Atacama- a great example of strategic partnerships

By Yelmo Duran, GFSC Chile

In March 2015 devastating floods and mudslides hit the Atacama Region of Chile near Antofagasta.  The mudslides quickly became one of the most damaging disasters in Chile’s history.  GFSC Chile immediately began looking for opportunities to help and for ways that our model of emotional recovery and resilience could be of value to the people of the region.  Two months later, May of 2015, in Santiago Chile, we conducted our first training of facilitators in using the model and reinforce the “multiplier effect” of our efforts.

One of our aims has always been to reach out to collaborate with other organizations.   We had several conversations with potential partners.  One was ICA-Chile. So in that May 2015 first workshop, we invited two facilitators from the Institute of Cultural Affairs-Chile.

This invitation paid off in a big way when, one year later, ICA Chile, in partnership with GFSC, was awarded a grant from the Regional Council for Persons with Disabilities in that same Atacama Region..

This second workshop was targeted to 75 persons with special needs and their families.  Beginning in March 2016, we have now completed two of five scheduled grant components.  Between fifteen and twenty people attended the five hour workshop which combined the emotional/social and resilience/recovery aspects of the GFSC model with the ICA model of strategic planning.    Isabel de la Maza of ICA Chile and Yelmo Duran of GFSC Chile co-facilitated the workshops.

The comments and facial expressions of the participants showed how grateful they were for the opportunity they needed to express their feelings and further their understanding of what happened and how it affected others. And now they can move forward with this understanding and sharing of a painful experience that brings them together.

And, as in every fruitful collaboration, GFSC Chile and ICA Chile were both enriched.  We look forward to more learning and are grateful for the opportunities.  Synergy works!