Methods for Organizing:
Left on their own, low income communities will not usually organize themselves. Some people mistakenly think that community participation is automatic so long as you say there shall be community participation. No. There must be an intervention, a push on the community, and you, the trainer / mobilizer, are responsible for that intervention. That intervention is sometimes called social animation or stimulation; both imply the encouragement and initiating of action by the community.

Do not think, as other people mistakenly assume, that all you need to do is to show up in a community and make orders dictating how an organization should be set up. Permission to participate does not ensure community participation. Even if dictating how an organization should be organized may result in some structure being set up, it will not be sustainable; it will not be "owned" by the community; it will soon fall apart if left on its own.

How, then, do you go about doing that organizing and mobilizing? Many of the skills you need have already been covered in other modules in this series (especially the brainstorm and other appendices to the mobilizers' handbooks). How you go about it differs between the organizing for decision making and the organizing for action, as differentiated above.

The underlining principle of organizing, like the rest of your training, is that it should be participatory. As a management trainer, you are a facilitator, not a lecturer. The participant trainees should be an active part of the process of organizing. Your job is as a facilitator and enabler, not dictator, preacher or lecturer.

Let that great classical educator, Socrates, be your primary role model. He did not tell people how it is or how it was. He challenged them to think for themselves by asking them questions. They were not random and unrelated questions. They prodded and guided. They led his listeners to think, so much, in fact, that the leaders of the day felt threatened by him and his questions.

Do not go so far as Socrates, whose questions led to ideas that the leaders of the day feared he was preaching sedition, and they condemned him to death. Take from Socrates, however, the notion that you can go much farther in opening people's minds by asking them questions than by dictating to them.




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