Connecting local responses around the world
Dear all friends. I just want to share this story below which shows how we can facilitate positive appreciation within a group. Hope you will find it useful.
In 2006, we visited a group of widows in rural Kenya. This group was formed in 2001 and to support orphans in the community, orphans from AIDS or any other issues.
The purpose of the visit was to learn about how they had come together and what they actually did as a group, as well as the results of their actions.
We met 5 or 6 of them at a local house. We put a long sheet of paper on the ground and drew a line starting from 2001 until the present day (2006). We then asked the widows to tell us the various activities they had done since 2001 in order to support these orphans.
At first, they were a little bit surprised by the question but then they started to talk. Initially one of them had a goat that they had sold and with the money they bought seeds to grow vegetables. These products were sold to the market and with time and multiplication of the activities, they could help children. They bought uniforms for schools and books; they fixed the roof of a house with a child at the head of the family. They paid for drugs for sick orphans etc…
They told about many different stories and facts and activities that they had performed during the past 5 years. This activity lasted almost one hour.
After one hour, one of the widows looked at the sheet of paper where we recorded these short stories. And she said, ‘Great! I had not realised that we had done so much during these years! I did not remember all of that. But it is true. I think that we have done a lot and that we have done a lot of good things! And we can do more; we can do this and we can do that. We can ask this person to help us to do this. We can buy less expensive material in that place……’
Finally, they were realising how well they were doing, how strong their group was and how they could do more! They were becoming aware of their strengths!
This story taught me the power of positive appreciation and the role of the facilitator in raising the knowledge of these strengths. The widows group immediately started to plan for other activities. New energy started to mushroom.
When we ask the right questions and encourage people to talk about their achievement, they become aware of their capacities.