Connecting local responses around the world
Appreciative Inquiry has been very important for me personally in creating another outlook on life and work. Will share more!
Here is a video from Jan Somers from Belgium on AI and now Jan is also a SALT facilitator:-)
Nice. I lked it
Dear Mr Ram Chandra Lamichane,
I am curious about your experience, or where your curiosity comes from.
For me the S for Stimulating in SALT reminds me of Appreciative Inquiry: what (behavior, routine, way of working) is already going well (even if it happens irregularily or not so often), and how can we stimulate its occurrence to spread or increase?
A few days ago Ayan (former refugee from Somalia) and I were visiting a community of single men that live together, temporarily in a housing facility that the local government provided for them, while waiting for their new, individual appartments become available. They are (former) refugees with a temporary residence permit. They had been complaining about the building not being clean, so they had made a cleaning roster for daily cleaning. Most of the men were now cleaning, except two who didn't do their part of the chores. The conversation went to the fact that two people hadn't cleaned, and later I realized we hadn't addressed the fact that there has been a lot of improvement due to their initiative and self-organization: initially only three residents were cleaning the house, and now - thanks to the roster - five or six did their chores.
The fact that the conversation went to the remaining problem instead of the improvement that had taken place, is a very common phenomenon. Even after having been involved with AI and SALT for several years, I still notice how I / we tend to focus on problems, on lack or deficit.
Luckily, we were able to move the attention to generating creative solutions.
The biggest theme in the group was moving from looking for external authority, to taking charge and leadership within the group. The initiative to make a cleaning roster was the most visible example of leadership and ownership. What will happen next is that two residents will become spokespersons, representatives of the group who will talk to the external authority (the caretaker assigned by the local government) about suggestions for improvements.
The current arrangement is that residents pay for someone cleaning the house two days a week. They will discuss the option that this person doesn't come anymore to clean, and that the residents who do the daily cleaning will be paid from the money formerly paid to this janitor. That way, not everybody has to be part of the roster, and the residents that do the work will be paid by the ones who choose not to contribute.
We left the meeting congratulating the men for their positive contribution to the group, and thanked them for their leadership.
Dear Birgitta Schomaker
Thank you very much for sharing the great story. I have various experinces about magical impacts of AI. In 2012 I had a opportunity to conduct the life skill training to HIV infected 25 women of remote village of western Nepal. At the begning of the training i asked about their expectation and how are they feeling about their life.
They shared all the pains and frustrations. I too felt their pain and frustration. They were having HIV without their faults. Their husbands worked in India and brought HIV from the prostitution. I was silent and thinking how can I create hope for remaining of their life. If I asked them to share their positive cores they may not feel good. They might have thought I am teasing them. It was very critical situation. I planned to apply 4 “D” cycle and some AI principles and made plan on my mind. I took them back to their childhood and facilitated to discuss how was the life on that time. I asked everyone to share their experiences. They shared both pain and pleasure of their childhood, teenage and family life. They shared different feelings of their life. When they shared their feeling I asked how many times they coped with the difficulties? They answered, many times. I asked, who helped them to come up with the problems? They said themselves. They shared all the stories how they created new opportunities to solved their problems. It was great discovery to create new hopes. I can some smiles and happiness in their life. I asked how does the life look like by next 5 years if they can find new opportunities to cope with their problems? In a way I was asking them to dream the life for next 5 years. They have gone through 5 minutes guided meditation. After that I asked them to share their dream. They come with very creative and innovative ideas. Almost all participants shared new ideas. When they all shared their future ideas, everyone in the hall was enjoying with the new ideas. Everyone was learning with the others’ ideas. Wow. New realities for the life was emerging. Now my task was to develop new strategy for sustaining these all ideas. I again asked them how this idea can sustain and apply in their life? They found the roles and responsibilities of each family members, relatives, service providers and government authorities. This was great. At the end, I asked them what major activities they will do to make it all happen from today onwards. They prepared the list of the activities and shared. Before closing the program, we acknowledged each other. Finally, I ask how did they feel in the program? When they shared their reflection, I cannot stop my tears. One of the lady around 35 years said every morning she wished for death rather living such painful life but after this training she will wish for the life. According to he this training has given extraordinary power to live new life.
Dear RC, such appreciative generate a lot of energy amongst the participants. How do the people sustain this enthusiasm? Have you followed up on any of your AI sessions to see sustainable response? Thanks
Dear RC, wonderful how you managed together to turnaround feelings of hopelessness, despair and powerlessness into feelings of hope and resilience.
I love the way you made the new ideas actionable so that the chance of actual implementation is much higher.
What I sometimes do when facilitating the last stage, is letting participants pair up in 'accountability buddies' : who is going to share with whom what they agree to do by when. This will be a mutual accountability. These are the questions that A will ask B (and then B will ask A):
1. What will you do?
2. (By) when?
3. How will I know?
Thanks for sharing and reflection.