Portugese Power.

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Almost unnoticed (to me), CISV Portugal is looking back to a decade of incredible development.

Last week, Martha and I joined Anna to Lisbon, where she held the staff training for the upcoming IPP in Mozambique. We extended our stay to a week and enjoyed the hospitality of the nice, friendly, caring and partying people of CISV Portugal.

One night as we were having dinner, Joao (currently CISV Portugal's president) admitted, that recently they had become a little obsessed with continuously increasing the number of participants sent to international CISV programmes. This had gone so far that they regularly spent Friday afternoons nervously awaiting the IO update, to check for new available spots, which they'd immediatly apply for and usually manage to fill in no time.

After spending so much time with CISVs numbers in the past, I wondered how it could have sliped my eyes how succesful CISV Portugal had recently been. But when you check the Balcony Index, there's no doubt, CISV Portugal is reaching for the stars:


It gets even more impressive if you look at the number of international participants, for which my data reaches back to 1996:


From a low-point of 40 participants in 2000, they climbed up to 186 in 2008 (and more than 200 in 2009) - reversing a falling trend that possibly started before 1996. Incredibly, meanwhile they're hosting every programme each year, with the exception of Seminar Camp and IPP that are hosted alternately.

Here at FTB we've briefly discussed the fairytale of CISV Austria before, which had a similar period of growth from 1997 to 2003 and seems to be sustaining that position ever since. One of the reasons mentioned here, was that CISV Austria restructured and split 1 into 4 chapters. But CISV Portugal has done all this with more or less one single chapter.

So how did they pull it off? Joao agreed to an interview, that I will post here shortly, so  stay tuned.

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It would be interesting to look at these statistics for the sharp end of our organisation, be it NAs (with only one chapter), Chapters, or Sub-Chapters. My Theorem would be that they are all cyclical, probably similarily shaped, and primarily connected to how generations of people take over, lead and then leave a given level of the organisation.

With large Chapters/NAs this cannot be easily tracked on an aggregate level, as these things even out on a large scale. Take Norway as an example; you would have some chapters being almost out of business and some being really thriving at any given time, and today's heroes can be the ones that are almost gone tomorrow.

I wonder if there has been such research done on other organisations....

Lars, I agree that there is some level of fluctuation in many chapters. Also in Germany, there are chapters that run very well and smoothly, and a few years later are in big trouble. But in this case, I think it's more than a usual fluctuation: The development is spanning almost a decade and the they've increased the number of participants more than 400%! I'm optimistic, that the crictical mass generated will lead to some level of sustainability - even if the leaders of today are gone tomorrow.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick published on May 11, 2010 2:47 AM.

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