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Step 6: Widening the Dialogue

At a Public Meeting persons of influence and community members at large are invited to support the envisioned process of change.

What’s the aim?

To invite persons of influence and community members at large to support the envisioned process of change.

What is this step about? 

The first four Dialogue sessions are transformative for participants. By the end of the fourth session the men and women have examined deeply-held views and identified steps that they and other members of the community can take to reduce the harmful effects of particular practices. If a broader process of change is to take root, however, the spirit of the Dialogue sessions, and the insights the participants have gained, must be shared more widely.

This step is about spreading the Dialogue to other members of the community and building others’ support for and commitment to the goals the Dialogue participants have formulated. This is done through the convening of a Public Meeting at which the Dialogue participants present pledges and special requests to community leaders and representatives of different institutions and groups, as well as to the public at large. At this meeting, the Dialogue participants act as role models for other community members, demonstrating that it is not only possible, but also rewarding for both generations to enter into dialogue and to work jointly on the challenges they face.

What do you need to do?

Do the following when planning and conducting the first Public Meeting:

  • Decide who should be present. The Public Meeting is a large event involving up to 150 people. In addition to the 24 male and 24 female Dialogue participants and members of the Dialogue team, a wide cross-section of individuals from the community should be invited. Prepare a list of invitees and decide how you will secure their participation. 
  • Plan the programme for the Public Meeting. Give thought to how to respectfully introduce the community leaders so that they feel honoured, and how to introduce the purpose of the Dialogue to those who are hearing about it for the first time. Strive to make the Public Meeting a celebratory event.
  • Organise a suitable venue. Find a large hall, preferably one with a stage or dais at the front of the room where community leaders can sit and where Dialogue participants can present the pledges and special requests. 
  • Practice presenting the pledges and special requests. Together with the facilitators, the Dialogue participants should decide who will present each of the pledges and special requests. Before the meeting they should formulate the pledges and special requests and practice presenting these in a respectful way, e.g. through role-play exercises. 
  • Think about how the media and social media can amplify the Public Meeting. In order to spread the spirit of the Dialogue further, consider inviting journalists and local media to cover the Public Meeting. Encourage Dialogue participants and other attendees to share their impressions of the Public Meeting on social media.

What resources can you use?

This guidance note provides advice on how to plan and conduct a Public Meeting.

How do you monitor this step?

One of the coordinators should take notes during the Public Meeting and prepare a short report. Pay particular attention to the responses of community leaders to the special requests presented to them and to the overall atmosphere during the meeting. This guidance note provides further advice on how to monitor and evaluate the Public Meeting.

How do you know you’re ready to proceed to the next step?

The first Public Meeting has been held with community leaders and members of the general public in attendance. Dialogue participants have publicly presented their pledges and special requests.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO write down the pledges and special requests on paper and bring these to the Public Meeting in case one of the presenters is absent or needs to be reminded of the agreed formulation. 
  • DON’T forget to follow up with the invited community leaders and community partners to secure their attendance at the Public Meeting. Their presence is of critical importance.
  • DO think about ways to keep the pledges and requests in the public eye: Can they be posted somewhere in the community where everyone can see them?
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