“Promotion of enabling environment for civil society and community development” is a training course organized by JICA Tokyo and implemented by Shapla Neer with cooperation of i-i-network. The course in Japan was held from September 7 to October 2, 2008. Overall Goal of the course is that the participants will improve community development activities/projects/programs in organizations or communities the participants belong to. And the objectives are settled as described below;
(1) The participant(s) will be able to draft one of the three models or strategies mentioned below appropriate for their assignment.
a) A model method or strategy of community development concerning the respective local context is formulated.
b) A model method or strategy of participatory planning for community development is formulated.
c)A model of creating enabling environment for participatory community development is drafted.
(2) Based on the above mentioned outputs, an Action Plan for a pilot activity of community development is formulated.
(3) A final report after returning home country is formulated, or a proposal of mini project concerning to community development is formulated.
Eleven (11) participants (male 8, female 3) came from seven countries (Bhutan, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, and Turkey), 5 of them are from NGOs, and the rest belongs to government institutions.
The course in Japan consists of workshops and discussions in the classroom, field visit to two Japanese rural areas (Toyooka and Kikuchi), and action plan preparation and presentation.
Principle of the course
At the first session of the course in TIC (Tokyo International Center), the participants were asked to fill the blanks of the sentence with appropriate words;
If I hear it, I will it. If I see it, I will it. If I do it, I will it.
And, If I it, I will practice it.
The participants proposed various words that can fit the sentences, and finally agreed that in the training course, they have to find out something by themselves rather than just waiting for being taught by others, so that they will be able to utilize what they found and realized in Japan when they will be back to their home.
What is community?
The first day of the class room session started with discussion on “what is community?”. The participants were divided into three groups, and asked to list up what the community people do collectively. The followings are the examples of what they listed up as collective actions of community people.
Wedding ceremony / Big festival / play music / Christmas celebration / Holly weeks / singsong and dances by children /Sunday-Sunday –cookout between families in a street / Arts development / Organization of trips to different sites
a cleaning campaign day (health conscious) / Garbage and waste management / Drink water management / Vaccination / Forest & mangrove preservation / Cleaning up the streets
Fight against drug abuse /Non-formal education / Drug problems solution / Father and mother societies / management of schools / Sports / Against adolescents pregnancy / Celebration of Independence day / Construction of houses / Gotong-Royong / Primary school assistance / Support of vulnerable children
For agriculture production / Handicrafts / Selling food items / Waste-picker association / Exhibitions / Landless workers movement
Neighborhood watch / Defense and security issues
ADVOCACY / POLITICAL
Promotion and advocacy of HIV/AIDS program / Community/Village meeting planning and problem solving / Parent-teacher meeting / Anti-terror demonstrations / Demonstrations for animal rights
After that, a resource person of the session explained three functions of local communities in Japan; Common property management, mutual help for production and reproduction, and source of identity. It was also stated that there is a traditional decision making system in Japan such as “Yoriai” where community people gather, exchange experiences and thoughts, and finally decide unanimously.
Then, the participants were asked to think about the changes of local community. The followings are what they found disappeared and emerged in recent 30 years.
DISAPPEARED in 30 years
・Trading and exchange of gods between inland people and coastal people (barter system).
・Lower law and order problems.
・No laws that protect rights of children, women culture.
・VIPs were the priests, judges, bank manager and land owners.
・More canoe making (due to no road, infrastructure).
・Good public schools (for a minority).
・Election through ordinary box.
・Bringing water from fountain/river.
(・Giving birth to babies by a local person.)
・When someone died the neighbors took control of funerals.
・Really close community relationship (help without asking to be repay) [now, everything has the price].
・Respect for community rules [now, everything being compare to law].
・Involvement of all.
・Community collective child management (behavior shaping).
・Group house to house visit.
・Baking bread (women gather at a certain house, at certain times).
・20 years ago, I play at to TIJUCA forest, but my children can’t.
・More respect for private property.
