COVID-19 Pandemic Dialogues: Building Resilience and a Just Recovery for All
Image Credit: United Nations COVID-19 Response
As communities began shifting into “Phase 2” of COVID-19 response way back in spring of 2020, we began hearing about organizations who had a role in responding to COVID-19 having “After Action Reviews.” After Action Reviews are a debrief process for assessing what happened, why it happened, and what could be done better. But we realized that this After Action Review process was generally focused internally on the organization’s COVID-19 response.
We wondered who would be debriefing with people in our communities about their experience so far?
We quickly realized that it wasn’t likely that many organizations would host debriefs with people in the community. And that if a debrief opportunity happened, it would probably take the form of a survey or questionnaire.
In the idea of a “community debrief,” we saw an opportunity to build community resilience and to activate our collective imaginations for a healthier future for people and for planet.
So, we created the COVID-19 Community Conversations. We’ve hosted six of these debrief conversations between June and December of 2020 with about 100 people. We are in the process of working with a number of groups to host more sessions. You can read some of the reports and recommendations here:
Comox Valley Community Conversations
Homelessness Task Force Community Conversation
Youth Community Conversation
We’re learning a lot and we would like to share our insights and our process with you. We think the Pandemic Dialogues could be really valuable to bring to other communities and work places who are building resilience and wanting to learn together from this wild journey so far. Especially as our pandemic fatigue increases and as we near our one year pandic-versary.
What COVID-19 Community Conversation participants liked about their COVID-19 Community Conversation:
“The opportunity to fully share my COVID-19 experience uninterrupted for 5 minutes, and in turn to listen and hold space for other people’s experiences.”
“That it moved from personal to community oriented (experience to action). Good ‘evolution’ of conversation to encourage trust, meaningful engagement, buy in…”
“I am not a fan of Zoom meetings, however the facilitation of this one made the experience more useful.”
We hope that others can bring this valuable process to their communities and workplaces!
Erica Crawford is a community planner, facilitator and counsellor specializing in collaborative processes for building community resilience and climate change adaptation strategies. She focuses on awareness and capacity-building through multi-stakeholder planning processes. Erica’s work in climate change adaptation led her to pursue training in somatic therapy, as she recognized the importance of addressing psycho-social dimensions of dealing with uncertainty and change, incorporating body-based methods. She has a Masters in Community and Regional Planning, is a co-founder of SHIFT Collaborative and a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor.
Jenn Meilleur is the Executive Director of NewStories. She is a systems change facilitator, sense-maker and strategist. Her passion is for cultivating bold, creative, and participatory leadership to create the conditions for happier, healthier, and more environmentally and socially just and resilient communities and workplaces. She has two decades of experience supporting and leading initiatives and collaborative networks at the intersections of social and environmental health and wellness, community development, organizational development, and systems change. Jenn finds her inspiration in nature on the unceded traditional lands and waters of the K’omoks Nation on what is known as Vancouver Island with her husband, two children, and many four-legged friends.
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