After a few decades of working with big change issues, I realize that I am really fired up for three days at The Change Alliance's first Nairobi meeting. Part of my excitement comes from the cases that people are going to discuss, including:
1. Institutionalising multi-stakeholder engagement in Southern Africa Development Community (SADC): making regional integration work for the poor.
2. Promoting local innovation in sustainable agriculture and natural resources management in Tanzania.
3. Breaking tribal and social barriers, for a united development spectrum, through regional Leadership Retreats.
4. Western Kenya Rights support Initiative addressing rampant abuse of human rights.
5. Promoting community engagement in sustainable fisheries management around Lake Victoria.
6. Strengthening the evaluation of Community Conversations (CCS) on HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia.
7. Addressing issues of access to land for the poor in Kenya, with a local-to-global stakeholder perspective.
Part of my excitement comes from anticipation about meeting with others who are also actively working on these sorts of big change issues, and learning from them to deepen my own practice and understanding about how to realize the depth and scale of change we need to address critical challenges.
And part of my excitement comes from the potential of the meeting, to launch an on-going network in this region as part of The Change Alliance, to advance our change capacity. The meeting promises to identify some of the key challenges to advancing big systems change strategies, and set an agenda to begin addressing them.
That this meeting is happening, is testimony to the importance of persistence. I think it was at least half a dozen years ago that Jim Woodhill, Bettye Pruitt, Katrin Kaufer, Minu Hemmati, me and maybe two dozen others met in New York to take stock of current big change knowledge. That led to the birth of The Change Alliance a couple of years ago, loosing a few people but also picking up some more wonderful ones like Skip Bivens, Nina de Roo, Hettie Walters, Jan Ubels, Philip Thomas, Herman Brouwer and Ramon Daubon. And this meeting wouldn't have happened at all without the support of SNV and Julia Ekong. I'm looking forward to more joining to create The Change Alliance!
Photo credit main picture: Steve Waddell