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Dear all,

The Constellation is catching up with the reality of fast and exciting developments: rethinking our business model, rephrasing our mission and vision and updating our charter are part of that. And that is where we need your help.

On 16 February the Constellations Board will be meeting virtually to discuss (among others) new terminology to describe what we are doing and a draft prologue for our revised charter.

In preparation of this board meeting we are hoping for your input to the drafts,
available on:

Concretely we would like to hear from you:

On Definitions:
* Does the current set of definitions capture the reality as you are experiencing in your work on (Aids/Malaria) Competence?
* Is the goal (proposed as AIDS, Health and Life Competence) the goal you can adhere to, or would you suggest different wording?
* Does the term 'Community Competence Process' capture the process that you see happening in the communities you are working with, whether it is on AIDS, Malaria or a different issue.

On Prologue:
* Are you comfortable with the general message and tone of the draft prologue
* Does the current text need clarifications - and if so on which specific elements (please propose concrete wording).

We are closing this discussion on Wednesday 11 February.
On 13 February we will share the synthesis of your feedback on this platform. This synthesis will feed directly into the virtual Board Meeting on 16 February.

Please don’t hesitate! All constructive comments are welcome from all of you!


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Thank you for the work done so far on the document. Having read through, here are a few reflections for consideration:
1. I like the shift from ACP to CCP. Could this lead us to consider re-arranging the wording of the phrase: AIDS, Health and Life Competence to Competence for HIV, Health and Life? This starts from the idea of strength instead of with the problem.
2. We refer often to local responses. I am wondering where the organisational change comes in as often the object of our work as the Constellation is with the organisation who then link with the local response
3. Composition: The Constellation is made up of people involved in local responses AND/OR application of CCP in their own context
4. Organisation: Is it Central Coordinating Team as opposed to Central Facilitation Team?
5. On the DRAFT Prologue. Would it be possible to start with the paragraph which begins..'The Constellation is a global family of people involved in local responses......' I think this is a stronger start - again affirming strength to respond to the challenges that are outlined in the first couple of paragraphs.
6. In the last paragraph of the prologue, the sentence...'facilitation teams remain small' I am wondering how we communicate that facilitation teams are inclusive, they grow, they respond to a big vision and need everyone involved. If this is referring to a central coordinating team then I think that distinction of function should be made clear, and not confused with the wider more inclusive and ever growing facilitation team.

Thank for the opportunity to share reflections. April, Nairobi
Dear April,

Greetings from Delhi !

Thanks for your in-depth analysis. Good learning fom me.

Best wishes,


Fantastic to see the creative evolution of thinking to match learning and practise. I'd like some time to read the document more comprehensively, and give some more considered responses probably in the next week.

Having said that, I'd like to differ with April around the shift from AIDS Competence to 'CCP'. I think there are assumptions made when we define what we do as building competent communities, unless I'm misunderstanding the context. Our assertion has always been that communities have strength - existing strength - to apply to an issue like AIDS. Hence, we have a process to offer to support the application of competence to the response to AIDS.

By 'community competence' are we suggesting that we offer a process to make communities competent to

I don't have a ready suggestion for an alternative, but I'd prefer that the Constellation support competence for 'something'. We can see that there are a variety of applications - AIDS Competence, Malaria Competence, Diabetes Competence. How to capture that array of responses, based on the same approach and guiding principles, is the challenge.

I'd be interested to hear other reflections on this points.

Some thoughts about the Draft Prologue.

I have the feeling that someting is missing : a vision of man.

“There is only one way forward, and it starts with our own behavior (...) to address those global concerns, we are to rediscover our own capacity for care and change, etc.”

Every community has within itself the strengths required to envision, act and adapt.

I agree with that, but I do not believe that “ rediscovering our own capacity for care and change” says it all. Why and what would we change ? In which direction ? Changing in itself does not lead necessarily to a good direction. It can be for the best or for the worst as any human move. We have plenty of examples of wonderful and dreadful changes, in social, political economical, private life ...

So if we talk about change, can we afford keeping silent about directions ?

I think that social behavior, and the changes we are hoping for, depend first of all on our vision of man, our vision of mankind.

What is our vision of man ? ... Who are the other ones to us ?
Rivals, intruders, ennemies we must master or even kill (physically, economically, socially, psychologically) ?
Tools dedicated to our powers and wealths ?
Strangers we must bring to our thoughts and beliefs ?
Companions, brothers, sisters with whom we want to share the earth ?

Has the Constellation a vision of mankind ?

A great work of thinking, reflecting and sharing will have to be done, worldwide, to promote a contemporary vision of man and a human ecology. A movement that will consider the preservation of mankind’s potentialities as the very first duty of any human organisation.

