March / April, 2016 Edition
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'Community & Economic Development Matters' Newsletter


Welcome to the March / April edition of Community and Economic Development Matters. What a year that 2016 is turning out to be, with so many innovative initiatives happening across the globe. We believe passionately that it is so important to take time out to learn from each other’s creativity and insights. The simple intention of this Newsletter is to contribute some awareness of, and introduction to some amazing community builders and their diversity of community driven initiatives. Thank you to so many people who take time to share with us their innovation and/or community building discoveries, so others may leapfrog on that information. Besides the Newsletter, can we suggest you also regularly check out the BOI Facebook page – a regular smorgasbord of community stories and imagination.
This month we want to salute Michael O’Meara (known simply as Mo), the founder of MoHow, as our recipient of the Global Community Builder Giraffe Award.  MOHOW, based in Melbourne Australia, has a simple mission – helping communities and all levels of government to more effectively engage with young women and men, and include them in big picture planning. It was 25 years ago, that Michael as a young social worker experienced the tragedy of a resident of a youth hostel dying in a tragic hit and run car accident. Her younger brother simply said “… Mo, we don’t want to be known for our issues – we want a job just like you” – two years later, the Burnt Toast Café was born as  one of the first youth enterprises that gave young people a place to dream and most importantly a place to be appreciated by their community. Subsequently, Mo and MoHow has  been instrumental in a number of national Australian initiatives including the National Youth Roundtable, 2020 Youth Summit and the Australian Youth Forum, as well as helping facilitate national youth strategies in a diversity of countries including Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, Kuwait and UAE. However, his best moments are working alongside young people at the community level. One of the most knowledgeable and generous youth developers on the planet, Mo can be contacted at
Currently, a major initiative of BOI is the creation of the ABCD Community Builders Learning Sites initiative in partnership with Nurture Development (UK and Ireland) and the Municipal Association of Victoria. This is a wonderful opportunity for local government authorities and NGOs who keen to support asset focussed, community driven initiatives to join a national network of change makers. Click here to check out the information on this project, including the benefits of participation.
Finally, have you ever contemplated visiting and discovering India?  Well, an amazingly cheap opportunity exists in January, 2017 with the staging of the Second ABCD Festival in Goa, India. Click here to view the Festival website. This would have to be one of the cheapest Conferences on offer, with an early bird  registration fee for 5 days at $345, wonderful accommodation at  approximately AUD$30- $90 a night and cheap airfares from different parts of the world (e.g. return flights from Australia for approximately less than AUD$800) . Goa is stunningly beautiful and one of the great heritage locations of the globe – Google and see for yourself. It is also definitely a ‘soft cultural landing’ for India! The BOI is joining together with a number of ABCD focussed organisations to make it happen.
Enjoy the read!

Go well,
Peter Kenyon  (Director)                    
Maria D'Souza (Executive Officer)


Michael O'Meara, recent Global Community Builder Giraffe Award recipient.


“The wisest mind has something yet to learn.”
(George Santayana)

Masterclass: The Art of Facilitating Asset Based Community Driven (ABCD) Initiatives: May, 2016 – Melbourne

This will be a unique opportunity on 18 May, 2016 to learn from three of the best global exponents on the theory of ABCD philosophy and practice, namely Jim Diers, Cormac Russell and Peter Kenyon. Click here for more information and to register.  

The Future of Communities: People to the People Conference: September, 2016 – Melbourne
This event will be held 14-15 September, 2016 in Melbourne. Mark the dates of this popular annual Conference, jointly organised by the Municipal Association of Victoria and the Bank of I.D.E.A.S. For more details contact Peter Kenyon or John Hennessy

Visit by Jim Diers and Cormac Russell: May, 2016 – Australia

It is a privilege once again for the BOI to sponsor the visit to Australia of these two highly regarded community builders. Anyone who has had the opportunity of listening to either Jim or Cormac, will attest to their unique ability to excite and demystify the philosophy and practice of community development. They are wonderful storytellers. Both have one day to spare in their busy itinerary in late May, 2016. If you would like to discuss the possibility of Jim or Cormac spending that day in your community presenting and/or workshopping, please contact Peter Kenyon at or phone 0417183719.  

