[ I documented the AAR on five SALT visits done during National Knowledge Fair held from 1st to 3rd March 2012 in Chennai, India.


An interesting thing was that two of the AARs were done in presence of the community. The community found AAR useful and helped them understand what SALT is. The SALT teams were initially hesitant to do it with the community but later realised that AAR is not a critique but is done to learn and do better next time.

Prabakar said that even if SALT visit does not go as the SALT team will like it to, the team can learn a great deal from a well done AAR. Rafique shared that he has used AAR for conflict management within teams.


The three questions for AAR in this Fair were: what strengths did we see, what did we learn and what can we do better next time]


SALT visit 1: We met Rural youth programme
Strengths- commitment, hard work with which doing work. They went to places preferred time of the community and not team members. Lot of work with children, through support of elders done work in field of education. They were able to interact because met repeatedly, building a relationship helped . Mixed group meetings have happened women talking to men.
Learn from the process-
Using the relationship with community to discuss sexuality; many community members learned to use condoms. Are able to achieve results which they had not expected eg women share private matters, take help from team members. Team members are now seen as role models and impact that work has created couples reconciling, people in power positions for counseling. They worked as a team and were able to link the villages to different functionaries like police

Did we act as a team- We were listening to them, we were looking at the strengths and appreciate
What could do better next time:
We should be more organized with roles defined next time. We should have met them in the community .


SALT visit 2: Selvi memorial (PLHIV)
Strengths and learning - self confidence, dedication, love, patience, supporting people in bad condition, mental strength, conviction, tolerance, simple lifestyle, ambition, common good, service attitude, truth, honesty, don’t need education for doing good things, perservance,

They are working selflessly, were tolerant, its difficult to do SALT with those who don’t know SALT, service minded person can do at anyplace, specific goals therefore are able to work towards it

How can we do it better
Appreciate more, approach of questioning should be different, should not interrupt when others talk, switch off cellphone, maintain punctuality, avoid unwanted questions , need to understand their work and then ask questions, should not give idea or promises, we should not talk about defects which will hurt their feelings, all team members should speak and should speak to others not only head of the place.

SALT visit 3: Social welfare Association for men (SWAM)
Strengths and learning- self confidence, saw the relationship they have build with TANSACS and Siaap, have been able to seek help from different sources, the staff members shared about personal experiences which we have not seen in other places. They were active, had a great dressing sense. They were rich in experience because constantly learning. They had displayed materials about their project. They had a positive attitude. Patience and persvrence ,
We learned that we have to be very open, we learned that we should be courageous, how they are facing difficult situations and coming out of these situations. Their problems are any common problems. They learned about documentation and how they are recording and procedures for staff members to document. We learned how they are taking ahead their projects and how do they advocacy.Before SALt we were scared to meet MSM but now feel sense of love towards them.

Do better next time
We would like to meet more community members next time. We did not share why we were visiting them. We should focus on encourage all team members should share


SALT visit 4: Sahodran ( MSM CBO)
Strengths- they were very united and went beyond to social bonding. They were willing to contribute financially from trustees to staff members. Self confidence and persevence . Shared one story moving lost of trust among staff members and between staff and trustees. Almost hundred percent transparency all staff members are aware of all projects, expenses , funding, Adequate traiing for staff which helps them face different kinds of situation , willingness to learn from each other, for every event very strong in documentation, strong community skills among all of them. Saw a lot of passion and courage among them, a sense of ownership, strong internal relationships and network with other CBOs, NGOs, police, donors, how to handle crisis situation with a lot of courage, accountability, how to share responsibility amongst staff, willingness to initiate activities on need of community and then raise money if funding not available.

Can do differently next time
We should spent more time arrived early ; more interactive dialogue from the beginning, do SALT visit in the morning and would have be more energetic, better to visit outreach unit and better planning. Detailed briefing about the organization before the SALt visit


SALT visit 4: PPTCT (prevention of parent to child transmission of HIV team)

There were two counsellers, and for outreach workers, Murugan facililtated. 
Strengths: slef confiendence, team work, the counsellor, orw, and the whole team worked together, Counselor is in contact with the patient.
Commitment and dedictiaon in that they spent the entire night with a patient, beyond the call of duty.
How do you encourage patients, of PPTCT, is by giving a good relationship with the client, that is how we encourage them to go for testing. And they are extremently confident, and maintain confidentiality.
They showed good documentation. And registers, We appreciated that when one was sharing no one interrupted, they gave each other a good space to speak. And though they have lot of experience, they were asking us, their willingness to learn form us, was amazing.

What did we learn?
They employed a Nagamese, and using sign language and take her for ANC. What was very interesting was there was no hierarchies, If the ORW are not there, we are not there, says Kalpana the Counsellor.
We also got this inspiration, that though they have personal problems, they continue to work, One of the ladies replied, that I am a mother and I am a human being. That is why I go above the call of duty.
It was agood exposure to us as manhy of us did not know about PPTCT. So wee could take away ,any learnings.
What we could do better?
We will encourage all the team members to participate. We will ask more appreciative questions
Better planning, and we could have assigned roles.
One interesting things was we did was the dilemma to do AAR with the team. It helped the community as they were inspired, as our strengths was revealed to us too.


Conclusion by Anand from SIAAP 

One point is that those who go for SALT visit must maintain boundaries based on the situation because we are going to see PLHIV who come for treatment. There is need for privacy, as there was one PLHIV who was from the same place as one of the visitors, and the PLHIV, was afraid that his or her confidentiality will be lost.

Another learning was thogh I have done AAR many times. SALT visits and AAR must become a part of our life, and we must do AAR for any aspect of our life. I raised this AAR s only for an event, it can be for any human being. As if you talk about CLCP, the individual competence will be helped if you apply. When we look at the learnings. Especially the last question, of the AAR as anything in life is not perfect.  Always we get a lot of innovativeness through this question. I am going to use it in all aspects of Life.

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Comment by Kristin Bodiford on July 10, 2016 at 4:11pm
Thank you for sharing this dear Rituu. I appreciate the knowledge fair sharing of their experience doing AAR with communities.


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