Editorial - November 2nd, 2009
...And Now The Hard Work Begins
A ratified constitution, a new logo, the Basse Association (BA) is gradually but certainly emerging out of the early-stage constraints that often characterize the dilemmas of infant community groups. The beginning is usually a rough and tumble exercise in confidence-building. It is the make or break point because the risks for early collapse tend to increasingly gnaw at the minds of those laying the groundwork, the functional basis for growth and success. For a young organization, concerns about the distance between the magnitude of the mission and the inherent capacities to fulfill this very mission tend to be a nagging issue. This can easily shatter the big dreams that went into initiating an idea as bright as community development. This is more so when volunteerism, the dual act of personal willingness and ability, becomes the driving force for organizational strength and maturity.
Relying on moral suasion to bring people together around wonderful objectives is usually difficult but it is the right approach, for it is both democratic and self-deterministic. It is appeal over dogma; choice over compulsion; dialogue over hassle. It is recognition of the ability in people to allow the virtue of freewill determine their obligations to one another. Look at where we are and how far we have come. The careful reader of this website may have realized that the BA was founded just a little over four months ago by a handful of people, who barely foresaw the enormity of their appeal that would stretch far beyond the confines of their limited companionship. What started as a trickle (four active members) is fast developing into a torrent (47 and counting). This represents a great leap --- of the engaging and consultative spirit of the membership of the BA; of the virtues of consensus and dissent; of the abilities to improvise and synchronize.
The drafting of the constitution was a huge, collaborative effort. In the beginning, one person sent out an early draft and then a group toyed with it, adding here, subtracting there. Ideas poured in. The minds, some of them, sophisticated in legalese, went to work. Hard. And then the general membership had the chance to submit in their ideas, suggestions and observations. The final draft --- what you may have already read somewhere --- represents the adroit productivity of us all, those that participated behind the scenes and those who took to the forum to air their views and even those whose lack of contribution was more than compensated by their muted good intentions and prayerful wishes for the collective effort. In the end, we are all better for it.
But after the ratification of the constitution, what now? The hard work begins: electing an executive body and charging them with the responsibility of conceptualizing and executing policies on behalf of the BA. And working towards an organization; both expansionary in its membership rolls and effectual in its programs on the ground. This calls for lots of dogged determination and constancy. It won't be easy and nobody said it was going to be so. An organization like the BA composed of different generational entities, spanning different continents, and which is presiding over a multi-faceted urban agenda, is bound to face hurdles if it now then further down the road. But this is no cause for pessimism. We can do this, folks! It requires putting in place the right balance of institutional structures and leaders to help us get over the Hela Kunda hump and, viola!, into the smiling, beautiful town that Basse ought to be as we know it.
That Basse needs every ounce of our collective energy and support hardly admits of disagreement. And that there exists within our collectivity a huge reservoir of professional talents and skills contributory to and necessary for, the accomplishment of our aspirations for Basse also hardly warrants any disputing. What is required of us all is an unwavering and expanding commitment to the ongoing process of making the BA relevant to Basse and contribute to its well-being. The potency of collective interest in an ideal as consequential as ours has the potential for great dividends. The late American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson appropriately advises us: "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
From the Editors