Global Health & Innovation Conference: April, 2016 – Yale, USA

The Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale planned for April 16-17, 2016, is the world's leading and largest global health conference as well as the largest social entrepreneurship conference. An estimated 2,200 professionals and students from all 50 states and more than 55 countries are expected. This thought-leading conference convenes leaders, changemakers, professionals and students from all sectors of global health, international development, and social entrepreneurship.
Click here to register. 

Collaboration for Impact Conference: May, 2016 – Melbourne

This is a unique opportunity, 4-5 May, 2016 to develop your skills in an active learning space and to connect with a network of peers advancing new approaches to collaboration in Australia. Click here for more information. 

Future of Local Government Conference: May, 2016 – Melbourne

In 2016, local government finds itself in stormy waters. It must innovate and deliver more with less amidst a backdrop of rate capping and grant cuts. Across Australia, the local government sector faces amalgamations, ongoing image problems and an unstable Federation. Our communities want to be more involved in decision making. The 2016 Future of Local Government National Summit will explore possible solutions such as:

  • rewiring public services via principles of devolution, subsidiarity and localism

  • identifying things done best at national, state, regional and local levels

  • setting flexible, place-based funding arrangements that deliver on local priorities

  • developing an LG transformation strategy to slash costs, build non-rate revenue and renegotiate its relationship with the community.

Cormac Russell from Nurture Development will be a keynote speaker. The event is scheduled for 17-18 May, 2016. The Summit features an array of Australian and international speakers providing thoughtful leadership for those who want to design a better future for local government. Click here for more information and to register.

The Literary Advocate and Agitator: Writing and Creative Arts for Social Justice and Social Change: June, 2016, Castlemaine

27-28 June, 2016. The facilitators are Dr Jennifer Lehmann and Russell Deal OAM, both social work educators and practitioners with over 80 years’ experience between them. As passionate advocates for their field, Jennifer and Russell believe it is imperative that all human service practitioners continue to creatively confront issues of injustice, in whatever roles they are employed. This workshop is practical, skills-based and inspirational. Explore a host of expressive possibilities for colourful and considered advocacy: create a cartoon, draft a letter to a newspaper, design a poster, write a memoir or short story, build a creative writing course for clients, construct a conversation-building card set, send a ‘message  in a bottle’ to a politician, and more. Click here for more information.

Vision: June, 2016 – London, UK

Vision is the new event looking at the future of the built environment. Vision takes place on 7-8 June 2016 at Olympia, London. Vision is the annual event for architects, specifiers, and suppliers across these connected disciplines. Held annually, Vision is the place where these communities come together to discuss, debate and showcase the latest innovations and developments in architecture, design and the built environment.
Click here to visit the website. 

Developing Northern Australia Conference: June, 2016 – Darwin

This event is being held in Darwin from 20-22 June, 2016. The Developing Northern Australia Conference  has the theme – “Above the Line – unleashing the North’s potential”  continues the dialogue started in 2015, following the release of the Australian Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. Underpinned by the Government’s Top Actions Summary that was  identified in the White Paper,  the Conference will explore how industry, business, Government and agribusiness are embracing the opportunities for sustainable growth into the next decade. Click here for more information.

Global Social Economy Forum: September, 2016 – Canada

The 2016 Global Social Economy Forum is being held in Montreal from 7-9 September, 2016 under the theme – “Allies for the Intelligent and Sustainable Development of Cities.”  The goal of GSEF2016 is to "facilitate collaboration among public administrators and SSE actors by presenting best practices, whether they be processes, tools, or innovative results emerging from co-constructed public policies. These best practices will be presented mainly by SSE and local government actors, though innovative citizen initiatives and private sector projects developed with the SSE will also be brought to the fore.” Event organisers have issued a call for proposals to showcase existing projects that represent the best practices of collaboration between public authorities and social economy organizations. Click here for more details.

