Thursday, December 29, 2011

Institution fortification and collective dreams

Just a quick blog on what I'm up to in the last days of the year... we have been involved in a long-term process within the organization of reformulating the work of the Ixmukané. This has been sometimes a frustrating and at other times an exciting process. We have been working with an outside consultant, and the participants are the staff, the former executive board and the current executive board members. We have been doing some little games (ice-breakers or group-process, what are called here dinámicas), but also working on reviewing what the organization has done in the past, and what it should be doing in the future. One of the critiques of the organization (internally generated critiques) is that it works from project to project, or mini-project to mini-project, and then the project ends, and there is not always follow-through.  Also there is a huge amount of paperwork involved with each project since each is supported by a foundation or outside funder, and for each activity there seems to be a mountain of forms that have to be filled out to account for the money, and then afterwards written reports at the end of the project.

Today we are in the last part: developing broad programs and then figuring out projects that fall under those umbrellas, and the actions and indicators and people responsible.  This part is actually kind of fun, as we are brainstorming activities. We are just dealing with the first program, about health, and are now talking about promoting the growth of medicinal herbs in botanical gardens, documenting traditional knowledge, and also possibly commercializing. We are at the point of silliness right now, dreaming about opening spas and selling combinations of herbs. But also school gardens, family gardens.. to promote nutrition and also local economies.

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