) equity and inclusion; iii) collaborative trust; iv) continuous learning and v) integrity. Resonating with Rich Harwood’s contribution at the Logan Get Together, Paul also positioned culture at the heart of understanding any community, reiterating the critical need to engage every culture’s best communicators, wherever they may be based.
“A thread throughout the day was the CFI’s Collaborative Change Cycle that they have been developing since their commencement in 2015, based on a range of social change projects past and present. It is a useful staged approach and again resonates with the Logan Together experience to date, highlighting fundamental processes of building solid foundations before any large-scale impact is possible.
“An engaging presentation from the high-profile 100 Resilient Cities project underlined how important these foundations are in building community trust. Other examples of effective community engagement throughout the day prompted me to think we could readily re-create the same type of forum in Logan, ie to ask community leaders in Logan to share their best and worst experiences of community engagement.”