Through the HeadStart Programme, Big Lottery Fund (BLF) is providing £75 million for 12 local government-led and charity-led partnerships to pilot interventions aimed at preventing serious mental health conditions in young people in the UK. The goal is to build children’s resilience – that is, their positive development despite adversity – by providing support at home, at school, in the community, and through digital media.

In September 2013, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) launched its Flip the Clinic initiative with a conversation. We gathered at the RWJF headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, with a dozen smart folks from various corners of the health and health-care world – including patients – and asked them how we could do things differently. How could we rethink the routine doctor’s visit to be a more fruitful, more fulfilling part of health care?

What does a poverty alleviation charity like Oxfam and a global food corporate like Unilever have in common? They are both serious about smallholder farmers. More than 2 billion people depend on small farms for their livelihoods; the majority of them struggle with poverty and vulnerability. At the same time, these small farms represent an under-utilised source of food to meet a growing global demand. With investment in skills, knowledge, networks, and technology, small farms could hugely improve their productivity and environmental sustainability.

The idea of working together on smallholder supply chains was born when two senior managers from Oxfam and Unilever attended a learning journey in Honduras as part of the Sustainable Food Lab. In 2010, their collaboration was formalised as a joint project called “Sunrise”, and Azerbaijan was selected as the first country in which they would attempt to build a sustainable supply chain.

The Sunrise team formed a plan to source onion powder from marginalised farmers for use as an ingredient in Knorr brand soups and stocks. Implementation of this plan proved far more challenging than both Oxfam and Unilever had expected. Menka Sanghvi and Mia Eisenstadt from Reos Partners have researched the work done and produced a case study sharing key lessons from this ambitious undertaking.

August 2014 was a ripe period for conversations about the future of Indonesia. In July, the country had held a successful election that saw a new government come to power, which during its transition period was urgently exploring the country’s most important opportunities and challenges. One crucial domain was the country’s energy sector and the many national and international trends that would affect the country’s social, political, and economic evolution.

In this context of government institutions, energy companies, and communities facing an uncertain future, the Presidential Working Unit for Supervision and Management of Development (UKP4) invited 28 leaders from across the energy sector to participate in a strategic conversation about this situation, in which they are stakeholders, and the actions they might take to address the future of energy in Indonesia. The participants included representatives from state-owned enterprises, private companies, and civil society organisations including Greenpeace, along with researchers, politicians, and public servants. Shell Indonesia and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a German foundation, provided resources for the project. The result is the Bandung Scenarios—four scenarios of possible futures of Indonesia’s energy system.

A year and a half ago, in June 2013, José Miguel Insulza, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), presented a two-part “Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas” to the Foreign Ministers of all of the countries in the Americas at the OAS’s annual General Assembly. The first part was an Analytical Report about the past and present of this problem, and the second was a Scenario Report about possible futures.

The preparation of these reports had been mandated a year earlier by the Heads of State of these countries at their Summit of the Americas. The Summit’s host, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, had articulated the imperative for this work. He pointed out that the “war on drugs,” which his country and others in the hemisphere had been pursuing at enormous cost for 40 years, was not being won. In spite of progress in some areas, the problems of drugs had remained terribly and frustratingly stuck, with continued high levels of addiction, incarceration, and violence. “Sometimes we all feel that we have been pedalling on a stationary bicycle,” he said. “We look to our right and our left and we still see the same landscape.” At the conclusion of the Summit, he announced: “We, the region's leaders, held an invaluable discussion on the global drug problem. We agreed on the need to analyse the results of the current policy in the Americas and to explore new approaches to strengthen this struggle and to become more effective. We have issued the OAS a mandate to that end.”

From the Toolkit

 Just as we “check-in” with group members at the beginning of each day of a workshop or meeting, we also “check-out”, or close our workspace, by taking time for personal reflection and sharing at the end of each day.

We usually arrange the chairs in a circle for this activity.

This exercise helps workshop participants share ideas about an issue. It invites input from 100% of participants and flattens power dynamics around who shares ideas in the group. The activity is also useful in supporting introverted thinkers (think first, then talk) to have more space to share their thoughts around extroverted thinkers (talk while formulating the thought). Thus, Flash Cards is a great antidote to discussing ideas in plenary, where the process favours the most powerful and extroverted participants’ styles.

How it works:

Reos is a social enterprise that helps businesses, governments, and civil society organisations address complex social challenges.

We convene, design and facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships and initiatives on issues such as employment, health, food, energy, the environment, security, and peace.

Our approach is systemic, creative, and participative.

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Telling new stories enables us to create new futures. Political leaders in the Americas are beginning to tell new stories about the problems of illicit drugs, and this is enabling them to begin to find new and more effective ways to address these problems.

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