・Cooperative sense to help each other.
・Children used to be protected for someone in the community.
・When someone died, everybody stay awake all night long.
・20 years ago, I swim in FLAMINGO Beach, but now is impossible.
・Lots of undisturbed resources such as river, forest, canal [now, some of the resources has been lost due to lack awareness development].
・Religious value in family group.
・Peaceful in community and neighborhood.
・Gender respect [regarding to women condition].
・Cheaper prices for store goods and other basic services as health, education and low tax.
・Helping to make activities together by the community.
・Patriotic events were important display of local balance of power.
・City agricultural fair for local production.
・After give birth woman take 41 days in risk.
・Head of block.
EMERGED in 30 years
・Infrastructure –high rise buildings, diverse roads.
・CGI sheet roofing.
・Local hospitals/clinics are more common.
・Less canoe making due to road infrastructure.
・Good facilities to do community program.
・Basic health units.
・My family come from a small village to PANTANAL where didn’t have health assistance, but I have.
・My mother didn't have opportunity to study, but I have.
・Bakeries where you buy your bread.
・Better financial support.
・Patriotic events are empty and unimportant.
・Better knowledge of technology.
・City fair for the products of big business and tourism.
・Low cooperation for common problems.
・Un-respectful for human being.
・Increased prevalence HIV worldwide.
・VIPs remain the judges, land owners –industrialists and business owners, college professors.
・Young people can not respect elderly.
・Bad public schools, good private schools (for minority).
・No combined activities by the community.
・More social problems due to road.
As a conclusion, the participants understood that the power of modernization that consists of formation of nation state and introduction of market economy has inevitably change the roles and functions of local communities. Common property resources previously local communities had managed were demolished and became public or private properties. Many kinds of mutual helping activities have been outmoded as people become busy for earning money, and it become the government’s responsibility to provide various services. And as a results of such rapid change, the people are losing their pride of being a member of local communities. However, it is also obvious that public sector and private sector can not fulfill all the necessity of everyday life of the people, thus we need something like local community where people gather and work together.
Roles of outsiders
So, if we need something like local community, then, what are the roles of outsiders such as NGOs and government officers who come to a community to implement some activities? In order to think about this question, the participants discussed on “what are the things community people know / do not know, and what are the things we know / do not know”. Based on the discussion, they found out that the reason why the outsiders are needed in community development can be described in three points;
1) We (outsiders) come to a community because there are something that we know but they (community people) do not know. So, we can contribute something new (information, knowledge, etc.).
2) We come to a community because there are something that we do not know but they know. We can learn from the community, and maybe we together with community people exchange and combine those knowledge, information, skills, and tradition to create new things.
3) There are something that either we (outsiders) and they (community) do not know. Among them, “hidden” or “covered” local resources in a community can become potentials for community development. Outsiders together with community people can explore and find out local resources. It was introduced that “Jimotogaku” is an interesting Japanese approach of finding out local resources through collaboration of local communities and outsiders.
Soft Systems Methodology (1)
On the third day of classroom session, the participants started to learn “Soft Systems Methodology (SSM)”. SSM is a methodology to find out ways of solving problems and making plans of action by involving all the stakeholders throughout the process. It gives importance on sharing each others’ views and reaching “accommodation” among all the actors involved. Accommodation (Otoshidokoro in Japanese) is a point that is created from and embracing all the worldviews of the stakeholders based on sharing tacit knowledge. After the process of reaching accommodation, all the actors involved start to participate actively in actions for solving common problems found.
As a first practice of this SSM, each participant was asked to draw a “Rich Picture” that describes what he/she thinks “community development” that he/she is engaged in. After drawing, each rich picture was presented, and active discussion followed. It was to share views and feelings among the participants about what situation they are working and how they think of local communities. It was also good practice to realize that everyone has different perspective on the same issue.
