Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stepping Back into CCF's Past

By Jason Schwartzman,
Director of Program Development
(Note: This is the second entry from Jason's trip to the Philippines.)

So I'm in the airport pickup van, racing to this workshop where each National Office in Asia has sent four or so staff to participate in what we've called "Integrating the Bright Futures Approach with CCF's Core Programs - A Pilot Course in Asia." Bright Futures is the name CCF has given to the participatory way we work with communities – how we engage them in identifying priorities to address through programs, and their role in creating a better future for their children. Core Programs is the name CCF has given to the types of programs we focus on – programs that build on the natural stages of child development, from infancy (for example, health, nutrition and early childhood development programs) through young adulthood (where we want to focus on youth leadership, livelihood preparation and making healthy decisions about one's life).

There's a lot of traffic. That's good. More time to finish my presentation, which is scheduled in a few hours. If it doesn't go well, I have an excuse – I've been en route from Richmond for the past 30 hours. Unfortunately, I've been able to sleep a lot along the way, so I actually won't have much of an excuse.

My presentation is about CCF's history from a program point of view. How has CCF's approach to programming evolved over the years? What triggered a (r)evolution from one phase to the next? What has that felt like to our colleagues who preceded us? What can we learn from that history? The Philippines is a great place to be thinking about that, since CCF (then called China's Children Fund) launched programming here in February 1946 – along with Burma, these were the next two countries that CCF worked in after China.

What's struck me in reviewing CCF's history is that CCF has had three major programming "epochs" in its 70 year history – starting with orphanages, then shifting to a community-based design often referred to as "Family Helper Projects," and then most recently, evolving into Bright Futures that we will now integrate with our core intent, core outcomes and core programming. But the history of CCF is much more dynamic than the relative stability of "only" three program shifts in 70 years would suggest. CCF has a deep tradition of challenging itself with tough questions, and the real story of CCF is in the transitions between points of stability.

Anyway, that's the story I'm going to tell, and I'm sticking to it. I've been searching through the photo archives with the help of our communications staff, and I've create an enormously large file of 70-plus PowerPoint slides with the same number of photographs. With my luck it will all crash in the middle of the presentation, if this airport pickup van doesn't crash first. These guys head into oncoming traffic in order to turn or pass a car. LOOOOOKKKKKKKKOOOOUUUUUTTTTT!!!!!

Coming soon: CCF's first program evolution ... or was it a revolution?

1 comment:

Steph said...

Jason - LOVE this blog. Why haven't you done this for us sooner again?!