Some years ago, I worked for the National AIDS Council (NAC) on a project funded by the World Bank. It was a well-funded project and we set up youth centres in 139 districts. We gave money to Youth Associations for training and sensitisation. We had more than enough money, we had set-up an excellent programme and we had a group of very knowledgeable people who were dedicated to behaviour change in young people.

And I was one of those very knowledgeable people. I was an expert and I wanted to help people. I knew what they had to do and what they must not do. And I told them what to do and what not to do. The young people saw me as an expert. They were very polite. They found me intelligent and interesting. There was a programme and they took part in the programme. The programme finished and the experts went away.

When I did an evaluation after 4 years, I found that the same behaviours were still there. There was no change. There was no progress. They were still not using condoms. You are teaching them and they are not following the trainings that you have given them.

And then I learned about CLCP. I got the opportunity to follow the process and then to use it. I applied the process in small groups, in my family and with leaders in a Civil Society organisation. In CLCP, my interaction with people does not depend on the organisation that I work for or my job title. In CLCP, my interaction with people depends on the fact that I am a human being who has some experiences to share and who is willing to learn. And as a result, we can interact on that common base.

At the moment, I am working with a student organisation at the university in Bujumbura. I have met the group many times and I listen to their experiences. I hear what they want to achieve and what they are doing. I share what I have seen in other places. I have no money to give them.

And their work continues. They are very proud of what they are doing and that pride comes from their deep belief that they are doing a good job. When they contact me, they let me know that thanks to my support, they have many partners some of whom give them money. And they use that money efficiently and effectively because they believe in what they are doing.

And so I will teach no more. What I have learned is that when I talk to people as an expert, they listen politely and do nothing. And when I listen, share and learn with them, they take action.

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Comment by Eric UWINTWAZA on November 26, 2013 at 12:34pm

Thank you for your feed-back. As JL likes to prevent, "chasser le naturel et il revient au galop" (french). Sometimes I find myself in the situation of teaching because it is much easier than listening. But I have to pay attention and come back to that effort of learning and giving the chance to my parteners to highlight their own strengths instead of praising my title as expert which is only masq. If I take off that masq, what is remaining? 

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on November 25, 2013 at 10:03pm

Hi Eric,

I am back from SALT visit with migrants. Here is a perspective from the communities.  They said NGOs come and give us lectures on HIV and we never listened. But when NGOs act as human beings, communities say they are very receptive. Now the NGO (after SALT) reminds me of loving teacher said a woman migrant. 

Your blogs have been a great source of learning for me. Merci.

Comment by wiwin winarni on November 21, 2013 at 9:42am

Wonderful posting Eric;

I will meet group of youth next week, your sharing and testimony will strengthen my belief that CPCP will equip them to continue working even we no longer with them.

Thank YOU

Regards warmly from INDONESIA

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