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Our First International Forum

March 2016 was a flagship moment for CHGN — it was when we hosted our first ever International Forum in Uttarakhand, India. Here, we share some of the highlights, and what’s next for CHGN.

"Our sense of belonging has become inspirational for transformational development in our community"

[comment from Forum participant]

On Sunday 28th February, 2016, we were heading to the airport in the UK. At that moment, I knew that people from Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Myanmar, India, Australia and Thailand were also travelling, and I hoped that 24 hours later, we would all be together…

And we were! — All was going to plan so far…

We were travelling to be together for CHGN’s first ever international forum, where members of our Clusters in Africa and Asia would come together to share stories, encouragement, achievements, challenges and plans. We had hoped that we would reach this point in our journey, and the time was finally right to make it happen.

"Thank you so much for giving enough room for each one of us to express our thoughts"

[comment from Forum participant]

The 40 or so participants were hosted by our brilliant and most established Cluster in Uttarakhand, India. In our time together we went on inspiring field trips, had stimulating and honest discussion, made plans, ate delicious food, offered encouragement, and even did some singing and dancing at our cultural evening!

There was a lot of learning for all of us at the forum. As well as specific Cluster learning, we heard that:

  • CHGN’s approach is unique and offers distinctive value

  • CHGN is valued as a connector, sharer, encourager and facilitator

  • The face-to-face learning and connection should be a vital part of how CHGN operates

  • Valuable learning happens between Clusters — we need to facilitate this

  • Our connection to global level thinking and policy is valuable and we need to make sure we disseminate and connect it to our Clusters

  • Our connection to grassroot level action and understanding is valuable, and we need to make sure we share learning and voice with global players

"It was a powerful fulfilling moment of love and true networking and strengthening of loving relationships that are a source of encouragement, hope and faith."

[comment from Forum participant]

"We are happy to be a part of this network. Our hope for sustainable community wellbeing and happiness will become a living reality" [comment from Forum participant]

Our Clusters are leading some great work, including on disability awareness and support (India and Kenya), income generation (Zambia and Kenya), youth and adolescent support (Kenya), community health worker support (Kenya, Zambia and Myanmar), maternal nutrition and reducing teenage pregnancy (Zambia), and palliative care (Tanzania). In contextual ways, they are also looking at community leadership, communications, business skills, and other topics that will help them achieve their health, wellbeing and happiness goals.

Clusters have their individual plans and goals, and they will be creating their own strategies to bring unity and to communicate their plans clearly with interested supporters and partners. If you are interested in finding out more about a particular Cluster or topic, or supporting a particular Cluster, then please get in touch.

Some of the outcomes we’re putting into place, following our forum:

  • We’ll be facilitating regional meetings in Africa (for our African Clusters) and in Asia (for our Asian Clusters) once a year. This will be a place for sharing progress, working on collaborations, and accountability. It will also be a place where interested people can join and learn about the approach.

  • We’ll be aiming to host an international gathering every two to three years, so the CHGN family can come together and see how far we’ve come, and where we’re going next.

  • We’re developing individual and group Coaching in CHGN. This will support our dispersed leadership around the world, and it will highlight the value of deep conversations, listening, asking questions, and co-creating solutions. It also links nicely to the SALT model of community conversation that we use. More on this soon.

  • We want to develop our online connection platform, for local and global conversation and shared learning. This may include looking at app development (suggested by various Cluster Mobilisers and other advisors). We will also be developing online ‘Webinars’ (online training) especially for Cluster Mobilsers and others.

  • We want to improve our communications and branding, so that people easily understand CHGN’s way of working, and can effectively act as ambassadors for CHGN.

  • Clusters will be creating and sharing their strategies for the next two years, which will act as a roadmap to achieve their goals for local health, wellbeing and happiness.

  • Our Clusters will be sharing their expertise and experience by helping us to create and disseminate Toolkits.

We’ve got some SERIOUS goals and ambitions here at CHGN! And we know we can’t achieve it on our own — we need partners, supporters, volunteers, ambassadors and staff. And we need sponsorship and funding. Could you be who we’re looking for? Could you come on board and help us achieve our exciting, ambitious goals? We would love to hear from you….

"Thank you so much for all the opportunities, love blessings and support we received before, during and after the CHGN International forum. I got an opportunity to do self-evaluation and try to understand more deeply my purpose in the world."

[comment from Forum participant]

We are grateful and blessed that the International Forum went smoothly, and that it has given CHGN and our Clusters a strong sense of togetherness, purpose and goals. We’re a small team, and there’s LOTS to now do. Please keep us in your prayers, and get more involved in our work if you can. Please also share your thoughts, ideas, questions and encouragements for CHGN — you can email us at team [at] chgn [dot] org, or join in the conversation on social media.

And echoing the theme of our Forum — Together really is Better!

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