March 8, 2009
I've just spend the last several days with with board members and friends of The Berkana Institute. It is an amazing group of people dedicated to social change and pioneering work. Many of us have been together in projects and deep learning together years. For me, this began in 1993. We really are family.
One of the initiatives that I became more familiar with this week is about Regional Learning Communities. These are groups engaged in local work (like solar cooking, which I learned about this week from Manish Jain) and trans-local learning (what happens when individual groups connect with other groups in their region or other places in the world).
From the Berkana website: "Each participant contributes to creating greater resilience in his or her own community through local action—from growing food to engaging youth to creating useful things out of waste. These pioneers are constantly experimenting with new approaches, ideas and technologies. When they connect regionally with others who share their culture and context, the capacity for learning and innovation accelerates."
I am inspired by the description below on why regional learning communities matter (key phrases highlighted below that are strong communication points). I can see in it helpful framing for local networks, including one that I am supporting on sustainability in the Salt Lake Valley. The full document is really helpful for further stories, in this case featuring a South Africa Learning Collaborative.
"There is no universal solution for the challenges of poverty, community health, or ecological sustainability. But there is the possibility of widespread impact when people working at the local level are able to learn from one another, practice together, and share their learning with communities everywhere."