Global Research Assembly


July 4, 1979



I bring you greetings from the 200 people in Kreuzberg 0st who participated in stake Town Meetings this year. Kreuzberg 0st, a community in West Berlin is located entirely within East Germany. Each of these 200 community people have attended a Community Forum in their house. An apartment building in Germany is referred to as a "house."

Whenever a Human Development Project is on a plateau it requires a major maneuver (we used to call it a Cobra strike) to get it moving. Kreuzberg 0st had become a one­campaign project and to make matters worse, the "maintaining" bug had taken hold of us; keep the Cafe going, pay the rent on all the facilities, keep the Guild and Secretariat meeting. The community was operating with the idea that the ICA was going to do everything. Of course, when the auxiliary all left early last fall for the Continental Council in Brussels, the Street Festival in Kreuzberg 0st came off just fine. However, when we returned the local residents all stepped back. Therefore, we held a gigantic planning session in September, working through the vision of the Consultation, the contradictions, the proposals, and the tactics. We forged out "New Directions" in which we said that housing was the key socioeconomic contradiction and the leverage for participation among the Turkish community which is 40% of the Kreuzberg 0st population. This particular contradiction affects all aspects of corporate patterns. We re­read the Kreuzberg 0st Consult Summary Document and discovered that six of the original 12 contradictions relate to style, participation, vision, citizen rights and housing. Then, we made a list of the tactics that became the swirl of the Cobra Strike ­­ tactics 3, 4, 7, 8, 18, and 19: building renovation, neighborhood meeting places, community identity, celebrative events, volunteer service corps, engagement design, and local residence forums.

During quarters II, III, IV and I we have put together what I am now calling a convergence of campaigns. The phases that we went through were: testing the model in quarter II, applying and accelerating it in quarter III, and focusing it in quarter IV in one particular house. The next phase was for the project staff to take a back seat in the leadership as there is a lot of confidence now in the houses and they are meeting largely on their own. At first, our rationale was to work by stake quads. We held four Town Meetings in and around the major intersection which links our cafe, community center, and children's facility, plus one in an apartment nearby. Flyers in German and Turkish were distributed to each flat in about 25 apartment buildings; these are all five­story walk­ups. Then we visited residents in each building during the week and on the day of the Town Meeting. Yet the results were not fantastic. If there were ten people around the table we thought we had a big group. The only exception was the Town Meeting held in the apartment house. The last­minute recruitment within their building resulted in more participants than all the long hours of flyer distribution and visiting up and down the block. In our evaluation at the end of quarter II we said, "Why not do awakenment by houses?"

The step­by­step methodological procedures for this mini­town meeting has since that time been the backbone of all the town meetings held in West Germany in the Town Meeting campaign These procedures came out of the wrestling in quarter II. In quarter III we prepared for the first house Town Meeting. It was held January 20 with 15 people present. It took a month to find a host who was willing to risk having such a revolutionary event take place in her own living room. It was recruited by taking the same flyers around to every resident­­­that is 28 families in one house­­­ two buildings front and back. Are you familiar with the style of architecture in Germany? There is a hinterhof­­ or a back yard­­ in the middle between the front and back houses. Then all the details of food, butcher paper, tape for wall papering the walls, list of participants and a format for instant documentation were ready. Three o'clock came and went and no one was there. Four of us sat in the living room re­maneuvering. All our well­laid plans were smashed. Finally, one of us jumped up and said, "Well, we have to go out and get them." Within 20 minutes 12 people were drinking coffee and chatting a little nervously and so, miracle of miracles, the first house meeting for just one house was held.

Last month we had a fine evaluation with a group of local people and the host of that first meeting said, "At least 50% of the 28 families in this house are very concerned and very interested in continuing." The major proposal that came out of that January 20th Town Meeting, which was for the renovation of their hinterhof (backyard) has finally gotten a real break open. The owner has given permission to do the renovation. How many months did that take? It is a key step to make sure that hinterhof renovation does happen. Another major event was a Seniors Tea ­­ to honor the Seniors who comprise a third of the population of Kreuzberg 0st. In May a House Festival or Hausfest was held and everyone in the house had a great time.

