June 2011 Archives


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It's been a while since the last CISV Hack, but this one looks cool: Today I stumbled over minutes.io, which looks like the perfect tool to take minutes of a CISV meeting. It works online and offline, has a one-button option to send it out to everybody, is incredibly elegant and intuitive. Lemme know, if anybody's tried it out.

The nature of a chapter.

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On growth, Mosaic, CISV as a cult and the comfort zone.

Peter/GER, besides being "our guy at IO", sent out a Mosaic newsletter for CISV Germany, where he quotes a common problem of small chapters (roughly translated and shortened:)

"Our Chapter is only able to recruit new members if we can offer them something directly, i.e. the participation in a CISV programme. The number of delegations our chapter can send, however, is  directly determined by the number of programs, we host. So, to send more delegations our chapter should be hosting more, which again requites...

     a) Funding, b) volunteers (staff, organizing team, kitchen staff) and c)  a camp site

Since our hosting is  limited by these factors , our only prospect in terms of growth is, that people remain members of our chapter, even if they cannot participate "

As expected, Peter as a Mosaic-enthusiast, suggests that very programme as a low-cost, scalable and flexible alternative to our classic camp programmes. Even as an outspoken Mosaic-skeptic*, I think in terms of growth and sustainability (just think of travel costs and carbon footprint), he's perfectly right.

Nevertheless, even if the solution to the Catch-22 sounds obvious, I think really embracing Mosaic as a programme into a chapter will fundamentally change the nature of the way members of a chapters interact:

Old: Our CISV chapter is an organization that arranges the practicals for children to take part in an international camp, where they receive non-formal peace education through a programme developed by leaders, trained by us.

New: Our CISV chapter is a community of people that activley engage in various local and international programmes in co-operation with other organizations with the goal of educating active global citizens.

Personally, I'm all for the "new CISV", however, I think there are a few caveats: Volunteers would subscribe more to a "philosophy" than to practical jobs. Moreover, chapters with a strong local community aspect risk of  being regarded (even more) as a cult. Finally, people that meet to discuss sensitive topics may have to move out of their comfort zone - but maybe that's exactly what we want, right?

* without wanting to open a can of worms here, I just think even after rebranding Local Work into Mosaic, the programme still hasn't been able to shake of its teething trouble such as being hard to grasp, very vague in definition and hence unable to take off on a CISV-world-wide-scale. I tried to find an artcile, where I expllore the topic more, but apparently I haven't done so here on the Balcony website. Maybe some time soon...Mosaic-disciples beware!

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