Moving Forward

As members of the CCLOW Board, our attempts to understandimage and interpret this changing landscape has forced us to question and to reflect. We have suffered the despair of deciding to discontinue publishing our highly-acclaimed and much-loved magazine Women's Education des femmes. We have grappled with the chaos where it seems there is no clear direction. But, we have hopefully taken the steps necessary that will allow us to renew our hope, our energy, and our vision.

We have
the steps
that will
allow us
to renew
our hope,
our energy,
and our

The Struggle to Renew Our Vision
Our attempts, as a Board, to transform CCLOW began with diligence at the 1997 Board and Annual General Meetings. It was at this time that we first experienced "open space technology" as a mean of reinventing the organization to fit with the changing landscape. At this meeting, "champions" emerged who were committed to ensuring the survival of CCLOW. Four areas of focus were identified including, technology as an operating tool, project-based funding, mission, and organizational structure/membership.

As a means of maintaining continuity, a decision was made to freeze the Board of Directors as a means of helping to achieve the goals we had established. As part of this work, a commitment was made by board members to make better and more consistent use of new electronic technology, such as e-mail and electronic conferencing. All board members obtained e-mail capability and list-serves were established for the Board as well as for various committees and working groups. In retrospect, the increased use of technology allowed us to remain in more frequent contact and to operate the business of our organization more expediently. However, it also came with some challenges and limitations, as we continued to deal with the consequences of only being able to bring board members together for one "face-to-face" meeting in the year.

In the on-going effort to diversify our funding base, CCLOW explored new ways to work with partners as a means of meeting the learning needs of women while supporting the national office and the infrastructure of CCLOW. Unfortunately, efforts to explore new working relationships and funding sources were not successful.

In addition, CCLOW's mission statement was changed to reflect a refined focus on activities - to provide and connect educators of adults with women-positive resources related to policy, research, practice, and advocacy, and to lead in the development of such ressources where gaps exist. this statement built on what CCLOW has done in the past - conduct research, provide much needed resources for adult educators and create learning materials for women learners. However, the renewed mission statement was received with mixed reviews from members who continued to be concerned about losing some of the original goals, which had guided the organization over the past 20 years.

Board members also agreed that the current organizational structure had many limitations and needed to be re-modeled to meet the challenges of the changing landscape. A discussion paper was developed which out-lined the essence of a regionally-based structure for CCLOW. Consultations were held with members across the country. And, again there was a mixture of responses - some felt it was inevitable and basically the only viable option, while others were adamant that adopting a regional structure was only another step in our ongoing decline.

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