I share with our Working In Parallel working group, where I think that
Dante-Gabryell Monson could provide us much welcome leadership. Dante,
please note also that TheBrain http://www.thebrain.com
will soon be available
for Linux. Also, Dante, let's think of a project that we might bring to Steve
Cayzer of Hewlett-Packard. Andrius
Thank you for your in-depth letters! It's extremely helpful to learn
about your values and your wishes. That lets us move forward rapidly.
Samwel, yes, let's have you lead a team on Soyabeans. Let's link that
to wi-fi Internet access. The most important part of your work for me
will be for you to find and describe the human values that they
cultivate. Let's start by calling it "willingness to take risks" and
then let's learn from you. We can rename it based on what you learn.
Samwel, we'll feature Soyabeans as our October food story. However,
please know that most of your work will be in future months. Now I am
simply taking advantage of the fact that you are ready to start and we
need a food to feature.
Samwel, I can only guarantee you $100 at this point, and I will not
send it yet. When I get the first payment from Greg Wolff, then we
can write out our agreement and I can send you $500 for your work and
$500 for your team. I will expect you to work part-time until March
31, 2007. Also, as part of your work, I expect you to attend for us
the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya in January, 2007. Please
focus now on your other work for Helmut Leitner and for Lucas Gonzalez
Santa Cruz. Also, please keep writing about your values and your
plans, that is very helpful and a good example for others.
Janet, Thank you for detailed and helpful explanation. I'm glad that
you can host Samwel's work at Holistic Helping. However, let's think
ahead and make an ambitious plan for our lab's growth and how we will
deal with it.
Let's assume that we will have and encourage an explosion of email
letters. I want everybody to be "thinking out loud" as much as
possible. This means that we will certainly not fit well in any one
group. Instead we want a network of smaller overlapping groups. We
have made excellent progress in this direction.
It is practically impossible to move people from one group into
another. Therefore it is essential to assemble people into the groups
that are the best fit for them. Please help me foresee what kinds of
groups we will want so that we can start them accordingly now. For
example, we will want to have a group for "wi-fi" technology. It
would not be good to assemble "wi-fi" enthusiasts at Holistic Helping.
Therefore we will want a new group and where we can engage people
like Gary Bolles.
However, it is not appropriate for our lab's business to have a group
simply focused on "wi-fi". The reason is that our lab's assets come
from putting people in the center, not technologies. A "wi-fi" group
puts a drain on my personal energy and costs me dearly with no
personal gain. However, a "Samwel Kongere" group organized around
"motivation through sacrifice" gives me and our lab good energy and
builds our assets. Because of Samwel's interests, that will also be a
good place to assemble wi-fi enthusiasts and supporters, and possibly
We'll be engaging hundreds of soybean enthusiasts and wi-fi
enthusiasts. Where do we want to assemble them? Please, let's think
Janet, please consider, what would be the optimal traffic for a group
like yours, Holistic Helping, where many participants are in Africa.
Currently, you're getting an average of 2 letters a day, which is 60
letters per month. What would be optimal? That will help me
understand our options.
Janet, also please consider, assuming that by next summer we will have
10 new working groups with a strong presence in Africa, what are the
topics, technologies, methodologies that we'd like to cover? For
example, I imagine we'd want distinct groups for nutrition, community
radio, Internet access, living with HIV/AIDS, crafts, raising
children, adult relationships and so on in English and African
languages. Certainly, there will be a lot of activity that involves
more than one group, and there will be people participating in several
groups. But each group should be able to get into a particular topic
without restraining itself for fear of overwhelming others. Please
think, what is your strategy for shifting momentum out of the more
active groups and into the less active groups? My own strategy is to
have the stronger groups host new activities but assemble new people
at the new groups and gradually shift over the activity until the new
groups are self-sustaining.
