NNI update

NNI update – reflections on the NNI pilot

The No-name Initiative (NNI) is a transformational group process, that
supports personal responsibility and accountability. Our stake is: Active and
empowered citizenship for us all!

In June 2010 the NNI pilot facilitations kicked off and, as promised, I will share a few reflections on what

The NNI group process does not seek to produce solutions, but to have all stakeholders voice
their own opinions and then move between perspectives to enhance understanding of the
bigger picture. The sense of “resolution” often reached during such a process, is therefore on
an emotional level rather than practical level. This process supports the belief that once we
feel heard and understood as human beings, it then becomes easier to let go of our own
opinions and invite in change and transformation. From the new emotional field, change and
practical solutions becomes easier.
During the NNI pilot many participants expressed their relief in being able to voice their
concerns and feelings in a safe environment. During the group processes, participants did well
in moving around trying out different perspectives around their topic and learning what it feels
like to view an issue from many different perspectives. There were poignant moments as
participants longed and hungered for the same things. There were also powerful, spiritual-like
moments as participants became more aware of their “sameness” as opposed to their
differences. In these moments the participants connected as fellow human beings. The groups
reached levels of understanding that were clearly linked to a “sentient” level.

Two major issues were addressed by the groups:

1) xenophobia and
2) “drugs in the community”

Some reflections on the group processes are offered below. The personal
commitment structures of the participants will not be recounted here as it was
held with confidentiality in the groups.
1) Xenophobia:
The group identified the following stakeholders: government, church leaders, foreign nationals, South African
citizens, mediators, business leaders
The group process signified much of the current reality in SA. During the first hour of this
process, the voice of SA citizens where margilinalised and an intellectually driven debate
emerged between the business leaders, government and church leaders. The SA citizens
were continually “put down” and blamed by voices with more power and rank. This “current
reality” was reflected back to the group. That helped the group to change from the current
status quo and communicate differently. The SA citizens became more empowered to have
their voice be heard. The process reached a hot spot when the SA citizens finally accessed
their underlying emotional field of hopelessness, lack of self-belief and disempowerment. They
did not know how to access or use many of the support systems available to them, but more
importantly they did not believe they actually had what it takes to succeed in SA. Their anger
and frustration was only a mask for a deep underlying lack of confidence and self-belief. By
acknowledging this, the field in the group changed from blame to more support and
2) Drugs in the community:
The group identified the following stakeholders: Drug lords, Community Leaders, Police,
NGO!s, Youth, Parents, Mothers, Absent fathers.
It was a very small group which resulted in having only one person
representing each stakeholder at the start of the group process. As the
process built momentum, it became very dynamic with participants changing
from one stakeholder!s perspective to the next. Voices were heard from the
“mothers” who felt alone and confused in how to deal with their teenagers, right through to
“absent fathers” feeling demoralised, guilty, disempowered and clearly not coping. As the
process progressed there were more honest emotions and feelings coming to the surface,
being heard, and processed. “Communication” came out on top as the greatest need for all of
the stakeholders. Different options were explored in how to increase communication and
mutual support between the police, NGO!s and community leaders.

So what is the No-name Initiative?
The NII is a facilitation process with two broad functions: It provides the platform for a
transformational group process, and generates the space for creating personal accountability

The group process:
This particular type of group process draws on Mindell!s Worldwork and sees the group itself
as an energy or entity in its own right. Whilst the facilitators stay tuned in to the different voices
in the group, the major focus is placed on the “being” of the group itself: thus the space or the
energy that is created by the group. The facilitators stay aware of the emotional “climate” or
“weather” in the room i.e.: Is it calm and peaceful with a sense of resolution? Is it dark, stormy
and apprehensive? Is there a sense of hopelessness and overwhelm? The more precise the
facilitators are in noticing the emotional or energetic “weather” in the room, the more clearly it
can be reflected back to the group. The purpose is to constantly show the system to itself. This
brings a sense of relief (as the system is being heard) as well as an opportunity for change.
The facilitators also stay aware and track the 3 different levels of communication in the group:
Intellectual – Participants talk about the facts of the matter, they analyse, or engage in
intellectual debate.
Emotional – Participants talk about their emotional experience, how it effects them or what
touches them.
Sentient/oneness – Participants become aware of what connects them, rather than what
separates them. They have a sense of oneness or sameness and perhaps they even connect
to higher dreams and purpose.
In addition to the above implicit roles of the facilitators, their role is also to guide the following
- sorting and filtering through different issues and topics
- framing, naming of topics and establishing consensus
- identify roles and ghost roles and make sure they are all invited into the group process
- noticing and framing emotional fields, communication styles
- noticing and framing resolutions and changes in the energy field

Personal accountability:
In the second part of the NNI process the participants are supported in a personal process that
enables self-reflection and the generation and creation of ideas in which they can become
personally responsible for the future they want to create in SA. Accountability structures are
put in place which is followed by a personal commitment ceremony.