The 2016 World Indigenous Women's Conference: September, 2016 – South Australia

12-14 September, 2016. The 2016 Global Indigenous Women's Conference is scheduled on September 12-14, 2016 at Stamford Grand Hotel Glenelg Adelaide South Australia. The conference is hosted by The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance and Indigenous Conference Services (Australia) with great line up of speakers from around Australia and internationally. The aim is to provide a platform for Indigenous Women to celebrate their achievements in life within their home, family, community and workplace. Click here for more information.

The 2016 Global Indigenous Men's Conference: September, 2016 – South Australia

12-14 September, 2016. The aim of this Conference is to provide a platform for Indigenous Men to celebrate their achievements in life within their home, family, community and workplace. The event will focus on empowerment, strong leadership and self-determination. Throughout the two and a half day event, we will be facilitating small group discussions with informative Guest Speakers. The event emphasizes the positives of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander resilience and determination to strive for a better tomorrow without the constraints of the negative stereotyping which is more prevalent due to social media and bad media coverage. Click here for more information.

The 3rd Indigenous Global SAY NO to Family and Domestic Violence Conference: September, 2016 – South Australia

14-16 September, 2016. The conference primary aims and goal is to work towards stopping all forms of family and domestic violence, not only in Indigenous communities but in the general community. The conference is only one tool in our arsenal to overcome the scourge of family and domestic violence. Click here for more information.

SEGRA Conference: October, 2016 – Western Australia

This event will be held from 26-28 October, 2016 in Albany, Western Australia. SEGRA is the premier Regional Development Conference in Australia and will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2016.  There will be opportunities for speakers, both local and WA, as well as national and international to participate in the program.  You can keep up to date on the SEGRA website, Facebook or Linkedin Pages. Click here to view the flyer. 

Second International ABCD Festival: 15-20 January, 2017 – Goa, India

Have you ever aspired to visit and discover India? Well this is the ultimate low cost opportunity, with the bonus of gathering with others passionate about Asset Based Community Development. The Bank of I.D.E.A.S. with a range of other international community development groups are planning this learning  and exchange experience in the beautiful Indian state of Goa – a place where East and West have been meeting for over 500 years. Check out the venue, the International Centre Goa.  This will be an amazing event, and very low cost - a Conference fee with all meals less than AUD$350, accommodation below AUD$40 a night and a time of the year with low cost fares and charter flights from many parts of the world. More details will be sent to all subscribers within the month. But plan now to be there and think how you may want to formally contribute through a presentation/workshop/Open Space hosting/cultural performance.  Click here to view Festival website and to register.
Photo courtesy

“If I was asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions,
I should point to India.”

(Max Mueller) 

Uniting Journeys is going to Goa too!!Invitation to join them!

If you don’t have enough time to organise your own visit to Goa, Uniting Journeys can help. You can:

  • have input into the itinerary
  • build a community of fellow travellers before and after visiting Goa
  • explore even more communities applying ABCD principles after the conference and
  • enjoy some very “local” rest and recreation too.

Pre-planned options are available, as are tailor made options and pricing. For more information contact Jim Wakelam on 0403 264 124 or
(Uniting Journeys is a community based social enterprise initiative of the Uniting Church VICTAS.)

 Rural & Small Town  Development 

“Nowadays towns are really not so different from businesses, they need to keep recreating themselves.  Not so many years ago country towns were subject to general trends.  They would all do well or all do badly.  The picture is now very uneven.  The successful towns are likely to be driven by people who are passionate and creative, who see an opportunity and go for it.  You need communities with a bit of get up and go spirit. 
Some have it, some don't.”
(Roy Powell)

The Karijini Experience

This not-for-profit event was established in 2013, with the aim of creating an iconic event that significantly raises the profile of the Inland Pilbara and the very special environmental and cultural assets that this region has to offer. Now in its fourth year, the Karijini Experience is being held from the 15th to the 22nd of April and will see 47 events and activities (33 of which are free, 39 of which are family friendly) delivered within the heart of the beautiful Karijini National Park. A fantastic example of revitalising a remote region by building upon its assets. Click here to visit the website.

