Connecting local responses around the world
From What is Wrong to What is Strong - Cormac Russell
I heard this at a workshop I attended yesterday in New Delhi at the NGO SEEDS.
On the projection screen was a quote by Pablo Neruda - We must dream our way.
I was overjoyed to say the least. Why???
Because I did not expect to see SALT in action :-)
I was surprised because, in all my years in the development field, I have only encountered an obsession for the top-down approach be it from academics, institutions, NGOs, or consultants.
I was excited because I would no longer have to explain SALT to SEEDS. They are already practicing it in their work. (I am going to use a SALTY approach in my interventions with the work I am doing with them.)
I was encouraged to see there are mainstream NGOs embracing an approach that will predominantly be associated with grassroots NGOs.
Among other things, I learned about SEEDS work in the Karali slum of Dhaka. In their work, they are recognizing the strengths of the community first and foremost and building upon them. For example, Abdullah was growing vegetables in his shack and selling them to neighbors. SEEDS is working with him to develop an improved product and a business model whereby he can expand his reach beyond the slums to the nearby affluent communities. This initiative will not only impact Abdullah but many more who will now be part of his business. This effort is a wonderful example of how food insecurity can be transformed to nutrition security, malnutrition can be eradicated by healthy nutrition, and poverty can be overcome by livelihood diversification - all by recognizing what is strong.
Suffice to say, it was one of the best workshops I have ever attended - for a change I left feeling very optimistic.