The breakloose had to do with the winning method that the Town Meeting is. The key is awakenment. A project is always struggling with awakenment. Awakenment is a job that is never done whether you are an urban or a rural project. It is the same. We did the job of awakenment by the geographical units of our grid ­­­ the stakes. We found colleagues willing to risk. The hardest job of all was getting people to say yes to being a host for a Town Meeting. The suspicion in the city is high ­­ we know this from Fifth City. There is no self­conscious social community in the urban ­­­ no natural sense of community; it must be built from the bottom up. The solution, and this was the key, is the consistent and continuous visitation telling the victory story of that first house. This story gave us the advantage so that people began to say yes to hosting a Town Meeting. It was the right time ­­­ and we had a red hot community issue in housing.

One of the community residents bought a house, Wrangelstrasse 69, in stake two. He came to the project looking for help to engage the residents in creating and carrying out plans for low­cost, effective building modernization. Our beginning Town Meeting in his house had 27 people present. It was wild! It was difficult to do all that we perfectionists in course set­up for years have done; getting the furniture arranged, getting people to sit down, getting a coffee cup in everybody 's hand. Then everybody gave a speech! It was hard to tell who the orchestrator was. And Willie, the owner of the building was one of those who gave a speech, in fact more than one. Then the architect gave a speech, and then our town meeting orchestrator. The second Town meeting was a Turkish one, in two languages, German and Turkish. We wrote the first Turkish song at a Town Meeting in the whole world. In the third Town Meeting the participants built a six­month timeline of what they were going to do. So you see they were already into a continuing stake dynamic. Some of these houses have had 10 meetings following the initial town meeting. The visible sign in this house, Wrangelstrasse 69, was painting the facade of the building which took all day and involved many of the residents.

The learnings from these maneuvers have to do mostly with replication and with using the stakes as the geographical unit to force the comprehensive. The stake dynamic is the entry point for project engagement. It also uncovers the local leadership. People in Kreuzberg 0st, who came out of the Town Meeting in their houses are now working in the children's program, are printing the community newspaper, and are working in the Cafe Laterne. Visitation is life and death. Even though we are concentrating these days on massive events you can not drop the tension; stake care means stake calling. There is no substitute for that. We have to stay on top of where the community is in its thinking; otherwise we become abstracted from new aspects of contradiction and communication. Newspaper delivery is a great gimmick to enable the calling. We learned that the stake dynamic is finally somebody else's show. It is not just the fact that we were in a second language country. The style the Germans show by arguing and taking a different point of view because that is rational means that your consensus is hard earned. Because of that learning I think what we uncovered is a focus of primal community­­­ you cannot manipulate the results of awakenment.

The fifth thing we learned is about expansion. The project must have new blood from the community constantly. This is the way to keep the danger of a clique of special people or a bureaucracy of decision makers from developing within the community. Consequently, if a project is to expand and to involve more and more of the residents, then one staff person assigned full time to stake implementation is necessary. The sixth learning deals with service to the establishment, both the public and private sectors. The City of Berlin recognizes the need for neighborhood renewal in the District of Kreuzberg. The project is serving the establishment by linking city resources to local man and engaging him in the revitalization of his local community. Turning around the negative image of the community and recovering community pride takes place where people live. In Kreuzberg 0st when you see a house facade painted the motivation of the residents and the consensus factor in the community has been released.

Finally, house meetings within the stake dynamic are easy enough to initiate. This year two percent of the community has been awakened by the mere fact that 200 people participated in Town Meetings. However, in order for there to be project­wide awakenment we saw that two percent of the people in every stake will need to be awakened. That is our challenge.



This is the report of the Woburn Lawn Project from Area Havana. In the area of Corporate Patterns, the Project has concerned itself with a broad base of community participation through neighborhood stakes, action guilds and community assemblies. The stakes meet weekly to study and reflect together, and plan stake action. Each stake has created a vista with a flower garden, bus shed, welcome sign with the stake slogan, and benches. Each stake also named the lanes and pathways in its neighborhood. I live in Stake 1; our slogan is "we are alive" and my home is on Hill Crescent.

The stakes have funded all of their projects through local fund­raising events such as dances, the sale of peanuts, and family donation. They have their organized stake workdays to get the jobs done. Stake Leaders Training for 25 local leaders once a month includes writing stake curriculum and learning the methods to keep the stakes moving. The stakes also support community­wide events. For example, they provide the food for weekly community workday lunches. The five action guilds also meet weekly and are responsible for the work in health, education, farming, building and industry.

