A New Approach to Empowering People


Seventy people, representing 30 groups, gathered in Dalgan last Saturday for an ‘Open Space’ discussion on possible services that could be offered by the Columbans in Dalgan.

It was my first time to see how the process works.

People from various backgrounds are invited to come together and discuss a wide topic –such as how Dalgan could help local and wider communities.

However there is no fixed agenda. The participants are asked to volunteer to lead a workshop on a topic of their choice.  When a number have done this, the remainder are asked to look at the list and join the workshop in which they are most interested.

There are four principles:  

Whoever comes are the right people;

Whatever happens is the only thing that could happen;

When it starts is the right time;

When it’s over, it‘s over.

There is one bye-law, the ‘law of two feet’ – you are free to move from one group to another at any time and be a ‘honey bee’ pollinating other groups.   

At the end there is a plenary session in which everyone has the chance of a final word and all the proposals are collected.

The proposals will be gathered in a report and sent to all the convenors of workshops for correction.

The conclusions will be the basis for an action plan that should emerge. 

Following the excitement of last Saturday’s gathering, we look forward to the new direction they will give to Dalgan.

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