Centre for Creative Development “Danilo Dolci” is a non-profit organisation composed by youth and adults. Our main field of interest is education.

Our organisation born from the educational and working experience of the great pacifist Danilo Dolci and his collaborators that operated in Trappeto and Partinico, two small towns near Palermo, and in all the region of Sicily. Through popular self-analysis, nonviolent fight, meetings that involved thousands of people, it was possible to create the conditions for a real change and development. The first organisation created by Danilo and his collaborators was constituted in the 50’, the Centre for Studies and Initiatives, and its main aim was to promote the social, economic, cultural and educational development at local and regional (Sicily) level. After this centre transformed in the Centre for Creative Development that had the main aim of promote the reciprocal maeutic approach (innovative approach developed by Danilo Dolci) in schools and educational institutions and train teachers and educators in this innovative and human methodology of education. After Danilo’s dead, in 1998, the organisations becomes to be called Centre for Creative Development “Danilo Dolci”.

Nowadays the main aims of the organisation are:

  • Disseminate the life and work of Danilo Dolci;

  • Promote education to children, youth and adults through the reciprocal maieutic approach;
  • Promote the reciprocal maieutic approach in the school context and at international level;
  • Educate for peace and nonviolence;

  • Educate to group work as a tool for cultural, social and civic promotion;
  • Promote active citizenship and participative democracy between youth people;

  • Promote the grass root participation of all in the development.

The main activities through which the organisation tries to achieve these aims are:

  • Organise maieutic workshops in schools, universities, organisations and institutions;

  • Organise cultural and educational activities that promote the life and work of Danilo Dolci;

  • Make that the books Danilo wrote during his life are published again and organise new anthologies that gather his most important writings;

  • Organise European projects (seminars, training courses, youth exchanges, etc) that involve youth from diverse countries, about the themes of nonviolence, peace, active participation and reciprocal maieutic;

  • Organise European projects in the sphere of adult education using as privileged method the reciprocal maieutic approach.

Danilo Dolci and the reciprocal maieutic approach

Danilo Dolci (1924-1997) was a peacemaker and sociologist who first came to Sicily from the north of Italy in the beginning of the 1950s in order to study the conditions of society and try to find the possible elements of change. He organized the peasants in groups and with them fought with nonviolent actions against the government who didn’t do enough in order to change the tragic situation of people living in poor and violent conditions. Dolci and the peasants had a lot of success, they won a lot of civic battles and got new schools, new streets, a dam to irrigate the farms, new life conditions for the population.

In order to involve and empower people, Dolci developed the so called reciprocal maieutic, that is a method in which a group of persons (or at least 2 persons) meet and communicate in a way that allows the full and free participation of all the involved people. The encounter has educative aims and is based in the active listening of what everyone says, in the idea that cooperation is the base to the creative and positive achievements of the encounter (and in life), in the idea of personal responsibility and participation. Is also based in everyone’s personal experience and knowledge. This way all people are valorised and contributes actively to attain the operational objectives of the encounter.

In the context of education and training we see this method as a great resource that allow to discuss contents, to learn competencies and to reflect on specific issues. It can be used specially to develop creativity, communication skills, relationship skills, cooperation skills and active participation skills. At content level it is possible to discuss contents from the perspective of the personal experience each one has and to elaborate them from the perspectives of all reaching new insights and inputs. Reciprocal maieutic approach creates the safe context for people to express themselves, to discover, to be creative, to learn relational and communicational competencies, to feel valorised in their self as a human creature.

RMA was developed from the Socratic concept of maieutic. Is common to the concept of maieutic and reciprocal maieutic the idea that all human beings has the knowledge inside themselves. What differentiates both concepts is the fact that in Danilo Dolci knowledge comes from experience and it is necessary a reciprocal relationship to make this knowledge grow. There is not the maieut that brings out the pupils knowledge, they both learn from each other.

Danilo Dolci wrote over 50 books, some of them translated into more than ten different languages. He won the Lenin price for peace in 1957, and the Ghandi price in 1989; he was also a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize for 3 times.