During the 2016 Global Symposium on Overcoming Social Isolation and Deepening Social Connectedness, we had the opportunity to connect with many individuals including youth, Indigenous Elders, practitioners and other professionals who shared their insights, experiences and strategies in overcoming social isolation to accelerate a global movement of unity and inclusiveness within their communities.
We spoke with Marlene Ogawa, Program Manager at the Synergos Institute, who brought forth unique perspectives from across the world, as she manages the Synergos social connectedness program in Southern Africa. Her main focus is on community care workers in the country and assisting them to better understand social connectedness and “identifying their levels of strength and resilience” so they can truly make a difference in their roles.
Marlene shared with us what she has learned about social connectedness over time stating, “It happens first in the individual and then extends to the wider group.” She believes that true human connection must first begin on a deeply personal level, “and you can’t, as an individual, remove yourself from the work that you do in the communities.” She continues to develop this idea by saying that the entire social connectedness movement has to start small and then grow – much like her learned experience of the importance of starting with the individual and then focusing on the wider group/community.
Watch the full interview with Marlene below and listen to her thoughts on social connectedness in practice. You can also access this interview and the others conducted by visiting the Social Connectedness YouTube channel.