Small Towns in Australia Continue to Lose Their Banks

After operating for a 102 years, the Westpac bank in the Outback town of Meekatharra will close. It is part of the move by Westpac to close 1400 branches. Click here to read the story of the impact.

Town of Dowerin Being Innovative Yet Again

The West Australian Wheatbelt town of Dowerin has a long history of social and economic innovation. The Dowerin Field Day is an iconic agricultural event. Now the town is developing a heritage railway project. Click here to learn more.
(Photo courtesy ABC News and Bonnie Christian)

What it takes to run a Small Business in Rural America

Some great advice in this article that does not just apply to the American context, but useful for rural small business operators everywhere. Click here to read.

 Community Building 

“Great cities don’t just happen. They are the product of imagination, leadership, hard work and constant adjustment.” 

(Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore)

"A skill that is vital to life every day: the ability to be a competent conversationalist. For conversing is the foundation on which relationships are built and sustained, stories are told, passions and ideas are shared, trust is established and sense of adventure emerges. It is the generator of new ways of being and new ways of doing, the dynamic of the future of any system,
small or large." 
Alan Stewart)

6 Ways Public Consultation Promotes Public Trust

With a noticeable decline in public trust in governments and decision making processes, coupled with increased power and influence from the corporate sector, interest groups and lobby groups, this article shares practical ways to better engage the average citizen and build trust. Click here to access.

‘And Tell Mum…’

This is a great community building initiative out of the Shire of Kulin.  In association with Scooplight Theatre, the residents of Kulin have brought to life the stories and experiences of the men and women from Kulin past who find themselves coming to terms with the outbreak of World War One. This original theatre production retells and interprets the impact this war would have on their lives forever - both personally and also for their newly established farming community. Click here to find out more about this great event.

Collective Impact

Certainly the concept and processes of Collective Impact are grabbing the attention of many community builders as an effective approach to collaboration. For a summary of the concept Click here to access the BOI Information Sheet. Click here to read the original article by John Kania and Mark Kramer that started the movement.


Conversare is about good talk and good fun. It is a social event in a public place in which people talk well to each other. There is a host who co-creates with those present an ambiance in which everyone feels welcome, included and ready to participate in face to face conversation. The concept is the creation of Alan Stewart, a community artist who first implemented this social gathering in Hong Kong and now regularly hosts the Conversare in the Adelaide Central Market after trading hours on weekday nights. Click here to discover more and read about Conversare and Alan Stewart.

Seven Essential Features for Your Online Public Engagement Toolkit

This article describes some of the finer points to consider and tools to use when undertaking an online public engagement strategy.  Click here to read.
(Photo courtesy Place Speak Blog).

 Localism & Social  Connection 

“Every community has the need, a desire for a ‘third place’, distinct from home and work. Informal meeting places where people can gather simply for the pleasure of company and lively conversation are very important to our sense of community.”   
(Claudia Becker)

Community Hubs

The National Network of Community Hubs work with migrant/refugee women and pre-school children, offering services such as skills training, English classes, sewing and breakfast clubs as well as volunteering opportunities and community events. Generally integrated into an existing institution, such as a primary school or resource centre, Community Hubs help families create friendships and support networks, and give a sense of belonging. Mothers, fathers and carers can also undertake volunteer work, education and training that can lead to employment. Click here to learn more.

Creating Community through Cohousing

Chuck Durrett coined the term cohousing.  He first came across the concept in Denmark – its modern birthplace and kick started the first cohousing projects in the US. Essentially, cohousing is a cluster of homes around a shared space.  Click here to hear an interview from the ABC with Chuck Durrett on cohousing in the Australian context.

Community Solutions: Revitalising Neighborhoods Through Skilled Volunteering

A fantastic story out of the US, that discusses revitalising resources in an impoverished community through harnessing the knowledge and skills of local residents who would benefit from the improvements. Click here to read more.

10 Ways to Beat Loneliness

Click here to read a great article about the myriad of different ways people are beating loneliness and connecting with their community.

