“Collective action remains the best way of renewing the march towards the great trinity of liberty, equality, and solidarity.”
The SALT approach is a mental attitudinal technique applied for the participatory evaluation process which helps in defining the collective consciousness for the necessary collective action.
My SALT experience started when I got the chance to closely observe the self-evaluation process of the Faith Foundation team in Shillong, Meghalaya (which is supported by Global Fund for Children) who were working to address the gender related issues in the society. My main focus then was to understand the nuances of facilitating the process. But, I only learned the true essence of the practice when I stepped into the role of evaluatee. I realised that one of the core reasons why the SALT approach could be relevant as an M&E tool is the fact that it builds itself upon the collective emotion. The collective theory of emotion is said to be relevant in cases in which group interactions lead to emotional responses that are different in intensity or kind than those of independent individuals. Its realisation may help strengthen the community as the individualistic focus shifts towards the “greater good”.
The process starts off by giving every individual the chance to voice their dreams. This paves the way to the most crucial step of lining out the community’s common dream by infusing the elements of those individual dreams. This whole exercise helps the members to internalise the cruciality of the actions taken to fulfill the same. And this is where the ideology of collectively owning the responsibility of fulfilling that common dream formulates itself.
The facilitation of group retrospection for evaluating their progress and past experiences unravels the solemnity and sincerity of the community members. This makes them embody the accountability towards achieving the end goal. Moreover, it guides them to institutionalise self-monitoring and self-assessment processes for the future.
I am grateful to the Faith Foundation, GFC, IRMA and The Constellation for making this learning experience possible, and help me develop new perspectives on the M&E subject. Reflecting upon the entire approach on a deeper level, I believe that it can help strengthen the nebulous concept of Ubuntu in the community, “I am, because we are.” A community that actualises the collective emotion into taking collective ownership of its challenges would surely carry the capacity to build something powerful.