Listening projects have been used since the early 1980s to organize in local communities. Trained interviewers go door-to-door asking powerful questions about local issues. Once people become convinced of the interviewers' sincerity, they are only too glad to give their opinions. The interviews often last about an hour, delving deeply into the knowledge, needs and concerns of those present. Their purpose is less to gather data (although that is also a part of it), than to bring the issues to life in the minds and hearts of those being interviewed, and to generate change not by telling but by listening. Often both interviewers and interviewees come to understandings or possibilities they hadn't foreseen, with many interviewees asking how they can take action. Many listening projects simultaneously discover (and bring to life) both community concerns and people who want to do something about them.
Informal listening projects not sponsored by organizations are called "listening to our neighbors programs" http://co-intelligence.org/P-ListenToNeighbors.html.
For more information, contact
Rural Southern Voice for Peace
International Listening Project Training and Resource Center
1036 Hannah Branch Rd.
Burnsville, NC 28714
firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com