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Global Facilitator Service Corps

Through our support of volunteer facilitators worldwide, GFSC helps communities build their capacity to work through their challenges and create sustainable solutions. GFSC is dedicated to helping communities, groups and institutions address their needs, help people learn how to resolve their differences, care for themselves, solve problems and create sustainable solutions. We mentor, coach and share tools and techniques with volunteer facilitators in local communities, encouraging and supporting the use of local resources to meet local needs.

GFSC believes that people and communities are capable of self-determination and that facilitation is an effective catalyst to build, rebuild and sustain self-reliant communities. By sharing our knowledge, experience and caring, we enable communities, agencies and organizations to identify and achieve their goals.

To encourage and support the development of local, volunteer facilitators networks and enhance professional development, we provide our volunteers with mentoring, materials, methods, resources, collaboration and exchange of ideas. We conduct workshops specifically directed toward disaster and crisis intervention facilitation, community sustainability, working with NGO's and virtual mentoring using culturally appropriate techniques. We also address unique situations as needed. We focus on communities with limited resources. In adition, we publish a monthly e-newsletter, provide e-conference rooms for worldwide communications and invite our volunteers to participate in continuous learning and sharing through our Mentored Pathways program.

GFSC's History

For years, professional facilitators have been called upon to serve community needs in places and situations where the communities do not have the economic resources to pay for these services. Global Facilitator Service Corps, is an outgrowth of the Community Outreach effort of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF). In 2002, the former coordinator of the IAF Communtiy Outreach, Lenny Diamond (currently the President of GSFC), Mirja Hansen, Jim Troxel and Francisco Fernandez brought together a small group of interested, energetic facilitators to form GSFC. Our first 2 day meeting, facilitated by Tim Karpoff, resulted in our mission, vision and some Big Hairy Audacious Goals. We wrote our Bylaws and obtained our 501 c 3 charitable status, rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

Our Board members each bring not only their energy and dedication,but also their ideas, experience and perspective to GFSC. We are grateful for the contributions of all our volunteers and particularly our Board members, past and present for their contributions to shaping Global Facilitators Service Corps.

Since our incorporation in 2002, the demand for our distinctive disaster & crisis intervention (DCI)facilitation model has grown dramatically. This model and our "cascading" delivery philosophy, whereby we train and mentor local facilitators in their own communities so that they can then share the model, train others and spread effective techniques throughout their communities began in 1986.

Gilbert Brenson-Lazan and his then colleague-wife, Dr. María Mercedes Sarmiento Díaz (1947-2003) were very interested in the field of psychosocial reconstruction after natural and social disasters. They worked with the victims of the eruption of the Arenas Volcano and the ensuing avalanche that buried Armero, one of the most beautiful towns in Colombia. Twenty five thousand people lost their lives and another two hundred thousand people were affected by the human and financial loss. Gilbert and Mechas wrote several self-help manuals for adults, children and professionals assisting in recovery efforts. Over the years these manuals have been updated to reflect new research and effective techniques and are available on the GFSC Virtual Library website.

Since that tragedy, nearly one thousand professionals have been trained and mentored in facilitating psychosocial reconstruction throughout Latin America (Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela), as well as in Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Taiwan. Most recently, GFSC has facilitated a dynamic and successful process of community capacity building in New Orleans after the disaster of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Presently we face some tremendous challenges: natural and social disasters hit every social class in every corner of the world. Facilitation techniques are proving to be some of the most effective intervention tools for grief management and psychosocial reconstruction, building the resilience and self-reliance of individuals and communities everywhere.

The success of our support to the institutions and professionals that provide help to the victims and those affected by the tragedy, directly or indirectly, is made possible, in great part, by the hundreds of professionals and other volunteers who have trained to work in this area, and who have donated time and money to train hundreds of facilitators and distribute tens of thousands of manuals.

Our hope and goal is always to reach out to communities before disaster strikes, rather than in reaction to a tragedy.To address the needs of communities everywhere around the world, GFSC takes advantage of existing technology to communicate, mentor, consult with facilitators, communities and organizations where ever they are.

Resource Link: globalfacilitators.org

Leonard Diamond, Board President


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