Skills for facilitator – interview and observation
In the next session, the major topic was “skills required to be a good facilitator”. As outsiders, it is important to find out FACTS in the field in order to facilitate community people’s initiative. So, what are the questions asking for FACTS? “What do you like to eat in breakfast?”, “What do you usually eat in breakfast?”, and “What did you eat for breakfast in this morning?” Among those three questions, what is the exact question to ask FACT? Yes, it is only “What did you eat?” that asks FACT. The first question asks about feeling or emotion, and the second question asks only a perception or thought of the person asked. The training facilitator showed an example of interview exploring facts, and the participants realized that in order to find out facts, they should use only “what” “who” “when” and “where”, and they should not use “why” and “how”. If you ask “why”, then, the person asked start to think the reason, and the answer is only his/her perception. And if you ask “how”, there is also possibility that the person asked will think the process and answer only perceptions. If you need to know the process, you can simply keep asking “when” “where” “who” and “what”.
In an interview, it is also important to try to increase the self-esteem of the interviewees, so that he/she feels easy to remember and talk, and then, if he/she gets proud of himself/herself, it becomes easier to facilitate his/her initiatives.
Apart from interview skills, it is also important for facilitators to practice observation. By observing in the field, we can acquire many kinds of information such as geographical, topographical, demographical, economic, social, agricultural, cultural, and other features of the community. And based on such observation, we will be able to construct hypothesis on the reality of the field that can become one of core ideas for community facilitation.
In the training course, the participants were asked to go outside the training center. In two groups, they walked around Hatagaya and Yoyogi-uehara area for one and half hour. After coming back to the center, they tried to construct hypothesis based on what they observed at Hatagaya and Yoyogi-uehara.
This observation and hypothesis making has become good practice for the participants before going out for field work. After this practice, the training place moved to a rural city, Toyooka in Hyogo prefecture, around four hours ride in train from Tokyo.
Field work in Toyo-oka
The training participants left Tokyo to visit Toyo-oka city in Hyogo prefecture on 15th September 2008 by the Shinkansen Super Express Train. After two hours in Shinkansen, they changed at Kyoto station and took an ordinary express train for another two hours. The Toyo-oka field trip was planned to have joint session with participants of JICA Osaka training course “Participatory Community Development”. Therefore, altogether 16 participants from 11 countries with 10 Japanese facilitators, coordinators, and secretariat members gathered and visited the city of Oriental White Stork “Konotori”.
After having introductory session in a meeting room at Toyo-oka, the fieldwork team met Ms. Y. Mikasa, an official of Toyo-oka city government who is a head for environmental policy section of Konotori Co-existence Division in the city office. In the morning of September 16, she took the team members to a brief tour of Toyo-oka city to show geographical and historical features of the area. In fact, Toyo-oka city occupies around 70,000 hectare with its variety of natural landscapes such as “Kannabe Highland”, “Maruyama River”, “Toyo-oka Basin”, “Takeno Seashore”, “Kinosaki Hot spring”, and “Izushi old castle town”. There are many tourist spots that attract more than 5 million visitors in a year. However, it is not such natural or historical features that makes Toyo-oka known as one of unique cities throughout Japan. The city’s policy and activities of “Living with Oriental White Stork (Konotori)” are the major topic that the field work team from JICA Tokyo and Osaka intended to learn.
The details of the city’s policy and strategy are introduced in the previous edition of this newsletter (“Living with the Oriental White Stork”, page 2 – 7, Community Facilitation & Mediation Vol.6, October 2008). The fieldwork team received lecture presentations on the city’s general policy and various activities to reintroduce Konotori into the wild. Ms. Mikasa also explained the city’s strategy on “co-existence of environmental conservation and economic growth” that makes the city really unique. Besides, a special measure to promote “Konotori Friendly Agriculture” (no-pesticide organic cultivation) was also explained. Two farmers who actively took part in implementing the Konotori Friendly Agriculture method were invited to the session, and the fieldwork team members had an opportunity to interview with those stakeholders. How the new agriculture measure was introduced and what were the process that the farmers took initiatives to apply the new farming method were explained and shared.