We will be fostering and encouraging our independent thinkers to know
themselves, their key concepts and investigatory questions, and then
see if they might be natural leaders for such areas. Actually, in
practice, we will find new leaders who are willing to host various
topics because they are near enough to their key concepts, their main
interests. That is the reason why I'm very concerned that we find
close connections between crops and values. If there is a clear
relationship between soybeans and "holistic helping" (and there may or
may not be) then we'll be very wise for enrolling soybean growers into
our Holistic Helping group. If they are at odds (which I suspect
would be the case with tobacco) then we'll be entertaining disaster.
I think that if we're all very clear about our values and our
interests, and if we're good investigators regarding the crops and
what they bring out in people, then we'll be amazed at how helpful the
crops can be for organizing us around our values.
I'm very glad for all the teams that seem to be naturally arising:
- Samwel in October with soybeans and wi-fi, we'll start work at
Janet's Holistic Helping, but let's assemble new participants at a new
group around Samwel's value "motivation through sacrifice". Samwel,
what would be the best name for your group? Is there a word or
expression for "motivation through sacrificie" in Kiswahili or another
- Dante-Gabryell Monson, thank you for your rapid work and thank you
to Steve for your interaction regarding the Reference Mapping. Dante,
let's think through your vision and try to relate it to
(Kevin Jones, David Alan Boyd et.al.). You're
triad would be Chocolate, Reference Mapping/Visualization Software
(what term is best, broadest?) and your value "fostering paradigms of
inspiration" (is that right?). I think it would be excellent if you
might lead our existing working group "Working in Parallel"
which was originally
for "tools for thinking" including visualization software. Does that
sound good? Could we feature you in November?
- Jeff Buderer, would December be a good month to feature your work on
farmed fish - sustainability - George Chan's Integrative Farming &
Waste Management? Yes, your Back to the Root working group would be a
natural place to lead that.
- Pamela McLean, Janet Feldman, let's slowly think of a triad for
Pamela's "Learning from each other" working group, in January at the
earliest. I suspect there's a connection between raising chickens,
learning from each other, and interfaces (such as Moodle or Tiddly
Wiki) that allow people of high bandwidth and low bandwidth Internet
access to work together. I encourage us also to look for a connection
with Lucas Gonzalez Santa Cruz's concern regarding a possible human
flu pandemic arising from bird flu. My point is that chicken farmers
are the ones who are interested to have the best information about the
bird flu and it's connection to a potential pandemic. They are in no
position to stop these processes. They are, however, in a natural
position to collect and share the best information. So this would be
a major achievement if we could assemble and leverage a network of
chicken growers. And these flu topics are a good example of
information that needs to be shared by people of different bandwidth
That's a good set of teams to start with. Let's see where there's
natural interest as we build more teams. Please note that we feature
one team each month, but our other teams are working as well! and our
wish is that each have momentum in the long term with some related
project. I will update our http://www.myfoodstory.com
so that each
team can be found, not just the current month's.
Let's also start to think of people who might make great field agents.
Samwel Kongere has provided a great example. My first priority is
that these be people who know themselves - their key concept in life -
so that we might learn about them and invest ourselves in them. And
that these be people who are able to explore, investigate, able to ask
questions that they don't know the answer to, but intend to answer.
This makes it worthwhile for us to make the effort to work together.
If we look at our list of participants at http://www.ms.lt
the "thinkers" pull down) we can see who has been active, who has
shown the ability to do research and to "work for free". These are
the people who I wish us to focus on. And I encourage more of us in
Africa, India and elsewhere to write about ourselves and our
interests. Your letters are "work for free" that allows us to
understand why we should work together with the long run in mind.
Many people come to mind:
- Ken Owino (Kenya) 8 letters
- Leonard Boniface (Tanzania) 8
- Tom Ochuka (Kenya) 6
- ACTWID KONGADZEM (Cameroon) 4 - Who are the individual participants?
- Masimba Biriwasha (Zimbabwe/Thailand) 4
- Benter Oballa 2
- Kennedy Onyango (Kenya)
- Ibrahim Halkano (Tanzania) 2
- Helen Mahoo
- Charles Loku
- Francis Opiyo Opiyo
- Derick Odemba
- William Wambura
- Kafui Amenu Prebbie
Also Jinan Kodapully in India, Hanan Taha in Egypt are welcome,
including our participants in Lithuania and around the world.
