Connecting local responses around the world
Coming from a country where English language is not the mother tongue of the vast majority of its population, and where even the national language is not commonly understood in rural areas and small town, and especially by women, introducing SALT has been a challenge. How to convey the meaning by each letter of SALT? This initial hurdle was soon overcome, and relevant words were found for each SALT letter. However, the local acronym emerging from the translations was not used, as it remained a nonsense-syllable. This neglect left the community based learners use the acronym SALT without fully understanding it, and proceeded to use it in the community setting where the community could make no sense of what it meant – for them it was just a sound. However, the community based workers had grasped the meaning, and had gradually became better listeners, and could appreciate the communities.
The search continued for improving the method/s for teaching SALT to community based workers. Appropriate local words were identified for each SALT letter, and the first letter of these words were set aside for introducing SALT a la Urdu language. This then led to the decision to make a poster of SALT with local letters, to be used as a teaching tool. As the letters in Urdu script (the national language) are conducive to taking beautiful calligraphic forms, a graphic artist was asked to work on the poster.
Search for an acronym of the letters led to a decision that even if the acronym remains meaningless, its sound should be smooth enough to be used easily. As appropriate sounds were explored, the sequence of the SALT letters was changed. Why start with S – for stimulation, strength. Why not start with L – to listen and learn (this the learners understand very quickly). A – appreciation, logically follows, so A retained its 2nd position. S – for stimulate and strength, was given 3rd position, as once you have listened to the community and harvested learnings from them, and appreciated them stimulation will automatically follow. T – transfer retained its last position, for it makes sense that learning would lead to transfer of learning and experiences. The result of this approach led to SALT becoming LAST. Not bad, one could say ?