ICA Asia Pacific Regional Meeting

By Mark Pixley

The ICA Asia Pacific Regional Meeting, including pre/post conference workshops, was held near Pune, India, from 29th November to 4th December. It involved 18 people from six national ICAs and ICAI associates.

The aim of the event was to report on current projects, challenges and future prospects; discuss ICA methods and philosophy; and introduce projects, activities and funding resources. It was held at the ICA India Environmental Education Centre, a well-equipped space with residential rooms and meeting spaces, in Talegaon, an expanding town off the Mumbai – Pune Road.

The meeting began with a welcoming dinner and dance presentations by the children of ICA India staff. This was followed by three days of presentations. They included a demonstration of street theatre by villagers from ICA’s project in Bihar. The program, used to help communicate ideas within the community, is organized by Holistic Child Development India and supported by ICA Japan.

ICA Nepal reported on the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction work it has been involved in since the earthquakes in April 2015 and its Leadership Development Program with health organizations. Loren Weybright of New York, who has been working with a local school,  reported on how it has been coping with the tremors.

ICA India introduced its Human Development Training Institute concept and a proposal to share approaches to community development. ICA Taiwan reviewed the status of the ToP (Technology of Participation) policy and the link with local implementation. ICA Sri Lanka discussed its educational and reconciliation work.

I led an introductory workshop on a process for facilitating disaster recovery and got participants to discuss how their organisations would respond to disaster situations.

The program included a site visit to the Khamboli Community Project west of Pune. We saw an  irrigation project, a dairy and a women’s cooperative, and got a sense of the excitement and determination among villagers. The irrigation has helped them do year round farming, which has also created opportunities for raising animals. The farmers are now working together and some have been trying new approaches. Several people mentioned with pride how they now “export out” and need very little from other places.

We also spent a day drawing up plans to enhance cooperation and cross fertilization of approaches among the ICAs in the region.

Mark Pixley is general manager of Leadership Inc, an ICAI associate based in Shenzhen, China. He is also a board member of the Global Facilitators Serving Communities, which provides tools for communities to recover after major disasters.

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