19 community leaders from faith, union and community background gathered at Vaughan Park for the five-day residential training in community organising hosted by Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga and the Living Wage Movement.
The training took this diverse group of leaders on a deep dive in how we can build power together and organise effective actions for structural change. The training is built on the practice of Industrial Areas Foundation and the rich experiences of community alliances in the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
One of the highlights of the training is the practice action of a people's assembly. The context used is the mock run of the upcoming Auckland mayoral candidates election forum for the Living Wage Movement. In four hours, participants gathered into teams and worked through the entertainment, stories, and presentations. The action aimed at securing a public commitment from mayoral candidates to extend the Living Wage to contract workers, and action around housing. Participants shared their own powerful stories around personal experiences of inadequate income and insecure housing.
Akiko Horita is an advocate with Auckland Action Against Poverty. She reflects: "The action on Thursday afternoon was a highlight for me. It was a useful exercise to put the concepts we learned into practice. Sharing stories with others throughout the training gave me an important foundation to take in the concepts. I guess I understand "cold anger" a bit better now. The stories from Christina and Etevise during the action made me feel that all of us were holding pains together... It's exciting to feel that I'm part of the shifting tide with like-minded people. When I feel like this I see everyone's face in my head. It is the best training I have ever attended. I'm convinced that face to face conversations are crucial for community organising and that we need to involve more people in the similar process we went through during the training."
Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga will be running a shorter 2-day Foundation Training in the month of October and November. Go to our Events page to find out more.