A community or society can be said to be developing when the local population is able to define its own vision for the future and the course of action that will be undertaken to achieve set objectives.
This can only happen when personal and collective development become indissociable.
Individuals must be able to express their wishes, expectations and desires whilst sensing that they can unleash their talents. Personal development is comprised of one’s ability to structure himself internally… in order to better encounter the other. Bridges can only be built when all parties are well established and focused.
On a personal level, development implies one’s ability to think for himself, basing his judgment on his values and experiences. On the supporter’s side, empowerment can be defined as the coach’s (or supporter’s) ability to strengthen this thinking capacity into not only thinking from one’s own point of view, but from a collective perspective.
Each society has its own way of the defining citizenship. This concept of citizenship binds rights with duties, and constitutes a seal of acceptance to being governed by a governing body. From a collective standpoint, what is most important is the establishment of laws by the people or their representatives and everyone’s adherence to them. This will be more successful than an attempt to localize foreign laws and regulations.
Conditions for Development
Echos Communication focuses more on African and European contexts and their mutual influences in relation to development
For the last 50 years, development cooperation has essentially revolved around investments with a focus on the education of the masses (literacy, professional competence, skills apprenticeship, …) and the systemic organization of societies (democratic system, health-care system, educational system, …). These objectives deal with “the externalities “. These are important investments which provide a wealth of knowledge and must continue because these skills are vital.
Concerning the copy and paste of certain systems, some of those have become an inescapable norm, more out of obligation then by choice. These days, on a global scale, the democratic system is considered to be top notch and has been implemented in numerous countries without questioning, customization, and adjustments. The implication of ready-made models are therefore limitative, if they are not played with and altered. This means that the cultural specificity, the ancestral traditions and reflections that would have had positive alternative impacts, will be neglected as a result. The consequence is a system which conceals another; one is a front and the other one is used to operate.
These systems have shown their limits when it comes to initiating a development dynamic. What they lack? They don’t have enough consideration for the internalities, be it motivations, aspirations or individual talents as well as compatibility with cultural societies where these investments are made. The time of handing out food is over, even that of teaching how to cook. The question which must be asked beforehand is whether it is cooking that the population needs, and whether that fits with their course of action for the future, so that they may be assisted in an effective manner.
Experience has also shown that it is often the difficulties of dialogue and synergy of players that constitute a hurdle to the triggering of a development dynamic, even if important resources and a dynamic force is available. It is important to analyze and understand behaviors and attitude which are the basis for major successes or great resistance to the implementation of the desired changes.
The Transformation Logic
The transformation logic of societies where Echos Communication is active involves the individual, system and interaction between those who are major players.
Promoting the development of individuals, and leaders in particular, will help strengthen their abilities to influence the system they live in with their knowledge of social values, aspirations and cultural hurdles.
Inciting players to act within their framework will help shape the system and allows for the establishment of laws and references known by all that will influence the choices and actions of their members and anchor change. Until they are called into question…
Finally, stimulating discussions and synergies between local players to engage a development dynamic; first by working towards a change in perception, people should see the potential, strengths and talents of others instead of focusing on their shortcomings.
Echos Communication intends to be part of the dynamics at the heart of societies, through always first focusing on the human potential, tendency and ability in a collective sphere. Remaining loyal to the Ubuntu vision, with a view to recognize that which constitutes wealth or produces wealth in a given society.
Level of Implementation
This transformation logic may be applied at various levels of human organization, from the largest to the smallest: with regard to territories, institutions, associations, schools, classes and families. In all cases, a participation in the frameworks that govern life and work in community guarantees better affinity with aspirations.
Echos Communication’s Proposal
• Transmission of Certain Operating Rules with Regard to Humans and Appropriate Tools
If the interiority in development cooperation has been rarely addressed during the past decades, it is due to the fact that all players involved, in developing countries like developed countries, have constantly been ignoring analytical grids, methods and the tools used to conduct them. In some cases, these items where simply not available; psychology has experienced an impressive surge in the last 50 years. The consequence of this negligence is the inability to carry out a systemic policy that deals with the human element in activities. It is not that these analyses were never carried out, but there was no standard procedure.
Echos Communication has taken the Neurocognitive and Behavioral Approach as the methodological basis of its activities (see http://www.ime.fr/accueil/approche/ for further information). Since then, numerous other methods are also used with a view to render interventions most effective. Collective intelligence and its tools are also a source of inspiration.
• From Laws to the Establishment of Laws
This notions deals with the establishment of laws and regulations by local actors who will abide by them. How to establish common rules based on history for a better organized future instead of scheming, adapting and maneuvering?
The key lies in involving all players in society. Laws and penalties must be set collectively with regard to recognized values. They are however applied on an individual basis, through self-limitation. These regulations form the core of society, so members of the society should be the ones defining them.
This process can take place at all levels of human organization: in the classroom, students can come up with rules of common life, in organizations, employees should be able to have a say on operational rules and in territories, operating agreements will be determined by local elected officials, civil society and businessmen: all of this with respect to the hierarchical roles and functions established.
• Communication in All Forms
Communication is a strong tool of distribution and awareness which we make use of in our activities. The media, events, symposiums, publications, internet websites, training programs… are all avenues where we broadcast fruitful content, popularizing them to inspire thought, share, reflect or debate.
Echos Communication seeks to synthesize the symbolic/imaginary world with the rational world.
« Echo-reasoning », The Rational World. In this way of thought, every individual reasons the way we do, and rational thought is the alpha and omega of institutions. In this particular conception, the project must be framed in a specific plan such as a logical framework with targeted objectives and results. The “means-end” relation is the underlying logic. The “impact”, the “target” refer to a certain way of thinking of change like an ascertainable in advance. The context always constitutes an “obstacle” to the “preconceived model” and refers back to that which prevents the fulfilment of expectations, and thus disrupts the predictions
« Echo-reasoning » Symbolic/imaginary world. On the other hand, the symbolic world corresponds to the vision of functioning in synchrony with society. The context is then established and becomes a resource. The project (understood to be more like a model or “plan”) is not rigid but progressive. The “circumstance-opportunity” relation is the main logic.
In practice, plans and models are a must in the development cooperation industry. They have to be made skilfully however, not too rigid but rather but flexible with regard to what is happening in society in each single project.