We brought together communities through Skype

India competence is a group of people and organisations in India who believe in strength-based approaches like Community life competence. We meet on skype everymonth. But in Feb 2013 we decided to facilitate conversation between communities from two States in India- Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It was exciting for Anthony, Prabakar and me to join in with communities on Skype. We decided that let funds not stop an interaction between us and communities. Here are the minutes and after action review of this rich discussion.

Participants
Siaap, Tamil Nadu- M L Prabakar, Robin, Mani, Olga, James
Care Saksham, Andhra Pradesh- Anthony, Lenin, Pavani, Eshwari, Laxmi
India competence and Constellation Support team – Rituu B Nanda

 

Our discussion was mainly around how we had applied what we had learned in Global Learning Festival 

Care Saksham- Pavani is working as a mentor, she supports in conducting General body meeting, and she helps to recruit the team. We all were glad that our CBO members had an exposure to international communities. Lenin works with 4 out of 42 CBOs of FSW, MSM and transgender. After the GLF he learned the importance of appreciating and learning from the community. He shared the appreciative way of working with his team. They have started to apply SALT with communities. This helped them to garner greater support and build leadership. For instance in Mehabub nagar Jayamma a community member would contribute sporadically. In December, they formally acknowledge her support, which encouraged her to contribute more and now she has become the leader and taken on the responsibility of the Community based organisation (CBO). We also do AAR regularly now. Similarly, Care team has used SALT with Project directors of NGOs. This has led to acceptance of the communities by Project directors and of NGOs and they have begun to support the community. 

Siaap

Mani a community member and M&E officer of Pechan project. “we all were glad that our CBO members had an exposure to international communities”. GLF gave him an opportunity to share and learn and brought home the importance of appreciating, sharing, and learning. He has used SALT with community and non-community members. For example in their project they hired some non-community members like finance officers and there was constant friction between them. After SALT, the relationship is cordial, the non-community members have not only accepted the community but also are open to hear about their issues and experiences. This is a big thing for us, he says

James- I was new to SALT and SIAAP when I attended GLF. I have tried SALT and found that it can be useful in building relationships

Olga- GLF was a great learning for us. I work with MSM and transgender communities. We were struggling to get NGOS engaged with our communities. We tried SALT with NGO directors by appreciating the work they had been doing with women and children. Similarly, we motivated the community by appreciating their strengths. This brought them together. Now we have an example from Vellore where a NGO is helping the community to set up its own CBO.

What impact did GLF had on SIAAP, the host organisation for GLF?

Prabakar- The Project Director of SACS who had recently joined agreed to attend our event. He was so impressed what he saw that he got his wife on the last day of the event. Now he gives us time and is happy to meet and support us. The energy and the positive atmosphere in the event gave him an indication of our work with communities. It would not have worked in case of a usual kind of event. The relationship was built in short else, it could have taken months.
We had invited political leaders from the communities in the event. Now, the community leaders are supportive of communities. One of the community leaders through Panchayat funds is supporting the running of a Youth friendly counselling centre and the community is looking for ways to raise additional funds.

India competence, host country team for GLF -Rituu: Global Learning Festival definitely gave an impetus to India competence, we have new teammates; it has infused us with fresh energy 

After Action Review (AAR)

What strengths did we see?

  • Sharing itself was a strengthening process
  • The appreciation that happened among the people who were sharing was a strength
  • Seeing community members using Skype is a strength
  • Though we are in different place getting connected as one group is a great strength
  • The questions are a great strength as it helps us to look for experience and which is also evidence based.
  • Unexpected impact of relationship with  PD, TNSACS and the political leaders through exposure to GLF.
  • Capacity of the community in appreciating and practising SALT
  • Openess to learn among Saksham participants, transfer it to the team and apply in the work,
  • Facilitation of the meeting, how we did simultaneous translation; presence of community members in the meeting

 What did we learn?

  • Skype chat is a valid channel  for community sharing .
  • As a team when we were discussing we learnt among ourselves what we were doing and how people had worked on it.
  • We need to expand this strategy of having Skype meetings within other Siaap projects and involve other partners in Tamil Nadu who came to the GLF.
  • Follow up on GLF needs to be done among the participants
  • There are a lot of people to be appreciated and we need to do it more.
  • We have to stimulate and appreciate community members that they are able in many other ways.
  • I learnt that there is a need in my work as well to use this approach and motivate/ encourage more people who use SALT
  • Introducing similar aspects such as GLF to many people and many areas it will help in enhancing the impact.
  • I was exposed to SALT in GLF and now when we had this Skype chat it really deepened my understanding.
  • Appreciation helps in improvement of work and in personal relationships at work in our families.
  • Language barrier does not stop cross learning among the community.
  • Power of a simple concept like SALT. the impact SALT visits and knowledge Fair can have on the hosts, even the hosts who are experienced SALT facilitators were open to learn and it re-affirmed their faith in SALT, how the GLF can rejuvenate a team like India competence, this is a great way to learn about field experience virtually

What can we do better next time?

  • Expand the size of the group, include more community and India competence mates.
  • Be more conscious of putting off the microphone
  • More time for the discussion
  • Fix the date and time and carry data cards so that those who are on the field can join and discuss.
  • Pre plan the agenda
  • To see that noise friendly room is chosen for Skype meeting.
  • Discuss on Appreciation next time- what do we understand by it, ways of appreciating
  • One day skype with community members from other countries
  • We can do a video chat.

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Comment by Priya on January 22, 2014 at 8:42pm

This is really great Rituu! Just going through the articles...find it very interesting and also informative.

regards

Comment by YERUVA ANTHONY REDDY on May 13, 2013 at 10:01am

This is great Ritu,

Thanks for sharing it. Hope to facilitate more community interactions as they bring out the real power of SALT.

 

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