Field agents should be active at our lab and with a clear key concept
and investigatory question before commitments are made. I will review
and confirm our commitments to field agents. I expect each of our
team leaders to organize their own teams.
Please write to us, What is your deepest value in life, that includes
all of your other values? And, What is a question that you don't know
the answer to, but intend to answer? This will help us understand how
we might best work together!
And we should think, how might they grow so that they might be leading
their own groups six months from now?
Thank you to all for such a vigorous start! I'm very excited!
Greetings from Cyprus,
+370 (5) 264 5950
+370 (699) 30003
Dear Janet, Andrius, Maria, Jeff and all,
Good to receive these rear comments from you, as I had committed
myself to do the lead in one of the groups about my food story. I am
going to do as our laboratory members entrust me with the work.
I wish to inform Andrius that I am going to do the work on Soyabeans.
...and I go on to check and orient my team members. I am happy to be
there. I think you can present our crop in November as we are already
in October.Yes my concept is"motivation through sacrifice" and yes
this is still making sense.Soyabean will be very meaning for me and my
family it is a rear crop but people grow wit in Kenya. It fetchs very
high prices here. My family, sells cereals and we mostly sell
maize(corn), sorghum, Beans, Cowpeas, Cassava, but Soyabean is
precious and popular to many here.
Internet connection is also another important aspect which can help
me through the hurdle of shortfall in commucation and wi-fi type of
entrepreneurship is encouraging to me, do whatever viable for us and
Kindly know from me Andrius, that I'm working with so many people; the
only hinderance is that they don't access internet some can start the
work and leave on the way because they cannot sacrifice to the end of
the Project, but given that you are giving them some motivation they
will work and their reports can be got on the ground, Maria can tell
you the group of youngmen we work with here.
Janet, glad to hear your desire to make me lead HH, I always love your
interjecting messages and this will automatically make me what I grow
to be, This is a promise you gave to me in 2004 december and climbing
ladder with me is better. I cannot forget the good efforts you are
doing to find us up high, we combrades in Kenya. If you offer this
chance to lead HH, I will automatically take the lead, if you desires
while I am here to do the network for HH. I love your sentiments for
me and Shanon.
Jeff, Very much impressed with your mail and response to our group
about me. Surelly the fast and foremost is to have an ICT center here
in Rusinga and getting people to fund this project through your
conections is appreciated. Earlier on before I knew Janet you were
very much interested in Mbita but I do'nt know What happenned, I still
hope that through this connection you will come back to doing the
desired goal through onVillage.
I hope we are working together for the betterment of our
Dear Andrius and All,
Thanks for your thinking about Holistic Helping and the Food Story
project. I thought I would reply below some of your comments (in
black), and would like to hear from others in this forum about their
possible interest in helping with the Food Story project (forming a team).
Franz's "Global Villages" and Janet's "Holistic Helping" are doing
very well already and actually may be at their limit in terms of how
much traffic they could bear, in my opinion, and also they are both
working on a higher level (much like Direktorius as I do, linking up
Janet: I understand that we don't want to "overload" any particular
forum. However, I do not see much traffic at HH now, and a project
like this could actually rivet our attention and be a worthwhile way
to make an impact, which we hope to do. It could also help our
members, many of whom are working at the grassroots and addressing
issues related to agriculture, nutrition, health, ICTs.
"Holistic Helping" as a concept involves an integrated and
multi-faceted approach to issues, challenges, and projects, which is
how the Food Story initiative is being conceived, so I think this
would be a great fit. I'll address below what you've said abt working
through HH in terms of a crop and technology.
