COVID-19 Community Conversations
Image Credit: United Nations COVID-19 Response
Few of us would have ever imagined that we would live through a global pandemic in our lifetime. There is a growing awareness that we’re experiencing interconnected crisis. These times we’re living in are really complex and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed!
We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is a significant life event that is impacting people’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. And as we accelerate towards a post-pandemic future, people are wondering, what exactly are we moving towards? How do we go back to “normal” when we and our world are forever changed?
The COVID Community Conversations are a simple way to help people see and find their role to play in helping to build health, connection, resilience, and vibrancy for our communities and workplaces as we emerge into a post-lockdown world.
In the idea of a community conversation or community debrief, we see an opportunity to build community resilience and to activate our collective imaginations for a healthier future for people and for the planet.
“Thank you for this rare opportunity to REALLY connect and engage with other community members without some massive agenda attached or forced ‘outcomes’. It was honestly therapeutic to be able to share and to hold space.” – Pandemic Dialogue Participant
Using participatory processes and small group conversations, we provide a space for people to:
- tend to mental health and wellness by beginning to process this significant life effect,
- build relationships, connection, and a sense of community,
- hear and sharing stories, and see our part in the collective story of these times,
- make sense of what we have been experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic,
- apply what we are learning to whatever will happen next,
- make recommendations to decision makers about what support is needed,
- build our community resilience and explore how to choose a path forward,
- spark our collective imaginations for how to move towards a socially just and environmentally healthy and resilient future.
After the session, we develop a short report to highlight stories, themes, actions, and recommendations.
This process, along with the report, can build momentum towards taking meaningful next steps in direct response to people’s experience and collective meaning-making.
We host these as two-hour sessions using Zoom.
We partner with networks, non-profits, local governments, organizations, and groups.
About the Sessions
We cannot solve today’s complex issues with the same thinking that created them. Because today’s interconnected crisis are so complex, no one person, group, or organization is likely to find meaningful or impactful actions or next steps on their own. With this in mind, we use facilitation processes that encourage everyone’s participation, that build relationships, that creates space for deep listening and for making meaning together, and creates the conditions for mindful and collective action.
After we spend time setting the context and getting people comfortable together in Zoom, we review a timeline of relevant pandemic events and milestones so far. Then, participants move between a large group setting and small groups of 3-5 people through three rounds of questions (using breakout rooms in virtual space). Questions for these discussions will be refined with the host partners during the design process, covering these three steps:
- Sharing our COVID stories and experiences
- Making sense of what we’ve heard: noticing patterns, themes, questions
- Applying our learning and insights to how we move forward as a community or group (action)
Tailor the Session to Your Community or Group – At least 4 weeks in advance of the session
We work together with our partner(s) to discuss and clarify your objectives and needs in order to adjust the design of the sessions and create the invitation. We recommend that our partners bring together a design group of 3-5 people.
Facilitate Virtual Dialogue Session
Our facilitators create the setting and flow for the 2-hour session in an online format (using Zoom). We work together to gather notes from both the whole group and from the small group dialogues.
Harvest Report – Available up to 4 weeks after the session
We incorporate a ‘harvest’ into the session (gathering of ideas that are shared) and collate this into a short report that reflects a few of the stories, the themes, and the actions and recommendations. This is an important step in completing the dialogue and setting the stage for next steps and/or further conversations.
Please contact us to have an initial conversation and to explore if this could be a good fit for your team or group: firstname.lastname@example.org