Once a quarter in a community assembly, we decide the projects that we will accomplish the next quarter, and hear reports from the stakes and guilds. As a result of doing all of these tactics, 79% of the families in Woburn Lawn participate in some community event on a regular basis. Eleven new community gardens have been built. Forty­four families have landscaped their own homes, thirty families have built new driveways, and thirty­seven families have planted new food gardens. We think that Woburn Lawn looks good.

Many communities today face the problem of having only a small group of leaders who make the decisions for the whole community. Our breakthrough is in knowing that we are all leaders and we can use our stakes, guilds and assemblies to decide things together.

We have learned many things about making the stakes come alive. First, the stake leaders need to visit every home, every week. We do this by delivering our Voice to each home every week. This gives us a chance to talk to our neighbors. Second, a regular community calendar helps people to participate. People then know that every Monday is Workday, every Tuesday is Stake Meeting, and so on. One week it rained very hard, and only five people came to our stake meeting, but we had it anyway. Holding to the regular calendar is important. Third, it is important for the stakes to be always planning and carrying out activities. These activities should focus on the stake, like beautification and clean­up but they should also be activities which support community­wide efforts. Finally, we have learned that it is important for stake leaders to meet regularly for training in methods so that the stakes can be self­sustaining.

We are developing new patterns of being a community that allows all the people to participate, and that is important for the future.



Greetings from the people of Korea and our colleagues, staff and villagers of the Kuh Du E Ri Human Development Project. Kuh Du E Ri is a beautiful small mountain village which is located on the northeast side of Korea near the de­militarized zone ­- the DMZ. It has a population of 550 people and 86 families. About four years ago, 40% of the village lived in the mountains as "slash and burn" farmers. I don't know if you know that term or not, but they burned the mountain and planted crops, and harvested and moved about like gypsy farmers. But the Korean government decided to protect the natural forest so the people were moved out. When they were moved from the mountain to Kuh Du E Ri they had no land, but the government did provide them with small houses. Therefore, when we started this project, this village was one of the poorest villages in Korea and was also isolated by surrounding mountains.

In the Consult we discovered several major contradictions. One of the major contradictions was in their pattern of buying and selling. They sold crafts at a very low price and then had to buy their needed goods at a high price. Village income for one family was about $2,000 and if you think of an average of five in a family that is $400 per person. We estimated that they were losing about $1,000 per family each year in just the buying and selling methods they were using. Another contradiction was that they had moved from the mountain without any land. That was a big contradiction.

When we started the project, our first concern was how we could solve these contradictions in the economic arena. So we started with the economic programs. I want to tell you of some of the sub­tactics of our economic programs. The first of the sub­tactics was the Common Village Treasury. This is like a small village bank. 100% of the 86 families in Kuh Du E Ri participate in the Common Village Treasury. Immediately after the consultation a Village Assembly was held and the Village Treasury was created complete with the election of a board of directors, establishment of a membership fee, and decisions as to which businesses would be launched. Most of the people had just moved from the mountain so there was very little in the way of organizational structure in the village. That is why we decided to organize the Village Treasury.

The second sub­tactic was the Common Village Store. In that same first Village Assembly we decided to capitalize the new Village Store through the Village Treasury with an initial investment of $4000. Today the Village Store properties are worth $20,000 and employs two people.

The third sub­tactic was the Common Piggery. The piggery was started with 10 pigs purchased by the Village Treasury and used a rented building to house the pigs. Today, there are three piggery facilities owned by the village and there are 100 pigs. Every week there are new baby pigs and the pigs are sold on the market. The four stakes decided to build the three buildings by designating which work would be done ­- the foundation by one stake, the cement block walls by another stake, and the roof by still another. One piggery was built by the four stakes in one week. With an original investment of $4000 the total properties of the piggery are worth around $20,000. One day a businessman and a government special agent visited our village. As we walked around, the government special agent, a woman asked "what is that smell?" as if it were something very bad to smell. I said, "That is the smell of money. It will make us a rich village!" She did not seem to understand what we were talking about. When we reached the piggery she said, " Oh, now I understand what you meant when you said, 'That's the smell of money.' "

Sub­tactic four is the Common Cow Barn. Before the project there were 200 cattle in the village owned by individual families. The Common Cow Barn was begun with 11 beef cattle and the cow barn buildings were built by the four stakes the same way as the piggeries. We have recently made advance payment on 14 milk cows and this month we expect to receive 14 milk cows from New Zealand.

