Everyone has a voice

Equitable Partnerships require smart and inclusive facilitation. This blog explains how Perspectivity’s approaches help me in supporting such partnerships.
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Nov 24, 2023

By Gerrit de Vries

Are we really listening to each other instead of already knowing what we want? Are we really seeing each other as equals? Are we willing to trust one another? Do we acknowledge each other’s opinions, knowledge and do we behave accordingly? These questions I reflected on in my blog Mindset Matters a year ago.

From Power Over to Power With

We can organise hundreds of workshops and change trajectories on equitable partnerships, but they will only lead to meaningful and lasting change if we reflect on our mindsets, on how we see each other and translate that into how we collaborate. As a passionate facilitator of equitable partnerships I have seen willingness to reflect, but also many obstacles and struggles. We are rooted in a system of international cooperation that has unequal power balances where ‘power over’ each other, over funds and decisions often prevails over ‘power with’ each other.

I wish to be practically oriented: how can we change partnering, governance, funding, management systems, mutual accountability, joint decision-making and much more. It is possible, but starts with listening to each other, seeing each other eye to eye, and acknowledging that everyone has a voice.

Appreciative understanding

In my journey of facilitating equitable partnerships, inspired by the movements of decolonisation of aid and shift the power, I am happy to have met Perspectivity, whom I am now joining as a partner. In our Passion Code we promote appreciative understanding, where we suspend judgement and prejudice and listen openly with the aim to truly understand each other. Then common ground will be discovered and expanded by embracing differences. Isn’t it diversity and different views that enrich us in our work and life?

With Perspectivity we engage in many methods to promote such an approach, where every voice is heard, because everyone has a voice. Through Future Searches where ‘the whole system’ is in the room, story-telling and its analysis and ownership by the story-tellers themselves through Sprockler, and many other ways.

In shifting the power and developing equitable partnerships I hope to build, work together and be inspired by my fellow-partners in Perspectivity. Because in the end, everyone has a voice!