Saturday 26th January had been a very busy day for the IAFHK team in 3 locations. While Chan Yau, Candice and Lilian were at Cyberport conducting Hack 4 Sustainability, Rita and Amy were facilitating another event. At the same time, I was following the footsteps of Lawrence (Larry) Philbrook, Evelyn Kurihara Philbrook and Professor Betty Chang from National Cheng Kung University (國立成功大學）to Zuo Jhen 左鎮.
I’d like to share about how facilitation has been massively applied in community development and dialogue.
Zuo Jhen, a town near Tainan, Taiwan, was where Larry, Evelyn and a team of local Taiwan Facilitators from the Institute of Cultural Affairs conducted facilitation projects 3 years ago.
Ageing is a pressing issue for the entire Taiwan, particularly in rural areas. It is also the most challenging problem that Zuo Jhen is facing. Most people are approaching old age, and there are only a handful of children left. We visited the one and only primary school in town. They have only 42 students in the whole school. That’s why, in 2016, Larry and the ICA Facilitator team facilitated sessions such as PSP (Strategic Planning), community space planning, and planning for the overall community program. The primary school was one of the focuses of discussion.
Today, I see this town's creative use of space. Multi-generational spaces are established - a digital learning center for children and a learning center for the elderly in the same space. This helps old people get in touch with the world and get energised by kids. While this might not have been a direct result of the facilitated dialogue from 3 years ago, the innovation was deeply inspiring.
I love creativity and deeply admire the facilitator team of ICA.They have done inspiring community development work through facilitation and Zuo Jhen is only one example of their extensive work.