Hesperian Health Guides
Organizing is a process
As the experience of the women in Vilcas shows, community organizing is an ongoing process that takes courage, time, and patience. Each step along the way brings new lessons learned and new challenges to be resolved. It can take a long time for people to accept ideas and to get used to change after it happens. As more people are involved in a process of change, conflicts are more likely to arise. But involving more people also creates more opportunities for new ideas to emerge, new alliances to form, and new skills to be learned and shared.
Vilcas Women’s Voices went through many steps and stages in their organizing process. They took action and then carefully reflected on that action before taking the next step. They repeated this process many times, and with each step they deepened their understanding of the problems they wanted to solve, the barriers they faced, possible solutions, and other people they needed to involve.
These are the steps they followed:
Start from experience
Build on and analyze experience
Plan for action
Evaluate action and reflect on experience
Many people organizing in their communities go through stages like these. Because these steps are repeated over and over, some community organizers refer to this as a spiral.