Each one of us is born as an individual and dies as an individual. In between these two phases, one has to live effectively and leave the world a better place than he/she found it. None of us can produce her/his best work alone; you need others to teach you, mentor you, and sponsor you and friends to encourage you. Many old age adages, proverbs and quotations attest to this. Among them are:
Two heads are better than one.
Iron sharpens iron.
None of us is as smart as all of us. By Kenwood Blanchard
John Donne’s poem: “ No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main………………
One local proverb loosely translated says: You need a functional set of teeth to chew the meat.
Former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan: Yes we can.
Even the members of a cabinet in a democratic country bear collective responsibility for decisions made in the Cabinet.
In this Digital era, where the internet has become an integral part of our lives, one needs to check out and belong to at least two groups of like-minded people working towards a common goal. You may call it a Tribe or a Community but your combined efforts motivate and energise your Community to participate fully and create change in Society.
Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success.”
My late father always advised me to belong to something bigger than myself if I were to realize my full potential. It was not until many years later that I understood what he had meant: It all had to do with synergy-The creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts.
Now it is absolutely clear to me after reading Ash Hoehn’s They told me there is no ‘I’ in the Team .
He says that when he became the team the team became him. The team absorbs ‘I’………
When the ‘I’ is absorbed then he becomes part of something much more powerful.
This also reminded me that in any chain link fencing, I can be as strong as the strongest and as weak as the weakest.
In a Kindergarten, children are taught to hold hands and stick together in preparation for how they will later live their lives.
In the wild, a pack of the African Wild dogs also known as the Cape dogs, are the best examples of team work or joint efforts. A pack of twenty of them or more lives together, hunts together, eats together. They are very good communicators and among the most efficient hunters. Little wonder then that they always flourish wherever they are.
I have been around for a while and the best example of team work that comes to my mind is the organization of the Cooperative movement in my home country, Uganda. By the late 60’s this movement was at its peak and most farmers belonged to a cooperative society in their district. They grew cash crops like coffee and bought it, sold it together and bargained together with the government of the day for the best price possible. These farmers grew very rich; sent their children to the best schools in the country and some of them to universities abroad, built modern homes and bought lorries to transport the coffee and personal family cars. Farmers have never been that rich. It was all the result of the power of collective action. Later, during the 1979 Liberation War, the Wakombozi of the Tanzanian Defence Forces mistook many of those big houses for government offices where soldiers of the then Uganda Army (enemy of the people) could be hiding. Many such houses were bombed for this reason.
Who can forget the thousands of women textile workers of the Russian Empire who organized marches
that led to the downfall of the Russian Empire in 1917?
And in today’s well connected world, the youths of France organized through Social Media developed an increased political interest. They engaged in the general election of May 2017 and ended up changing the political landscape. Later in June, the youths of Britain actively participated in the general election causing a huge upset in the results.
In December 2018, the military government of Sudan cut subsidies on basic goods like bread and fuel. The Middle-class professionals – doctors, health workers and lawyers, got together under their umbrella organisation, The Sudanese Professional Association(SPA) and organized demonstrations that culminated in the overthrow of President Omar al- Bashir on the 11th April 2019.Since then, they are struggling to work towards forming a civilian –led transition government.
It won’t be surprising to us if similar events occurred in other countries.
Today we have many challenges like extreme climatic changes, deforestation, youth unemployment and Substance Abuse. The best way we can develop locally appropriate solutions which we can own is by working together like the Cape wild dogs.
The Kenyans have one proverb that says: Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.
Working together, we can help to build and improve our communities.
Are you a member of any like-minded group of people striving to give back to your community and aiming at leaving the community better than they found it?