Activities of reintroduction of Konotori into wild are supported not only by farmers but other citizens are also actively involved in some of the nature conservation projects. The fieldwork team visited “Toshima Wetland” where a citizens’ group (NPO) cooperate with the city government to rehabilitate the wetland for creating appropriate habitat for Konotori. The members of NPO “Shicchi (wetland) net” shared their views and activities with the fieldwork team.
On the last day at Toyo-oka, the team members were asked by the facilitator, Mr. T. Nakata, the main facilitator of the JICA Osaka course to reflect what they found and thought during the two days. The followings are some of their findings;
Konotori: used as a symbol of unity, and promotion of tourism
NPOs: organizing the citizens to encourage environment conservation
Farmers: initiative to introduce organic farming
City government: having good relations and interactions with the citizens
The city: “shutter street” [shopping street but many shops closed], the streets of Toyo-oka is very silent after about 8 pm, and many old people are working in agriculture
What they said: “My starting point to get involved in activities at NPO was the kitchen at home－thinking about eco-friendly life style” “What we need to bring back is the mind that people used to have when they live with the nature” “We have to live with natural disaster”
The second fieldwork: Kikuchi
The second fieldwork was started on 21st September after one day review session at TIC. Before the second visit, the participants received brief lecture on “Jimotogaku” concept as there will be practical sessions on Jimotogaku at Kikuchi, the second fieldwork.
The participants took airplane from Haneda airport (Tokyo) to Kumamoto airport in Kyushu Island (eastern part of Japan). From the airport, they took bus to Kikuchi city where a local NPO “Kikuchi Suigen Mura” has its activities and where a community-based green tourism facility “Furusato Suigen Koryu-kan” is located. Kikuchi city, Kumamoto prefecture, is located at western foot of Aso mountain. Suigen literally means “water (river) source” in Japanese, and the area is surrounded by beautiful mountains with full of forest, and it is really a place where rivers originate.
(The details of background and activities of Kikuchi Suigen Mura was introduced in the previous newsletter Community Facilitation & Mediation, vol. 6, page ///////)
The first day in Kikuchi started with lectures presented by core members of Suigen community. They explained how the community members took initiatives to utilize a closed junior high school for community development activities. After four years of their efforts, “Kikuchi Homeland Suigen Koryu-kan” was established as a base facility for green tourism, and the community members formed a NPO (Non Profit Organization) named “Kirari Suigen-Mura” to promote and manage green tourism activities based on Suigen Koryu-kan. In the lectures, the community members expressed their deep concern on community development through green tourism, and the NPO members explained various activities that utilize rich local resources that have been existing for many years in the area.
After the lectures and brief sight observation, on the next day, the participants were asked to walk around Kikuchi area doing “Arumono-sagashi” (searching for and finding out what we have) as one of Jimotogaku practices. The team was divided into two groups, and each group walked around, visiting farm fields, local houses, forests, rivers, small trails, shrine, temple, etc. guided by local community members.
Then, after a half-day walking of Arumono-sagashi, each group started making “resource map” of the area based on what they found at the field.
After presentation of the results and discussion, a welcome / farewell party was held. The community members prepared local food prepared in local recipe using local materials, and all the participants enjoyed dinner. Two of them (from Dominican Republic) showed their original dance, and Kikuchi community members (women) joined with them.
In the reflection session, one of participants from Brazil expressed very impressive comment saying that “I realized that we should not search for new things, but we need to watch the existing things in different perspectives to find out our own resources.”
Soft Systems Methodology (2)
After finishing two field visits (Toyo-oka and Kikuchi), the second session on “Soft Systems Methodology” was held by Mr. N. Hazeyama. He introduced “Root Definition”, and explained how it is important to reach accommodation in search for root definition among various stakeholders. A root definition is an expression of the results of accommodating different worldviews of those who participate in development process. The participants are asked to find out a root definition on “what is to manage community development”. Honne (true sound of heart) discussion was recommended. Without knowing others’ Honne, it will be difficult to accommodate different world views, and find out Otoshi-dokoro.