I think that HH could actually work at a higher level via this project
(I'm not sure that we are there already), by which I mean
investigating what "holistic helping" is about in a self-conscious
way. The Food Story project is a great way to focus on both activities
at "ground level" and also what is meant by the concept "holistic",
especially as the project addresses a crop, a value, and a technology
I also don't see myself or HH solely as a linkage-maker or networker
only, at least not as that relates to being a "conduit" only and not
an end-point. I am head of 2 HIV/AIDS and development organizations,
one being the international wing of a Kenyan nonprofit which has a
specialty in nutrition and agriculture. Not only could I/we benefit
from the work going on in this project re knowing other stories, but
we could contribute our own, and I could employ my networking
abilities to find stories, as I have links across Africa and
elsewhere, as well as being helped by others in my own work through
the efforts they will make.
I have been connected to many "food stories" through my work, and have
helped to design our own "food story" projects (complete with links
between crops-technology-values), so I think I'm in a position to be
useful, even if I don't have time to lead a team. I am honored and
appreciate so much your interest (Pam and Andrius) in me leading a
team for LFEO, and if/when I have time, I will consider doing that,
whether or not we have a team at HH working on this project. It
wouldn't be a question of leading a team other than Pam's...I'd be
delighted to lead one for her if/when I have time.
I think such "cross-cutting" linkages can be effective: I could work
for a team at another forum, while someone leads a team at HH (with
myself in a more advisory role). This kind of cooperation is itself
"integrative", and can be a great team builder, of the MS lab and its
forums/orgs/members as a whole.
The concept of "Holistic Helping" means to me that while I and we in
the forum do help others (ie link them up, serve as a gateway, et al),
it also means that we work on behalf of our own interests and needs as
well. As a forum leader, I would like to have the ability to act on
behalf of HH forum members re possible involvement in Lab projects,
especially as these may be helpful to them and also to my work. In
this particular case, I could be a mentor or director as regards an
investigative team...which doesn't necessarily mean I lead the team,
but to provide advice, feedback, support, and networking as needed for
the team which works through the forum.
As a "director" of MS, of course, there are different
considerations--taking into account the whole Lab and interests of all
members--so this is something to keep in mind with the different
"hats" I wear, ie forum leader and MS "director". However, in this
case, I think HH would make an excellent forum for this work, and this
is why I have proposed it, mentioning others besides myself to lead
it. In this case, I think I am acting as a director, as much as or
even moreso than a forum leader.
So it makes a lot more sense for their groups to serve as "gateways"
where we can assimilate people into our culture and route them to
where they might be most productive when that's not clear from the start.
Janet: I actually don't think of HH primarily as a "gateway" where
we assimilate people and then re-route them. I have understood it in
part to be created for me to develop my key concept. And it has become
a home for African members of our various forums too, who are all
working on issues related to sustainable development.
I do understand that it has "incubating" potential, and has served and
will serve as a gateway too, which is great! From HH people may want
to branch out and work in other forums as well, which is terrific.
This cross-cutting approach is one of our strengths, though it needs
to be handled with an eye towards confusion, overload, and other
challenges which may emerge from this diffusion or decentralization.
I see the HH forum, like the concept itself, as dynamic and
action-oriented, a group which will also investigate what the term
"holistic" means: what sorts of integrative programs need to be
created to address issues and challenges, the balance between
addressing individual needs and those of the group, of building
sustainability at the local level and how that links to globalization
and/or global issues (and "villages"!).
The concepts and philosophies or principles of holistic helping being
fleshed out through "action-oriented" work, in other words. I hope to
do more of this at HH with other projects as they arise from our
group...so far, it's been difficult due to lack of time, and wanting
to meet immediate needs, but that is my longer-term goal (and one
which will address working on my key concept more directly).
It makes more sense for our resources to help groups that could use a
boost of momentum, in particular John Roger's Cyfranogi, Pamela
McLean's Learning From Each Other, Jeff Buderer's Back To The Root and
Lucas Gonzalez Santa Cruz's Mejores Vias.
Janet: I understand in one way what you are saying, but in another
way, do not agree. Resources are very much needed by some members in
HH, such as Sam, Kennedy, Tom, Helen, Lenny, Wendi, and others. And
I'm sure they would like to contribute to a project into which they
can sink their teeth...in more ways than one, haha!
