Connecting local responses around the world
Background: In the Systemic participatory action research project by Institute of Development Studies for Freedom Fund and Geneva Global we are using SALT with four organisations in the states of Bihar and UP in India. We have noted that facilitators from the NGOs are observing transformation in their own personal lives through SALT. Here are stories from my team mates at PGS from UP who have started paying more attention to listening not only to the communities but also to their family members.
I started listening attentively to my family: Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar, a young Facilitator, from PGS works in Koraon block with communities. I remain very busy with my work and when used to return home if my family member said something I would listen some of what they were saying. I would often interrupt what they were saying and said that we could talk about it later. I did not pay much attention to what they were saying. I used to get irritated and overlooked what they wanted.
About 5-6 months ago, I was first exposed to SALT when we brought communities from 10 -15 villages in Kuharghat . You know that SALT talks about appreciation and listening. When I listened to the communities I realized that community members had similar problems as I had in my own personal life. I decided to test SALT myself and I started with active listening with my family.
I realized that I was not giving time to my family members and was not listening to their needs and dreams. I sat down with my wife and children and asked them what they wanted. They said that they get bored and I am so busy that we no longer go out. So we together agreed that every Sunday we would go to the village weekly fair. Even if I am very busy I make sure that I keep my promise to my family. Thus, in this and many other ways SALT has strengthened our family life and added to our happiness. I often give my personal example to motivate the communities.
Sudama: I used to act like a ruler with my son
Sudama, a facilitator, with PGS shares his experience on deep listening.
I used to try to control my 12-year old son Pawan. As I was providing him clothes, education and food, and fulfilling all his needs I considered myself as his provider. I could speak to him and tell him what to do. I acted like a ruler and tried to control him. As soon as he heard my motorbike when I came home after work, he would run away and tried to hide from me. He feared me that I would scold him. As the SALT meetings happened, I began to think about importance of listening and learning.
One day when Pawan was sitting and studying I corrected his English. I told him he was wring v but he said he was writing y. I am not very literate and realized that he knew better than me. Now I have started to listen to him and we have started to talk to each other. We have a pact now- that everyday he will share with me about his school. So, daily he tells me what happened, shares his routine and why he could not go to school if he has missed school. The fear he had for me has vanished and he feels free to share openly with me. We have come closer to each other as father and son.