EETAP: Lessons Learned from Inclusiveness Initiative
Lessons Learned from Inclusiveness Initiative is a report from the Environmental Education and Training Partnership (EETAP) on a project led by Intercambios and the University of Wisconsin--Stevens Point. The following are selected excerpts. Access the full report.
"Inclusiveness work typically starts with familiar approaches and pragmatic tasks. Groups carry out research, create charts, and organize professional conferences to advance their knowledge of the community. However, these approaches for gaining expertise fail to get an organization any closer to knowing its communities. This realizing causes anxiety because the organization comes to understand that it must take on new roles and use unfamiliar approaches to achieve its goals." (page 3)
"The dissonance created from this initial setback causes an organization to regroup and reframe its efforts. The group gives itself permission to experiment, to deviate from the norm, and even ‘to fly under the radar' as it considers new ways to interact with communities holding different world views. The new approaches are a departure from the organization's standard operating procedures and its strict adherence to timelines, programmatic guidelines, and quantitative outcomes." (page 3)
"Inclusiveness is about building relationships. Give yourself permission to invest time in the communities you want to work with. Let go of your traditional indicators of success; build process indicators that reflect your inclusiveness practices." (page 3)
"Let go of your initial expectations about what the community needs or should do. This process is about checking your assumptions, respecting local perspectives, and valuing processes over outcomes. Only by letting go of your agenda will you actually be able to hear what is important to the community. Be prepared for personal change." (page 4)
EETAP (Environment Education and Training Partnership) is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The partnership's Web site is http://www.eetap.org/. Intercambios is a binational, bicultural consulting group assisting education professionals in making their program services culturally relevant through offering training, facilitation, and diversity content. The University of Wisconsin--Stevens Point offers a ten-week online course on "Making EE Relevant to Culturally Diverse Audiences (MEER)."