We might also conceivably start new groups around Markus Petz, Maria
Agnese Giraudo, Dante-Gabryell Monson, Tom Wayburn, Rick Nelson,
Samwel Kongere, Shannon Clark or others who might rise to the
challenge, but especially in other languages such as Lithuanian,
Spanish, German, French.
Janet: again, I think this is fantastic, and I am especially excited
abt the possible forum/group you mention related to new technologies.
This is precisely what KAIPPG and others on the ground are
experimenting with now, and using, need to know more abt and have more
access to in the near future.
And the HH forum actually started out organizing around Sam Kongere's
stated interest in and need for an ICTs project...which led to linkage
with Maria Agnese and others, something which is just bearing fruit
now. So I'd love to continue that trend at HH, because every one of us
there is interested in technology and its applications, and this is
part of any "holistic helping" project in today's world, in my view.
Also, something to consider for the shorter term--and getting this
project underway in a timely fashion--is working within the forums
which have both the need for and the presence and participation of
members at the current time. AND focusing on "what people know" and
can easily access re finding stories and jumpstarting this project.
Sam, for instance, has some connection with "grains"--through his
family's business--and may be able to gather many stories abt grain in
a shorter time period than he can with coffee, which he perhaps has no
direct connection to as a crop yet. This is not to say that he and
Shannon shouldn't pursue "coffee" (which is just my cup of tea!!), but
that--to produce something more immediately--it might be good to "go
with" people's strengths, what they know and are familiar with already.
My goal is that - as Samwel has - they learn to think in terms of
their own values and investigatory questions so that we could be
connected to them and they could also reach out to others and include
them in our culture. This is a relatively low pressured work as they
will receive the money upfront. It's also a chance for us to support
local clusters around the world.
Janet: this is a wonderful goal, and we should all encourage one
another in this direction over the longer term! It may be some time
down the road before we have eforums for everyone, and if everyone has
an eforum where they explore their key concept before we have figured
out the logistics of all this, it may be an overload of emails and
info (which is not as beneficial to this particular project in the
So how to find ways in which we can all explore our individuals
concepts, while working together and connecting with others on this
project and more, would seem to be an important consideration.
Perhaps we can start by discussing the key concepts of members within
the already-existing forums, as this would help each of us, and also
the general collective.
Janet, if you were to host a team at Holistic Helping - which is a
good thought experiment - then we would want to find a crop that you
think brings out what "holistic helping" is all about (I think of
something like the olive tree, which in the Mediterranean was a
foundation for "civilization" because of it's great usefulness - for
oil, soap, olives, etc. Is there a comparable multipurpose "holistic"
crop for nutrition,
medicine, economics, etc. in Africa? Soybean also comes to mind with
its thousands of food products.) And also a technology that fosters
"holistic helping" (you mention "community radio" which makes a lot of
sense). That would be great!
Janet: Soybeans is a good crop to feature, as is artemisia, and also
tea, with which Kenya and KAIPPG have some connection. As for a
technology, KAIPPG and others in Kenya and Africa w/whom I work are
using a number of technologies in a holistic (multi-dimensional way).
Radio is one, mobile phones another, as well as AV equipment,
computers, both wired and wireless applications. Radio can be
"wireless", so this is connection to "wi-fi". You're right that
community radio is indeed holistic, esp. if there is a link between
content users and producers, and a situation in which those making
radio programs and those listening are sometimes one and the same, or
We need more wireless solutions (KAIPPG and most development orgs I
know), which I would like to know more abt, esp. as to how this links
with nutrition, agriculture, and income-generation, all subjects on
which KAIPPG works, and around which we have both operating projects
and future needs (especially related to what equipment we use and how
to make it work, in settings of severe infrastructure deficiences...so
the more info we have, the better decision-making and community
development can result).
So Sam's interests and goals--and to an extent his values--do seem
akin to mine and to "ours" at KAIPPG, and--if so--we can work to
develop this further, for our mutual benefit. This synergy and
teamwork is extremely important, especially in situations of great
need and challenges, and could result in finding some way to work
together on the ground to address the "food story" in Kenya in a way
helpful to all there, which could also have applications in other
parts of Africa and the world.
