Guiding Principles

Relational and Collaborative Practices


We view meaning as an emergent byproduct of relations. From this relational orientation, we look at how change is always present and possible.  Relational and collaborative practice represents to us a coming together around something that unites us. It is a letting go, even in it's briefest of moments, of our illusions of separateness. Collaboration is a remembrance of our sharedness, our collective responsibility and belonging to each other. 

See an example here.

This presentation shares learning from a project between three countries - India, Tanzania, and Uganda - called Collaborating for Heal

Participatory and Co-Design Approaches


 “What you do for me but without me you do against me” Mahatma Gandhi

Design-thinking is a methodology for collaborative creativity to solve problems and increase value for people that is: human-centered; option-focused; possibility-driven; iterative.

Human-centered design is all about starting with people and building deep empathy; generating lots of possible ideas; building and testing prototypes with the people we’re designing with; and eventually putting new solutions out into the world to improve lives.

See an example here.

This project engaged human-centered design to strengthen collaboration between community and formal health systems

Intergenerational Life Course Perspective


Intergenerational and life course approaches seek opportunities for connection, contribution, growth and learning; the need to strengthen the social compact that supports and connects people across the life course; and a growing recognition that community change requires new, more comprehensive approaches.

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This article reflects on intergenerational and life course approaches to community building.

See an example here.

This toolkit was created from the experiences of young people leading intergenerational projects in their communities as a resource for others who are interested in leading projects.


Engagement and Collaboration


  As we strengthen our ability to come together around issues that matter to us we often find realities that challenge us. So to collaborate takes practice and intentionality. As we hold a shared purpose at the center of our work, we create a container that supports collaboration. The following principles help guide our collaborative and help us navigate the complexities that may emerge: a common framework and shared values; trust and transparency; commitment to develop relationship; convening; a rhythm of work and leaving; and celebration.

See an example here.

This video shares the transformative potential of youth as powerful social agents of positive change in their communities.

Training and Capacity Building


Our philosophy of training and capacity building is organized around people working towards their goals using the following change principles: respecting people as experts and believing in each others' capacities for creativity and resourcefulness; exploring possible and preferred futures and considering how people will know when they reach there; and looking for resources rather than deficits, recognizing what we are already doing that is working. It is a virtuous cycle of learning, relationships, and reflection and growth. 

See an example here.

This project represents a shift from traditional training approaches to engaging a learning community in a framework for translating learning into practice and creating more trauma-informed approaches in our workplaces.

Applied Research and Evaluation


We engage in future-forming research inspired by Ken Gergen's question: "What if we closed our eyes and began to imagine the worlds of our hopes? What if we replaced the persistent rush to establish ‘what is the case’ and began to ask, ‘what kind of world could we build’?" We engage in applied research and evaluation that focuses on co-creation of knowledge and practices that are useful, that support generative change, and that intimately connect research and practice.

See an example here.

This evaluation engaged a ripple-effect mapping participatory process to make more visible the strengths and capacities being built in a large collaborative as resoures for strengthening and further building the collaborative efforts.

Another example here.

This global study made data available through stories and advocacy tools at the community level and a data dashboard for policy and research at the national and global levels.