The value of sharing person-centred approaches internationally

08 August 2016

Since the early months of 2016, and in collaboration with Dimensions and IPCAI, we have been involved in an incredibly exciting international buddy project, linking Dimensions staff in the UK, with IPCAI life members in India.

ipcai_team_at_officeThe fundamental objective of the partnership is to bring people together to share learning about how person-centred practices are being used within different contexts, and to provide people with the opportunity to problem solve with an international partner and inspire others to adopt a person-centred approach to make a positive contribution to their society.

Since the inception of the project in Spring 2016, we have matched 20 members of staff from Dimensions, with 20 life members of IPCAI. In order to do this, we asked each applicant to complete their one-page profile, which we used to match people to a buddy that had shared interests and aspirations for the future. Each buddy communicates regularly via the medium of their choice, some using Skype, others using Facebook and email. So far, the majority of the conversations that have take place have focussed on getting to know one another, with agreements being put in place about the regularity of communication and each person outlining their hopes and aspirations for the project.

In addition to the one-to-one communication element of the project, we also host a webinar every 4-6 weeks, where all of the buddies are invited to join and communicate with their colleagues more widely. During these webinars, we try to focus on a specific element of the buddy relationship, as well as exploring together the implementation of a specific person-centred thinking tool, and examining how it is helping us to make a positive contribution in a certain context. Throughout last week’s webinar, we spoke about one-page profiles, and people shared their experiences of creating their profiles, as well as sharing hints and tips about how profiles can be used more effectively. It was truly wonderful to hear about the diversity of settings in which profiles are being used: from developing profiles with our children in the UK, to using profiles in conjunction with government officials in India. Moreover, the passion with which people talk about person-centred practices, as well as the enthusiasm with which they’re approaching this project, fills me with excitement about what can be achieved over the course of this relationship.

It’s my hope that over the coming months I can start sharing some of the inspiring and thought provoking stories coming from the buddies, through regular blog posts. People are already sharing their experiences on our Facebook group and others have started to join us on Groupsite. As the buddy project gathers momentum, it will be wonderful to learn more about the cross cultural applicability of person-centred approaches, and to hear stories about how tools are being used to shape people’s lives in different parts of the world. I’m delighted to be part of this project, and I can’t wait for our next meeting.

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