In the lead up to the recent IFS Conference 2021, LCSA and interested partners, with the support of ANHCA, began the process of developing existing and new contacts in the Asia-Pacific region with the aim of growing the IFS global network.
Member organisation’s of the International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers (IFS) are grouped into 5 geographic regions, that being Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America. Up until now there has been little work done to connect organisations in Asia-Pacific in order to explore opportunities for mutual learning and potential collaboration on projects.
On Monday, 6 September 2021, an inaugural (virtual) meeting was held with 7 organisations in attendance, representing educational institutions, Settlement Houses and Neighbourhood Centres from across Asia-Pacific (including India, Taiwan, Bangladesh and Australia) - all interested to be involved in a regional network.
Aims & Objectives
The aim of the network is to bring together like-minded organisations with shared values such as inclusion, diversity, promoting social justice and democratic principles. A key commonality between all community and neighbourhood centres around the world is that they are all practicing community development to build resilient communities so people can thrive and reach their full potential.
We envisage that an IFS Asia-Pacific Network will provide a forum to:
- Share knowledge and learn from each other
- Develop skills and strategies in community development
- Enhance cultural exchange and understanding
- Improve networking in our geographic region and globally - especially during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Work together on joint projects
At the first meeting, an overview of IFS and its work was presented, but most importantly, all those who attended talked about what they would like the network to be, the strategies to make that happen and how the network could be beneficial in the pursuit of social justice and community empowerment in the Asia-Pacific region.
Network members have agreed to meet once a month and explore their understanding of community development through the presentation of case studies, so that a common language and agenda could be established moving forward.
We look forward to the coming months and years to see the network grow, particularly in countries where we have limited or no connections currently and to see how the Asia-Pacific Network can contribute to the global IFS community and movement as a whole.
LCSA would like to thank those who assisted in this initial phase of developing the Asia-Pacific Network: Bill Yan (Counterpoint Community Services), Keummi Joo (LCSA), Eunice Cheung and Nessa Chen (Hong Kong City University).
If your organisation is in the Asia-Pacific region and/or you're interested to learn more or join in future Asia-Pacific Network meetings, please contact LCSA.