Three days in Ban Nua were really an experience. I had a chance to discuss with and pray behind Dr Tobrani, the Head (Imam) of the Ban Nua community himself. He is a simple but knowledgable and determined young man. I was also honoured to be invited by him and to speak in a dialogue with his guests - community members of Gunung Condong, Bentong, Southern Thailand - who, like many other guests to Ban Nua, came to share Dr Tobrani's experience in developing community from below.
From the experience, four important lessons perhaps could be shared here. Firstly, in any organisation, knowledge is the fundamental pre-requisite. Dr Tobrani has gathered his knowledge from al-Azhar University for his Bachelor degree, International Islamic University Malaysia for his Master degree, and Thaksin University for his Phd degree.
Secondly is the management of knowledge. He disseminates the knowledge to his community to ensure that they understand what should be done in their community. Thirdly is the leadership. One with knowledge and endeavours in disseminating it would not be effective unless he has leadership skills, one of which is manifested through the trust of the people on him as well as his ability in mobilising the people. Dr Tobrani undoubtedly possesses such a skill. Fourthly is the sacrifice. Both leaders and people of Ban Nua could not have developed their Ban Nua village without the sacrifice in every sense. They have the real sense of sacrifice indeed.
Knowledge, management of knowledge, leadership and sacrifice definitely have to be in ISDEV fraternity if ISDEV were to realise its ambition.