Learning to swim

Attendance used to fluctuate, people would come, then not come. Now, it just keeps going up.
— Edwin, ExCo member

I've been at Grassroot a month now, and in that time I've helped cement one of our strongest relationships. A community in Soweto is fighting for transparency and inclusion in a public housing program, and around this burning issue a movement has started to coalesce. We were connected to them around two months ago, and they've enthusiastically taken to the Grassroot tools. They've also given us some of our most valuable feedback, like asking us to generate automatic “thank yous” to people who attended meetings.

On Saturday, I ran a workshop with their executive committee. The idea was, as in a similar session six weeks ago, to deepen use and relationships among our early anchors and broaden use among other committee members. There were some of the usual difficulties—the member with the key to the venue forgot it, so there was a bit of waited around, during which I helped one member set up a new email account. Once we got going all the members were enthusiastic, and by the end had set up their profiles, created some groups of their own, and were starting to call meetings and votes. At the end, they took advantage of being together to have a substantive and delicate meeting with us there—a nice indication of the trust they hold in us by now.

On the way out, we spoke to a couple of members about the effect the tools are having. “A while ago,” one said, ”we were seen as just a nuisance. Now, with the communication and people coming, they see the community is behind us.”