Connecting local responses around the world
When I saw this title, I immediately reflected on the thought, shared by a colleague;
The problem with listening is that we listen to respond rather listen to understand
This saying brought some deep reflection of how true this seem in daily life. It seem as the ‘root cause’ of so many differences in human interaction. What if we are stimulated differently? Recently, at the concluding day of the Mauritius Learning Festival, participants shared what will I do differently resulting from the week’s engagement. These two reflections stood out:
I will listen carefully because this week I heard, “I feel secure because they listen to me.” When I listen carefully to someone, that person feels important; and
I will pay more attention to ‘small stories’.
“I will pay more attention to ‘small stories’” says volume about the importance of listening without using the word listen. These two reflections indicate what is constituted to be important in the process of Community-to-Community transfer. The two participants were inspired to action, to do differently, as a result of their listening.
Paying more than the usual attention listening also contributes to a deepening of our understanding of each as indicated by executive members and staff of MACOSS during a SALT engagement.
We shared different perspectives as staff and executive members but we understand each other better from today’s exercise.
Every individual has good intentions, but in practice, expressing this could be challenging. Today’s engagement helped us to understand our humanity, even better;
The result of understanding each other or as humans EVEN better could only be because of listening to understand.
So while we motivated to action and understanding each other even better, listening also contributes to one’s inspiration as was Marilyn, during a SALT engagement between members of the Poste Lafayette community and a group of leaders fostering to make SALT as a major contributor to sustainable local response in Mauritius.
I was inspired with Pamela and Jean-Noel’s story; Marilyn of Poste Lafayette
The ‘L’ of SALT is intrinsically interrelated to the other letters. So ‘listen’ of SALT is not exclusive of the cumulative value of SALT. (^_^) In our effort to stimulate sustainable local response we encourage a ‘community conversation’. That conversation can only be meaningful when the members began to listen to each other. There is an example of that. In Mauritius, the Mauritius Commercial Bank Forward Foundation wanted different stakeholders to have a common conversation even they were, each different things for the common purpose, the problem of drugs. When CLCP/SALT was invited to inspire that conversation, here is what happened. Of the ten practices identified to accomplish the common dream “A safe and secured Mauritius, where its citizens consider people affected by drugs with respect and dignity, free from stigma and discrimination,” one was the following:
We develop and practice a culture of listening and appreciating without judgement
The community of 13 NGOs and Public sector agencies also described what that practices is like at level 2 and at level 5.
We took action as a platform on this practice, and a big part of the platform members were trained on stigma and discrimination. We have grown and we are still learning. As long as there are platform members who feel discriminated or judged by other members, we can progress
Every single member of this platform feels valued and can express themselves safe in the knowledge that they are not being judged.
Effective listening to each other, helps in the identification of who we are as a community, which leads to a common dream, and as we develop the practices and SMART action plan. The crux of listening is when communities’ members have a candid conversation to identify which level they are at for a specific practice. The candid conversation result to the particular level by consensus. As we are well aware, voting is not encouraged here, even as that might be a temptation.
When we encourage listening as a way of thinking and working, the result is stronger and sustainable ownership and responsibility as well as measurable growth towards common dreams.