This Primary School Says Welcome in 27 Different Languages

Click here to read the story of a Melbourne school that embraces the diversity of its students.
(Photo courtesy ABC News)

 Local Economic  Development 

“When individuals and communities do not govern themselves, they risk being ruled by external forces that care less about the wellbeing of the village.”  
 (T.F. Hodge)

Kindness Performance Indicators the Only KPI’s that Matter - Ten steps to change

This is a great article about introducing the concept of kindness into the workplace and the benefits it can have in terms of creating a culture of corporate responsibility and sound ethical conduct for any brand. Click here to read.

City of Onkaparinga Pop Up Shop

Congratulations to the Economic Development Team at the City of Onkaparinga for their innovative approach to the redevelopment of the commercial area Bridge Rd, Christies Beach. As part of the consultation, they created a Pop In Pop Up Shop within a vacant retail shop. It involved a 12 metre white board, a range of creative conversations and business networking opportunities. Within a 12 month period it achieved 80 events, 300 recorded ideas, 34,000 ticks of endorsement and 6500 people through the door.  For more details contact its creator – Philip Tanner (

Is employee ownership the future for social care?

This article shares the story of Sunderland Home Care Associates (SHCA), the ground-breaking employee owned social care business whose model may serve as a template for the future of social care. Essentially, SHCA uses a cooperative model to run several innovative microbusinesses that are employee owned and operated.  By centralising core business functions such as payroll and business development, they are able to keep costs down.  The business model “is a great example of how freeing people from top down control can produce much better services and better value for money for tax payers”. Click here to read this impressive story. Thanks to Alan Greig for sharing.
Independent Cooperatives: the most sustainable form of social enterprise in Australia
This brilliant summary by Alan Greig gives some great examples of leading cooperatives in food, recycling, arts, energy and more from around Australia. Click here to download. Thanks to Alan Greig for compiling and sharing.

The Centre for Local Economic Strategies

The Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) is the UK’s leading independent charitable research and member organisation, with a focus on economic development, regeneration and place-making.   They think and do – promoting action and implementing new progressive economic activities which create positive environmental, health and social outcomes. In all their work the relationship between place, economy and people is central. Click here to learn more. (Thanks to Gordon Morris for sharing)

Parklet in Beach, Rd, South Australia

Use of Parklets is grabbing the imagination of many communities across Australia as a means of revitalising the people attraction of local streets. A very good example of this has been in Beach Rd, Christies Beach where the local Onkaparinga Council simply used a cut down shipping container and recycled timber for a mere $8500. For more information contact Phil Tanner (

Great Resource: “Bearing Fruit, MICROFINANCE Empowering women, families and communities”

In 2013, social change facilitator Viti Kay Simmons' first Book, A tree needs water to bear fruit: Enterprising women creating reservoirs for poverty alleviation tapped into the commonalities of women in small business globally. Viti contends that hand-outs do not help develop communities; a hand-up is what's needed to achieve self-sustainability.
Bearing Fruit picks up the conversation. While many books theorise about philanthropy, Bearing Fruit presents theory in practice through the activities of a small charity working in Nepal, HwH,  and demonstrating what can happen when self-sustainability is done right. At another level, this book is a valuable resource for community development workers providing insightful lessons into community engagement, microfinance and social investment. It is also a celebration of people; how ten years on, Nepali communities, led by their own entrepreneurial women, have changed. Click here to purchase.

 Youth Empowerment & Participation  

“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” 
(Kurt Vonnegut)

“We as young people always yearn for something that we never really get - a feeling of real control over our situation,
and of our life.”     

(Mathogonolo Mogapi)

The Make Place

This is a very innovative co- working and creativity initiative by a group of passionate young people in Mandurah, Western Australia, led by Rhys Williams, the Young Person of the Year for Western Australia. It demonstrates what is possible within a regional centre in response to the employment and enterprise needs and capacities of young women and men.  Click here to learn more. 

