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Samdhana Institute

Samdhana, in Sanskrit, means a peaceful coming together, a giving back.The Samdhana Institute’s vision is for a region where natural, cultural and spiritual diversity are valued and environmental conflicts are resolved peacefully, with justice and equity for all parties. Achieving this requires that communities who directly manage their local natural resources have clear rights, ready recourse to justice, strong and skilled leadership, stable financial resources and access to appropriate technical support.Samdhana is a community of practitioners. It was forned in 2003 by a small group of individuals: conservationists, development practitioners, and human rights activists- the first Samdhana Fellows. They share a commitment of ‘giving back’ what they have learned to the following generations, bringing together skills, knowledge and experience, and extensive local and global networks. The Samdhana Institute offers an institutional home and living community for those who wish to devote more of their time and energy to the work they are committed to and to mentor the next generation.There is growing consensus that conservation and natural resource conflict management efforts are failing but there is a reluctance to fully reflect upon these failures. While commitment and hard work are not lacking among local and international NGOs, often a clear understanding of where they have been, where they are, and where they are going is. Related to this is a systemic problem that many organizations and individuals are so active in responding to the immediate needs of the communities and ecosystems on whose behalf they are working, they rarely take the time to reflect and regroup. When assessment and planning is done, methods used by many organizations often fail to maximize the potential, learning and creativity of their staff.With a growing network of fellows, Samdhana assists in environmental conflict and mediation support and helps local organizations to reflect upon on their approaches to: i) problem identification and strategic planning ii) leading change processes iii) monitoring and assessment and iv) reflection upon effectiveness. The Samdhana approach is to have Fellows work closely with partners over time and during critical periods in program development.Samdhana also provides space at its retreat centers for local groups and networks to come together to reflect upon and share their experiences and perhaps most important, to rest. These gatherings are organized by Fellows who specialize in facilitation and retreat. When reflection is the priority, the learning is captured and shared at local and international levels. Individual retreats or sabbaticals are also welcome and are custom designed.In support of activities outlined above, The Samdhana Institute administers a small grants program in collaboration with the Global Greengrants Network, Packard Foundation, NORAD, The Ford Foundation, IUCN-LLS, American Jewish World Service and Foundation for Philippine Environment.Samdhana fellows abide by Samdhana values and contribute to Samdhana programs that are geared towards nurturing individuals and community groups to develop new or enhance existing skills and benefit from the compounded knowledge of the Samdhana community.The Samdhana Institute is a non-profit organization for insular and mainland Southeast Asia, with an office in Indonesia and the Philippines. We have retreat and meeting centres in Bali, Indonesia and Cagayan de Oro, Philippines.

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