April 3rd to 7th, 2017, potential initiators of Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) from Guangxi, Yunnan, Xinjiang and Shaanxi Province gathered with Badi Foundation staff in Beijing to learn how to promote the balanced development of material and spiritual aspects of society through a process of participatory study. These eight potential initiators were identified after several months of wider sharing and continuous dialogue. They all have a strong desire to serve and contribute to the balanced development of their own communities. In the coming three months, Badi Foundation will further identify from these individuals the final initiators, and support them to set up their own CBO to implement Moral Empowerment Through Language (METL) Program in their communities.
During these five days, participants started by studying the evolution of developmental thoughts from the Second World War onwards, and discussed practices and experiences gained in the field. Many concepts were covered and further investigated, such as participation of the local population, community based organizations, local facilitators. Under this context, the METL program was introduced. The program targets at junior youths aged 12-15, with the purpose of helping them to realize their twofold moral purpose-development of one’s self and of one’s community, through learning and service. After introducing the program and its elements, initiators from Badi’s two grassroots partners -New Garden Junior Youth Empowerment and Development Center from Zezhou County, Jincheng, Shanxi, and Suolu Junior Youth Training School of Gucheng District, Lijang, Yunnan-were invited to share their experiences in the field. How to initiate a CBO, how to collaborate with local schools and communities, and how to follow the learning mode to constantly reflect and then optimize the actions were among the popular topics during the sharing.
On the last day, the eight potential initiators shared their thoughts on the 5-day training. “Together with like-minded people, setting up a local CBO to serve as a platform for junior youths to contribute to the balanced development of the community through learning and service, is something that I feel more and more enthusiastic about.”, one participant shared.
In the following two weeks, they will return to their hometowns and read their local communities, to identify possible social space needed to implement the METL program.