Community Organising graduate profile: Emma Wasson

April 7, 2015 | By: James Whelan

change makers graduation

Emma Wasson (centre) is a graduate of the 2014 Fellowship program and is currently Community Organising with The Wilderness Society.

Why is community organising an important part of the solution in my community?

A movement is only as strong as the people and the connections within it. Community organising is an important part of building cohesion in any community. We are stronger when we are united and are moving forward together. Community organising is important to the Wilderness Society because it recognises the need to build a much larger and more powerful movement of people working together if we are to reach some ambitious goals to protect nature, indefinitely for all time. This is especially important given the threats that put nature and society at stake, least of all climate change which affects us all.

Training is a powerful tool to give back to the community and can facilitate sharing amongst networks, develop self-efficacy, commitment and passion toward a cause.

In an era of climate change, community connectivity and resilience are key to how we will respond and adapt to challenges now and ahead, training can provide some of the tools and relationships that can help support us as we evolve as a society.

How has the Community Organising Fellowship impacted on my work?

The Community Organising Fellowship provided train the trainer style sessions which further motivated and prepared me to design a structured training program for the Wilderness Society Sydney called Wild Change Makers! As a result I have now trained a cohort of nine participants who completed six training sessions over a period of three months which was book-ended with an awards night and celebration!

This training shared skills in community organising and campaigning case studies, and involved coordinating other experience staff across the organisation to participate. I also learnt a lot in the process! This new Wild Change Makers cohort will continue to meet regularly as an action group post course.  

One of my favourite quotes about community organising is: 

When spiders unite they can tie lions down ~ I saw this quote on a placard at a protest, I’m not sure where it came from or who said it but it has always stuck with me because of the imagery it conjures up. I feel this is very symbolic for how community organising can build power and collective impact for the social and environmental justice movements. 

About the Author

James Whelan

James Whelan

James is founding co-director of the Change Agency and co-director of the Community Organising Fellowship.

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