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
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
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
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
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
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.