In the first of this series exploring our values and what they mean to us and the work we do, we are looking at “Create Lasting, Positive Change”.
Our values handbook describes this particular value as:
Our models and approaches are proven to create lasting, positive change. We focus on building capacity, both internally and in the communities in which we work, in order to ensure our impact is sustained and grown over time. We do this by developing people, recognising heritage, embedding culture and building the soft infrastructure that captures and promotes a lasting legacy. Building reciprocal working relationships and enabling succession of roles are key strengths of our business.
Having the opportunity to create positive lasting change is one of the most rewarding aspects of our work. It is through experience, research, purposeful engagement, analysis and the rigour with which our models have been developed, that supports our strategic plans, giving communities and clients the optimal potential to have a positive change experience.
When we work with a community we ensure that we create two-way, reciprocal relationships that enable succession of our skills, knowledge and roles so that we can successfully handover the reigns after our inclusion.
Our Director of Strategy and Research Donna Shepherd has seen the power of community development and the far-reaching effects it can have on both immediate and wider communities across the world.
There is nothing more beautiful to me than seeing the joy, pride and courage that emerges in people when they discover that they have value and can make a difference. When this happens on an individual scale it has a generational impact on families.
When it happens on large scales enormous latent potential is released having long-term positive impacts to wellbeing in communities, villages and regions.
The key to this type of lasting change is a fundamental belief that with the right access to skills, knowledge and resources communities hold the key to create their own positive futures. It’s not for “us to do to communities” but for “communities to do themselves” with support in the form of listening, learning and connecting to resources.
It is our focus on an approach that seeks to do things ‘with’ communities, rather than ‘for’ communities that allows us to be a part of so many amazing engagement opportunities.
Our Graduate Consultant Zoya Yukhnevich sees this approach in action through every project she works on.
The Hackathon was a great opportunity to engage with a diverse group of young people in the area and provide them with an opportunity to really work through how we could reach a number of young people in the area to hear their thoughts on how to make their community a great place to live.
Rather than simply assuming what young people want, this initiative provided them with a way of developing their ideas, thinking outside the box, building their capacity in problem-solving, all the while having a bit of fun at the same time.
It’s this kind of initiative that will inspire creativity and develop young leaders in the community and it’s through these processes that truly lasting change is possible.
Creating lasting, positive change does not even necessarily have to be through highly organised events or processes. Sometimes this value can manifest itself in seemingly minor ways, as Zoya witnessed at a recent engagement.
I was reminded of this at a community morning tea at the Wandana apartment block. Two people who had never previously met despite both living there for a number of years, introduced themselves and became immediately excited by their shared love of chess (and promptly exchanging numbers and arranging tournament times).
These neighbourly conversations or the finding of that shared common ground is sometimes all it takes to ignite that spark.
The great thing about creating lasting, positive change is that anyone can do it. You don’t need to work in community development to have a positive impact on someone else’s life. You don’t have to take hours out of your day, you don’t need to plan anything, all you have to do is listen.
And we can all do this, it starts by coming alongside others and listening to their dreams.
Why don’t you try it today? If we all do this, it will change the world for the better
To read more about our values, download our values handbook below. Stay tuned for our blog posts over the next few weeks to find out more about the other values we have here at Creating Communities.