But I think that Samwel's values and interests are in a different
direction. I'm organizing based on values rather than geography. Our
different teams will be able to work together locally on the ground,
but it's important to me that each tune into a particular value (such
as "holistic helping"). Then it will be more meaningful to look for
connections between teams, how they can work together.
My suggestion, as per above, is based both on values and on geography,
and is made partly in the interests of time and getting some
short-term traction on the ground. I'd be interested to know from Sam
whether he thinks his values are different from those of "holistic
helping", I mean as a concept, and perhaps those values which seem to
be embodied in our forum (based on the interests, work, and needs of
Also, you and Samwel are quite possibly our strongest participants,
and I don't think it makes sense to put our strongest people together.
It's better to pair each of you with somebody who you can help grow
stronger, and then have your two teams find ways to work together.
That's my strategy but I appreciate to hear more if you think.
Janet: again, I understand what you are saying, and thank you for the
confidence and compliment! I think we have many strong participants,
though, and that--in this case--the project itself should be a primary
focus, ie what will advance it in the short-term now, ie to get it
started. With these other important considerations coming into play
(different teams, various factors going into team creation et al) as
we move further along.
If Sam, who is so active, works now with someone like Steve--who is a
focal point (his forum and person) of this project--and Maria is there
now at Social Agriculture too, that will be a good grouping, as all
have strong participation and motivation, Sam and Maria know each
other, and SA is an existing forum which can dive into doing the
I would also like to add that, for some projects, perhaps we should
not be thinking in terms of "forums" to house "teams", but more who
has interest, time, experience in working on this project, and pick
*one* forum host (or possibly two) for this project. The "natural"
one to my mind in this case being "Social Agriculture". That way we
won't be generating as much mail from 5-6 forums, all working on this
project, which is sometimes much harder to keep track of anyway.
I look forward to your thoughts on the Chocolate project, what worked
or didn't from your point of view, that's important to consider. But
as far as "Holistic Helping" is concerned, I'm afraid that you're a
victim of your own success, I would be hesitant to put resources into
a group that I think is at maximum traffic (2 letter per day) for a
subscribership with marginal Internet access, when we could be adding
a new group and multiplying our possibilities for leadership and action.
Janet: Thanks for your invitation to share thoughts abt the chocolate
project, and I will do that at some point. For now, I--like you--would
like to see this new project get off the ground first. I would ask us
to consider the effect in mailboxes of setting up even more groups. I
think we should consider designing this project so that it does not
generate so much mail as to be onerous to a forum in any case.
I would not expect every activity and communication of the team to be
posted in a forum in any case (do you?). Rather, I would think it
more helpful to have summary reports, or links to wiki spaces, and for
team members to keep some interactions among themselves as 4-5
individuals--except for the reports--as a way for people to keep
abreast of what teams are doing, and teams to communicate with each
other, without overloading the rest of forum members.
All of this to say that I suppose we should think of your activity on
a higher level as a Direktorius and what that might mean, for example,
as your role in interlinking groups and moving momentum amongst them.
That is my concern - how to shift momentum from our most dynamic
groups (like Holistic Helping and Global Villages) to our less dynamic
groups so they catch on fire, too. Also, I'm interested if you might
work for pay because that might strengthen your situation for our work
in the long term, and also, maybe it's good to challenge you! Thank
you for all your devotion to all of us.
Janet: Yes, I am happy to do that with you, perhaps not so much in
this public space--which might generate more email, and mails people
do not feel a direct interest in--though some sharing of this
discussion process and the end result is fine, esp. if people have
comment/feedback and want some input. I do understand where you're
coming from and agree abt balance, energies, strengthening all groups,
and similar considerations. And thank you for sharing these concerns
and considerations with me and with us all.
And on your other suggestions--Markus, Benoit, Rick, Chris, Shannon,
and others--about who might get involved in the Food Story project,
that's a BIG BRAVO, and hope to hear from all of these folks as to
their interest and availability!
With greatest thanks for everything you are doing for each and all of
us, Andrius, and very best wishes and blessings to everyone! Janet