Cyber Smarts – Using Social Media Wisely

This is a useful resource from our friends at Resilient Youth Australia who have been running the Cyber Doctors initiative around Australia with great success. Essentially, this involves groups of students meeting with an interested adult and co-ordinating internet safety, cyber bullying and e-learning within their school. Click here to access advice on how to start a discussion with young people around how to use social media wisely.

National Youth Week, 2016

This week is National Youth Week in Australia. Each state has a myriad of activities that promote the many positive aspects of one of our greatest assets – our young people. Check out Google to see what is happening near you, or to find out how National Youth Week is being celebrated across Australia.

 Food / Community  Agriculture 

“It would be a sad waste of opportunity not to eat well.”  
(Anna Thomas)

“Whoever loves and understands a garden will find contentment within.” 
(Chinese Proverb)

Back to the basics: Children need to learn about food

Click here to read about the initiative Six to Sixteen created by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). The initiative aims to educate school children about food, especially local food, with the ultimate goal of enabling them to prepare at least six meals by the time they leave school. The OFA developed the project after finding children did not understand local food and the basics of food preparation and cooking. Thanks to Local Food News for sharing this story.

Great Resource: Video Series – “Towards a Successful Future for Farm Families”

This video series by Rob Napier (Napier Agrifutures, Orange, New South Wales, Australia) explores the role and feasibility of the family farm as agriculture has become increasingly globalised and industrialised.  According to Napier, there is considerable evidence that progressive family farm businesses are able to out-perform non-family corporate farm organisations. Subsequently, we are seeing an emergence of dynamic and profitable family farm businesses responding successfully to the challenges of change. Click here to access this resource.

Eighteen Food-Focused Books You Must Read This Spring

Food Tank has selected 18 books that will inspire and inform readers on topics ranging from food justice to urban composting to local food systems. Some fantastic resources in this list. Click here to access.

(Photo courtesy istock and Foodtank)

The Guerrilla Grafting Movement – Secretly Grafting Fruit-Bearing Branches onto Ornamental City Trees

“There is a group of fruit lovers in San Francisco that practice something known as “guerrilla grafting” they graft fruit bearing branches onto fruitless, ornamental trees across the Bay Area city. Having access to free fruit sounds like a wonderful idea, considering the number of homeless people who can rarely afford a decent meal, but guerrilla grafting is actually illegal”. We think it’s a fantastic form of rebellion! Click here to read more.

Growing Food in Prisons

This is fantastic article about the rise of vegetable gardens in prisons in the USA.  Prison gardens offer a low-cost, healthy alternative to traditional prison cuisine, help inmates develop a new relationship with the earth, develop new skills and allow them to grow alongside their fruits and vegetables as they engage in a therapeutic activity.  Not to mention the environmental benefits. Click here to read.

(Photo courtesy Shutterstock and Yes! Magazine)

Edible Edinburgh

This campaign seeks to turn some 234 hectares of vacant or derelict land in Edinburgh city into allotments that will allow residents to grow food, moving beyond food banks and creating community growing hubs and food security. Click here to read more.

(Photo courtesy The Herald Scotland and Brian Donnelly)

 Leadership & Personal  Development 

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we live with fear, we pull back from life. When we live with love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion,
excitement and acceptance.”
(John Lennon)

Volunteering Resource

For anyone seeking a great resource on Volunteer development, check out this reading by Ivan Scheier. Thanks to Angela Simpson for sharing.

Mark Twain’s Top Tips for Living a Kick Ass Life

Some awesome advice from one of our favourites here at BOI. Click here to read.

(Photo courtesy

Sustainable Development 

Free Transit Attracts Riders, Helps Communities in More Ways Than One

Click here to read about the positive impact that free public transport is having on cities who are willing to give this initiative a go. There are some impressive outcomes.

The World’s New Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals build upon the Millennium Development Goals which expired in 2015. Click here to learn more about the new set of guidelines for a more positive global future. Click here to see an infographic about how these goals will help reduce poverty and improve well-being for those most vulnerable without destroying the world.

 Social Development  

“I am the result of a loving upbringing in a peaceful country, with wonderful parents and siblings, a very long-term relationship, stability, support – but a feeling that life isn't always just and that there is injustice for people and we should
do something about it.”   

