Posts Tagged ‘good water neighbors’

Positive Focus or Lessons Learned?

October 30, 2010 @ 12:08 PM
posted by Zarrin Caldwell

Friends of the Earth, Middle East – Adult group in West Bank (Hebron) discussing water issues with their neighboring Israeli community.

Here’s my first blog! My goal is to post every 2-3 weeks. Hope you’ll join in the dialogue …

I heard recently from a woman (Cynthia) who raised some questions about the goals of the Models of Unity site. Overall, the site is about what is working to bring people together across divides so it is primarily positive. Cynthia admitted that, for the purposes of “motivation and hope,” it was a great goal to “talk about what works” and she encouraged this effort. She added, however, that, if the “purpose was to understand how to improve what we do, using only what works is not as useful as using what works and what doesn’t together.” While the main objective of the site is to offer hopeful stories in a disillusioned world, I also want it to be a learning portal so it’s important to know about the challenges that various projects have faced. Thus, in the models featured, you will find “lessons learned.” Granted, I’m well aware that what works in one country may not in another, but it’s helpful to see what has been successful and what has been difficult. You’ll see these reflections, and a new “challenges” section, offered in the case study just posted on Good Water Neighbors.

If you have thoughts about the balance between reporting the positives and negatives, please share them! This discussion reminds me of the debate over “appreciate inquiry,” an organizational development model that primarily gets groups to focus on what works in an organization, but critics say this is wearing “rose colored glasses.” Then again, when it comes to conflict resolution, I think too much attention has gone to the problems vs. what actually works to bring communities together so this website is an attempt to build in some of that balance. As my friends all know, I am no “Pollyanna,” but, with negativity just seeping across the Internet, seems like there is a need for refocus.

What do you think? Click the “Comment” button at right to share your thoughts!


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