Life skills for building communities

By Nelson Stover


ICA India and US-based Emerging Ecology are collaborating on a training project focused on the latter’s mission of promoting “Eco-Futuric Communities”. Shankar Jadhav and Nelson Stover, the respective heads of the two organisations, plan to set up a Capacity Building Institute at ICA India’s training centre in Talegaon, Maharashtra.

The Capacity Building Institute curriculum will have three foundational components:  a) community transformation through effective catalytic action, b) facilitative leadership through Technology of Participation (ToP) methods and c) personal resourcefulness through vitalizing interior practices.  In addition, modules will be offered in specific application arenas such as:  1) hi-tech, environmentally friendly farming, 2) small business management, 3) healthy lifestyles and nutrition and 4) women and youth empowerment.  Once the basic curriculum is ready, other topics developed by ICAs around the world will be added to the offerings.

ICA India ( has a long track record in conducting village development projects. Its cluster village project in Mulshi taluka, Maharashtra, is based on ICA’s approach to comprehensive grassroots development. Its training centre in Talegaon provides a location for conducting training programs in an environment that is acceptable to urban dwellers and non-threatening to people from villages.  ICA India has staff experienced in the use of participatory methods and training others to do so. It has been receiving financial support through ICA Japan from bodies such as Japan International Cooperation Agency,  Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Japan Environment Corporation for several years. It plans to involve them in supporting the Capacity Building Institute as well. 

In the United States, Emerging Ecology (www.Emerging has been exploring fresh approaches to grassroots social change.  Their emphasis has focused on the context and outlook – the “worldview”  – which leads to effective action in the 21st Century.  Additional information about recent worldview research conducted by Emerging Ecology is available on its website’s home page.  The image of working to build “Eco-futuric Communities” provides fresh impetus to people who have become frustrated with previous images based on over-consumption or friendly co-existence.

To move forward with the launch of the Capacity Building Institute, ICA India and Emerging Ecology are now jointly reviewing, updating and expanding the curriculum from various sources including the ICA’s original Human Development Training Institutes.  During the latter half of this year, initial pilot events will be offered both in India and the United States.  Each of these events will involve a module of the overall project.  A longer form of the Capacity Building Institute is envisioned for January 2017 in India.

Anyone with experience in ICA methods or Emerging Ecology’s programs or who shares a passion for their work is welcome to partner in the development and implementation of this project.  To get involved, contact Shankar Jadhav at ICA India ( or Nelson Stover at Emerging Ecology (

Nelson Stover ( is president of Emerging Ecology

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