These are just four out of more than ten economic programs we have going. I selected these as the major ones and now I want to talk to you about our key breakthrough and our learnings.

The key breakthrough for us in doing Human Development, especially in Corporate Patterns and in the economic programs, is the immediate establishment of the Local Economic Vehicle (the Village Treasury) which acted as a comprehensive financial organization. This allowed the village to operate like a corporation involving the total community consensus and total community engagement.

Our learnings in Kuh Du E Ri are: First, economic programs can support the social programs. Our project is one year old, but in the past year, we have built nine buildings. They are very big buildings and very nice buildings. Before the consult was held even, the village had decided to build a village hall. We asked a construction company for an estimate as to how much it would cost to build the nine buildings. They said it would cost about $100,000, but if the villagers built it themselves it would cost only about one­tenth of that, that is $10,000, because the village could provide the skills and labor free. Our buildings were completed in that way. Many people ask us how we built those buildings. We tell them, "We built these buildings ourselves in forty days!" Construction companies sometimes take several months to build such buildings, so when I tell this kind of a story, people do not believe us. They seem to imply that I am telling a lie. But it is true!

The second learning is, using the Village Assembly for the decision making, the Stakes for the corporate work, and the guilds for management and personnel allows the whole village to become involved. The whole village is motivated by touching all the economic and social structures. The Agricultural Guild manages the piggery, cow barn and vinyl houses; the Industrial Guild manages the village truck and cement block factory; and the Commercial Guild manages the village store, the village treasury and the kerosene store.

The third learning is that common economic enterprises catalyze individual economic enterprises. Before the Common Piggery was created only one family raised pigs; now about 80% of the families have pigs. We have a special contract with the Purina company ­ a company that provides livestock feed. Every week we pick up five tons of feed from the factory and then distribute it to the village. We make $100 a week profit and provide the feed to the villagers at a cost lower than they can buy it in the city.

Our fourth learning was that economic programs are the motivational doors for social and human development. Economic programs excite and engage the men of the community especially, who then push the other aspects of the project and thus, finally, involve the total community.

Our fifth learning is that when a community stands up and becomes a genuine model community, a support system is catalyzed almost automatically. We have had businessmen visit Kuh Du E Ri and, upon seeing what has happened, volunteer to donate in­kind materials.

Our sixth learning is that because of the Saemaul Undong (New Community Movement in Korea), our projects in Korea are spring boards into other nations. When a Malaysian official recently visited Kuh Du E Ri, he noticed the grid and name of Sungai Lui in the village hall; when he returned to Malaysia he looked up the ICA. This has also happened with visitors from Indonesia, the Philippines and many other nations.

Our seventh learning is that economic success breeds total community development. Last year, the family income in Kuh Du E Ri was $2,000 per family. This summer, it is $6400 per family. By next summer, it will be around $10,000 per family. This rapid increase in income not only improves the physical well­being of the people, but because it occurs within a Human Development Project, provides for social and human development and motivates the people to care for their neighbors out of gratitude.

When we started the project and people looked at the vision chart, everyone in the village said it was impossible. Everyone now believes that it is possible! And after what has happened in our village, the government has decided to put in new dams for the irrigation system. The government will provide the skills and materials for the new dam and the villagers will provide the labor. I would guess that we can complete the dam this year. If we can complete the dam, the income will be two times what it is now. One of our contradictions, again, is that we have a lack of water. If we complete that new dam, the villagers will be able to put sprinkler systems to every farm there. Also, the government has decided to build 25 new houses as model houses in our village. It will be started in September. Also, the village itself has planted 5,000 trees. If you get the chance to come to Kuh Du E Ri next year, you will not recognize that this village was once a poor farm village. The villagers are saying that they are building one of the number one villages of the world. I believe that the Kuh Du E Ri villagers are showing this possibility of local people to the whole world.