(Justice Michael Kirby)


Commonground is a not-for-profit social enterprise that has been supporting social justice, environmental, disadvantaged and community groups since 1984. Through providing a venue and the resources for social change, Commonground works with marginalised groups to establish an international community dedicated to assisting people make positive and lasting social change. Click here to find out more.

Pope Francis’s Best Quotes

13 March 2016 marked three years since Buenos Aires archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis. He has spent a good deal of his papacy trying to move the church away from the language of culture wars and toward practices that reach out to society's poor and marginalised.

In honour of his three-year anniversary, Huffington Post Religion put together a list of Francis' best quotes. These sayings encapsulate some of the issues the Pope has made a priority during his tenure. Click here to read.

How Women-Led Movements Are Redefining Power, From California to Nepal

In the face of corporate domination, economic injustice, and climate change, movements led by women offer a revolutionary path. Click here to read the inspirational stories of such women from around the globe.

 Inspirational People &  Stories 

“Great stories happen to those
who can tell them.”

(Ira Glass)

“Those who tell the stories rule the world.”
 (Native American Proverb)

2016 is the year of Story Activism

Click here to view a TED Talk by story activist Mary Alice Arthur who talks about how in these most challenging times, the most important thing we can do right now is to become story literate and take back the power of our own stories. So what is a story activist?  According to Mary Alice Arthur “a Story Activist is, of course, interested in stories – in how they work, how they influence life, how they are created and how they change.  But more than that, a Story Activist is someone engaged in the art and practice of using story for positive systemic shift.  Where can story help us to move first to common ground, and from there, to higher ground?”

Stories from the Road: Ten stories for workers in international development

This fantastic little booklet of stories from Jack Noble was written as a practical resource for development workers and addresses some of the common challenges, dilemmas and conundrums that they face in working with communities. As well as the stories themselves, Noble includes his personal insightful reflections. Click here to purchase.

Why Storytelling Will Be the Biggest Business Skill of the Next 5 Years

"No one cares about your marketing goals, but everyone likes a good story." This article is a bit about business and obviously the power of stories, but perhaps the strongest message is that in a competitive world, the best workers and leaders will need to develop their storytelling skills. Click here to read.

The Power of Words

Jurek Leon shares a wonderful story of the power of words emanating from Simon Reynolds, the creator of Australia’s infamous Grim Reaper AIDS ads.
“An advertising lady in New York passed a beggar every day on her way to work. This man had a sign saying 'I am blind'. She bent down and added 3 words to the sign. The beggar was inundated with donations. The following day the beggar sensed the advertising lady dropping money into his hat. He said "It was you, wasn't it. What did you do to my sign that caused this to happen?" She explained that she added 3 words so that the sign said, "It is spring and I am blind."
That's the power of words. For more of Jurek’s gems, become a regular subscriber to his wonderful and free E- Newsletter Terrific Tips


The Chinese philosopher Confucius used to say ... ‘A busy road does not grow grass and a busy head does not grow hair’   …Confucius himself was a bald!

1. "On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry.  I don't like spicy food." 
2. "They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach.  It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax." 
3. "We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish." 
4. "We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels.  We assumed it would be included in the price." 
5. "The beach was too sandy.  We had to clean everything when we returned to our room." 
6. "We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow." 
7. "It's lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons.  I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time -- this should be banned." 
8. "No-one told us there would be fish in the water.  The children were scared." 
9. "Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers." 
10. "I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts." 
11. "The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort.  Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun." 
12. "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England.  It took the Americans only three hours to get home.  This seems unfair." 
13. "I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends' three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller." 
14. "The brochure stated: 'No hairdressers at the resort.'  We're trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service." 
15. "When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there.  The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish.  No one told us that there would be so many foreigners." 
16. "We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning." 
17. "It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel." 
18. "I was bitten by a mosquito.  The brochure did not mention mosquitoes." 
19. "My fiancée and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed.  We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant.  This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked." 
(Thanks to Andy Gordon for sharing).
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