A Learning Opportunity to Help People Help Themselves

My recent visit to Lehigh University’s Global Village isn’t the only “global village” I’m proud to be involved with.

I recently attended the annual North American conference of the International Association of Facilitators, along with more than 400 other professionals from 25 countries ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe.

A highlight of the conference for me was spending time with the leaders of the Global Facilitator Service Corps (GFSC).  This is a worldwide volunteer network of facilitators dedicated to helping communities “build their capacity to work through their challenges and create sustainable solutions.”

Building Resilience & Capacity

A special program developed & offered by GFSC is its Disaster & Crisis Intervention Workshop.  This program helps facilitators, social workers, government and recovery professionals help communities with their reconstruction.

In the words of workshop attendee Viv McWaters, an Australian facilitator, this program offers:

“the potential for facilitators to help build resilience and local capacity in groups and communities so that, if and when disaster occurs, the group or community is prepared for psycho-social reconstruction.”

What’s that?  Viv explained: “It simply means the re-integration of individuals with community/group needs.”  It helps those recovering from traumatic situations to move beyond crisis mode and isolation so they can better cope.

Pay It Forward

The Disaster & Crisis Intervention (DCI) Workshop reflects GFSC’s “cascade” approach of experienced facilitators training and/or mentoring others within communities so those communities can build on their own capacity and resilience.

Upcoming DCI Workshops include: Oakland CA (Aug. 7-8, 2006), Chicago IL (Sept. 12-13, 2006), Ottawa, Canada (Oct. 30-31, 2006) and Australia (date to be determined).

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