Since moving back to Vancouver I’ve been interested in finding ways to enable the local NGO community so when HLI asked if this is something that might be possible I jumped on the opportunity. While the workshop will be applicable in a number of circumstances, I want it to relate to two specific challenges.
The first relates to what I think is a critical moment in BC, particularly for NGO’s.
With the coming Olympics and the passage of the recent provincial budget I suspect the number of negotiations between NGO’s and the provincial government will likely increase and/or taken on greater urgency. On the one hand this is an enormous opportunity for ENGOs to engage and partner with government and advance their cause – if the two parties can create a collaborative framework for working together.
Creating such a collaborative framework is often challenging. Further complicating the issue is that parties will need to be able to sustain this collaboration in specific areas while the NGO community (legitimately) continues to critique and condemn government activities in other areas. These cooperative/competitive relationships are always difficult to manage, but all the more so when two groups – government bureaucrats/politicians and scoail activists – come to the table with a complex (and sometimes personal) history.
The second challenge relates to the equally difficult issue of the negotiations between NGO’s or among the activists within a social movement. As anyone experienced in this type of work will tell you, these conversations can be equally, if not more draining. If we can begin to develop skills and foster a culture that improves our capacity to engage in these conversations and negotiations, the movement can only be strengthened.
My hope is that this workshop can enable members of the community to better manage these negotiations and their relationships both with government and one another. If this is of interest, check out the workshop webpage. Also, I’ve mapped out what some of the critical negotiations in social movements are in this earlier blog post.