Community empowerment and development is a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems.
Today, community development is becoming more challenging and complex due to the rapid change in all aspects of the community: social, political, economic and cultural.
One of the ways to deal with such complexities is to combine old and new knowledge within the changing context to promote community development. This can be achieved by organizing a learning process where there is equal sharing opportunity for everyone in order to draw from the diverse capacity of the existing community. Thus one can be a provider and as well as a receiver of new knowledge. This will encourage the circulation of old and new knowledge along with the creation of innovative development. In this context, the major role of a facilitator is to motivate shared learning among participants. By asking a subtle question, a facilitator can solicit for an answer with more critical thinking and allow free flow of opinions to promote community empowerment towards sustainable development.
The production of this Handbook is grateful to Wattana Phonenuensoong and the team from RECOFTC (The Center for People and Forests) for helping to draw the lessons learned from activists as “facilitators” and the leading villagers as “trainees”. From experiences I know that transferring knowledge one has just acquired to another party is not an easy task.
The Indigenous Peoples’ Foundation for Education and Environment (IPF) together with International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), The Ethnic Community Development Forum (ECDF) and Promotion of Indigenous and Nature Together (POINT) have compiled and summarized some basic facilitation skills in this handbook to convince the leading community members to make use of different techniques to raise questions and encourage lively discussion.
However, this Handbook on Basic Facilitation Skills for community leaders should not be considered as a complete document. It is a material that should be continuously improved upon by users.
I would like to express my gratitude to CISU for providing financial support to publish this manual and all those who were involved in the production of this handbook.
Director, Indigenous Peoples’ Foundation for Education and Environment (IPF)
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