This will need people using not only their knowledge and skills, but their spiritual and philosophical inheritage. As opening doors to a new land, and not as a closed fortresses for themselves and forbidden places - or jails - for those who don’t want to join. This will need people who will read and share their old and more recent texts as inspiring musics leading to new and temporary harmonies and not as laws engraved in the marble used for graves.

Some of them are already at work, fortunately.

This will need, also, people who just start acting. At community level. On specific issues. With maybe few expressed philosophical principles. And those will often notice that changing of behavior has driven them to another vision of man.

An example : in Togo, the Red Cross network acts in the SALT spirit. But no one said a word about SALT. It was not part of their vocabulary at all. This change came from practicing the self assessment.

So, I think that this is what the Constellation has been experimenting with the Community competence process Aids and Malaria competence, etc ... As a humble way (among so many others) towards more competence in some issues of life. Not as the way.

Now, a reflection about the Constellation’s general speech on “communities”. I will be, here again, some devil’s advocate, but I assume this as long as you can bear it.. :-))

When I read the texts of the Constellation, communities appear to be pregnant of all virtues.

Would they be good just because they are communities ? They can have entirely different behaviors - good or horrible - according to their vision of mankind. We can see that every day, watching the way some communities care - or not - for the weak ones, in the way they look at people across the border, in the relationship between men and women, etc.

Also, communities can be closed circles, and this leads them to immobility, mental and physical consanguinity. What saves them from this threat is the coming of the stranger.

So, is the image (that I supported) of the Constellation being a midwife so right after all ?
In the competence process, communities, facilitators etc. certainly learn from each other, facilitators certainly stimulate existing strengths. But I have the feeling that, more powerfuly, communities and facilitators, communities and communities fertilize each other. They open closed circles.

Seeds are broughts here and there, and something new appears.

Not merely the emergence of burried strengths, but the birth of new relationship. We had telling examples of this in Togo and the Gambia.

And another reflexion about our “common humanity”. We refer to it as a starting point and I do agree. This is a first fundamental step. But to me, this needs further explanation too. What is this humanity we see in each other ? What is it that we are so happy to share ? Humanity is not merely biological. What makes us “humans” is not hereditary. It has to be reinvented, rebuilt, “regenerated” by each generation, each human being. It is the fruit of education, culture, relationship enlightened by a vision of man.

So we are back to the vision of man.
Bouddah, Jesus had a vision of man.
Hitler, Staline, Pol Pot had a vision of man.
Some of the world capitalism leaders have their vision of man

Could/should the Constellation express its vision of man ?

Jean Legastelois. Feb. 2009
Just a quick remark about the name of our process... I've been struggling while writing the activity report of the Constellation... AIDS Competence Process somehow doesn't fit anymore. But what is the alternative?

Community competence process?
Bart Edes made us laugh the other day :-) when he heard this term he immedialety thought about the former communist regime...
I do agree with Ricardo that the process responds to an issue, like malaria, HIV and community is not really an issue in itself.
Personally I like the "Competence Process"...

What do others think?
Hi Laurance and all

I ve been struggling with the language for quite some time - to be very frank I have never liked the title Aids
Competency - for a number of reasons I think the word AIDS is very stigmatizing in many many cultures and settings irrespective of the language. And competency is quite grandoise for the fabulous work that goes on at the grassroots level. Does it imply that those who are less competent are somehow inferior or incompetent? I dont know. But what I think I know is that the true value and the lessons we learn from meeting and sharing is that there is capacity and leadership capabilities within everyone and at every level. The story sharing and hearing from people who are working in difficult and often threatening circumstances on the ground is the 'take home message' for me from the recent knowledge fair.

In life we all need to listen and learn from each other and that means learning more from our mistakes and trying to right them than just patting ourselves on the back and saying what a great job we are doing. I think we would all admit that HIV is challenging to society on so many levels not least because it deals with often the most vulnerable and discriminated within our societies.

In my own view I would suggest that whatever title it is called it should be kept simple and to the point so that for those for whom English isnt a first language its clear and consise regardless.

Cheers from a very polluted Bangkok
Dear Greg,
Many thanks for your reply. Do you or others have a suggestion for such 'simple and to the point' description (a clear challange - lets continue tackling it together). Thanks!
Thank you for sharing.

1. I think in the vision can we use 'rights' instead of 'any threat'. Community respond to acheive their rights...not to threats.
2. " Process" and " Way of working" to me these are similar.
3. think adding 'transfer'/transform' in the mission
4. Agree with Laurence on "Competence Process"

Regarding the prologue: I am not comfortable with the tone and general message of first 2 paragraphs. Can we start with something positive, a tone that we find in Thich Nhat Hanh's books.

Love to you all


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