Complete list of 2017 posts

(Created with Wordle)

This is a complete list of the posts I published in 2017 with the number of views they received in 2017. I thought I would share it as some of you might be interested in seeing the number of views I receive for individual posts. As you can see, there are quite a few posts that don’t receive many views—while it is nice that people read the blog, I don’t just blog to receive views.

I try not to concentrate on posts that will generate lots of views and I also don’t want to play the game of visiting other people’s blogs and commenting just to drive people to the blog. Continue reading

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Some blog stats for 2017 (Transparency report)

Total monthly blog views (2011-2017)

Last year I started regular transparency reports to share some stats on my blog in case anyone is interested. Even though I don’t generate any income from the blog, I think it is worth sharing how the blog is going and what types of posts are of most interest.

When I started blogging I had little idea how my blog compared to others and even now I don’t really know. While blogging isn’t all about how many views are received, it is still important.

I have a free WordPress blog (with the “no ads” upgrade) which works well for me, so the following are based on the stats available through WordPress. Continue reading

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Special days and dates for the environment – 2018

(Photo: Pixabay)

Here are some significant international and national days/weeks for 2018 that focus on environmental issues.  I’ve also created a list of days and dates focusing on families and communities. Please let me know if I have missed any important ones. (Days marked with * are mainly for Australia.)

Please note that some of the websites are not updated for 2018 yet.


World Wetlands Day – Friday, 2 February 2018

Business Clean Up Day – Tuesday, 27 February 2018 *

International Polar Bear Day – Tuesday, 27 February 2018 Continue reading

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Special days and dates for families and communities – 2018

(Photo: Eddie O’Reilly)

There are many international and national days/weeks that focus on issues facing families and communities. The following are some of the more significant ones in 2018. Please let me know if I have missed any important ones. (While most of them are international, days marked with * are mainly for Australia.)

I have also created a list of days and dates for the environment.

Please note that some of the websites are not updated for 2018 yet.


International Holocaust Remembrance Day –  Saturday, 27 January 2018


World Day of Social Justice –  Tuesday, 20 February 2018

International Mother Language Day –  Wednesday, 21 February 2018 Continue reading

Posted in Families & parenting, Social change, Working with communities | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Same-sex marriage – finally it’s done!

Yesterday was a historic day with the Australian Parliament overwhelmingly voting in favour of same-sex marriage.

Our family watched it live on TV and to see 130-140 Members of Parliament voting YES with four lonely figures voting NO was a wonderful sight. A few Members decided to abstain (including the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and the current Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce) but most listened to the clear message they had been given by the Australian public.

It would be interesting to see how future generations look back on this moment and how the arguments against same-sex marriage stand the test of time.

Imagine anybody supporting these arguments in favour of slave trade from the 1700s: Continue reading

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Update to my introduction to community engagement

I’ve just updated my introduction to community engagement. As always I’d welcome any feedback or thoughts.

Posted in Families & parenting | 3 Comments

A video and some tips on family engagement

This is a useful short video (produced by the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health) introducing some key concepts relating to engaging families. While its focus is child and youth mental health, it is just as relevant to a range of other contexts.

It emphasises the importance of listening to families, being led by families and building on their strengths and resources—all of which are important in strengths-based practice and asset-based community development.

The Centre also identifies six tips for engaging families at a service delivery level: Continue reading

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Updated my introduction to asset-based community development

I’ve just completed a major update of my post What is asset-based community development (ABCD)?, in preparation for a major revision to a course I’ve been teaching for a while.

I’ve expanded on the importance of it being a community-driven and relationship-driven, added some more recent references and material, and added a useful graphic by Dan Duncan.

I’d love to hear about your experience with ABCD.

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Evaluating the impact of Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops on social capital

Participants from an AVP workshop in Sydney

The NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) have been supporting Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops in Sydney since 2012, and we are in the process of planning an evaluation of the impact of AVP on social capital.

For over 25 years, STARTTS has provided psychological and psychosocial treatment and support to people healing from the scars of torture and refugee trauma, and who are rebuilding their lives in Australia. In particular they support people and communities from refugee backgrounds, including asylum seekers, who were forced to leave their country due to persecution in the context of political conflict, organised violence and human rights violations. STARTTS also supports and resources service providers, educational institutions and volunteer groups to work more effectively with refugees.

AVP workshops are conducted in over 50 countries around the World, indicating that it can be culturally adapted to a range of settings, and they have been used in number of settings where there has been widespread experiences of torture and trauma1-5. AVP workshops are now regularly held with people who come to the workshops through STARTTS and from the broader community.

STARTTS supports the AVP workshops because they recognise that peace-building and reconciliation are important parts of trauma recovery, and see them as important components of their community development work. They also have a commitment to using research as a tool to explore, and share knowledge on, the psychological needs of traumatised refugees. (See for example their report on ‘The glue that binds’: Social capital in refugee communities settling in Australia6).

STARTTS are thus supporting an evaluation of AVP workshops that focuses on the impact of AVP on social capital, self-efficacy (the belief you can have an impact on what happens to you) and responding to conflict, particularly in the context of multi-cultural communities. I am involved in the evaluation not only because I am an AVP facilitator, but also because I hope to make nonviolence greater focus of my work again.

In order to measure the impact, we have identified five main objectives:

  1. Increased self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth
  2. Increased sense of safety and stability
  3. Increased trust
  4. Increased harmony with family and other close social contacts
  5. Strengthened or expanded connections with people from outside one’s immediate community.

Each of these objectives, which are from a social capital evaluation tool developed by STARTTS  and UNSW7, relate to at least one of the AVP objectives identified in Tomlison’ literature review8 and have at least one associated indicator (see below). Continue reading

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It’s simple maths, not a once in a 1000 year phenomenon

(Photo: Pixabay)

There is a Facebook post going around at the moment that says:

Today, if you add your age + the year you were born you will get 2017.

This only happens once every 1000 years!

Beside that fact that the statement is wrong for anybody who hasn’t had their birthday yet this year, the idea that it only happens once every 1000 years is ludicrous.

It is actually the case on 31 December every year. It also works for anybody on any day of the year after their birthday. (Ok you won’t always get 2017, but you’ll get the year you are in.)

By definition, if you add the number of years you’ve lived to the year you were born, you will get the current year.

The main lesson from this is how easily things circulate on Facebook and how fake news can spread quickly! Continue reading

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