The participants were divided into two groups, discussed among them, and reached the following root definitions.
1. Group name: Yoriyoi-Kurashi
Group members: Anete, Esin, John, Manuel, Phub, Zaha
“What is to manage community development?”
Root definition: “A system to do X by mean(s) of doing Y in order to achieve Z”
X: to struggle for changes in the community
Y: by means of understanding, motivating and organizing the community people, local government, NPOs and businesses
Z: for promotion of a better life in the community
2. Group name: Iriai group
Group members: Carlos, Fuga, Kedu, Laila, Rafa
“What is to manage community development”
Root definition: “A system to do X by mean(s) of doing Y in order to achieve Z”
X: Promoting actions which enable community individuals to acknowledge their own qualities, resources and potential in identifying and addressing local issues
Y: Cooperation of outsiders and locals through combination of specific knowledge and experience by means of rich picture, arumono-sagashi and community discussion in pursuit of accommodation
Z: In order to improve and maintain living conditions
After that, Mr. Hazeyama explained about CATWOE analysis which is a tool to reconfirm the accommodation through considering each element (customers, actors, transformation process, worldview, owners, and environmental constraints).
Lastly, based on the root definition, Mr. Hazeyama introduced “comparison table” that enable the participants to think about actual actions that can be concluded through comparison between subjective world of accommodated root definition and real world.
After preparation and presentation of comparison table, the participants were then asked to draw a “Rich Picture” on community development. It was an interesting exercise to do because we can see the difference between what he/she drew at the beginning stage of the training and at the last one. Obviously, most of the participants show significant change in his/her understanding on community development.
Action Plan preparation and presentation
At the final stage of the training in Japan, the course facilitator asked the participants to review and reflect what they found out throughout the course. In order to make action plan, it is necessary to be based on what they found or learned in the course, and furthermore, the learning should be based on the facts that they encountered. Then, based on what they found, the participants prepared their Action Plan consisting of the items of “Target”, “Actions necessary”, “Time”, “Place”, and “Involving persons”. Some of the target actions are shown below;
“to SHARE my learning & finding in Japan with my group and would like to CHANGE their way of thinking / perspective”
“To implement education or awareness raising on agriculture in community schools through people’s participation”
“Formation of village plan back stopped and improved using Jimotogaku and soft systems methodology”
“Soft Approach workshops to involve NGO, communities, local government, and tourism corporation, and field practices using JIMOTOGAKU and Arumono-Sagashi in the field of eco-tourism promotion”
“To fight poverty and social exclusion is not to transform people and communities into passive and permanent beneficiaries of assistance. Instead, it is a process of strengthening the capabilities of people and communities to satisfy need, resolve problems, and improve quality of life.”
After presentation of each action plan, course evaluation was held before closing ceremony. The participants gave comments and suggestions on the contents, methods, and management of the course. The followings are some of impressive comments made by the participants.
I could witness initiatives of local communities in Japan. As a result, I become aware of knowledge, resources, and values that our local communities have on their own. (Mr. Juan Carlos from Dominican Republic)
I thought Japan is a developed country in terms of technology. However, here, I found initiatives of local communities to utilize local resources. People has power to change. (Mr. Erasto Mfugale from Tanzania)
The methods of workshop was very nice. We were able to think, discuss, and find out by ourselves step by step through workshop and field visit. (Ms. Esin Ozdemir from Turkey)
In the first session, I was asked to think about “what is community”, and found out that I am engaged in community activities although I mainly work for environmental education. I need to know more about community programs in Kikuchi. (Ms. Fahmi Norlaila from Malaysia)
I found importance of looking into community, rather than focusing on individuals. The process of course management and facilitation is also interesting for me. (Ms. Anete Rodorigues Capelli from Brazil)