Group 2 First Salt Visit (Assistant Prison Officers)

The Guyana Faith-and HIV Coalition in support of the Community Life Competence process as a mean of stimulating local response and ownership by communities did a workshop with the trainee prison officers who will soon be appointed, Assistant Prison Officers. The officers focused on discipline as it relates to their family, home and work communities.


During the half day’s learning experience, 28 participants were introduced to five exercise steps, while participating in the practices in a SALTy way.

Introduction of participants using a fruit to indicate their personality and helped participants to feel comfortable, relaxed and a part of a community that knows each other.


Are we Human? The Facilitator asked the question as a follow up, it stimulates thinking.


Exercise 1 - Hopes and Concern!


Exercise 2 - Identifying Strengths


Exercise 3 - Self Assessment


Exercise 4 - Dream Building


Exercise 5 - Reflection


The Facilitator asked the question, ARE WE HUMAN and if so WHY? The ensuing discussion naturally humanizes the gathering, it breaks down barriers and revels that what we do, we do on a human level and, whatever we do is related to us being humans together. This question helps and sets the perfect stage to the discussions following. 


Hopes and Concern!

Since the officers work in the field of discipline we ask them to think about their respective communities and their families and society as a whole and list one hope and one concern they have towards discipline in the society. Safety and security were two of the main issues revealed. One of the Concerns was the upcoming November 28th 2011 elections and how it might affect them in their working environment and society, while one of the Hopes is to have a more secure and upgraded prison system.   



Identifying Strengths

 In this exercise the officers were put into groups of three, then were given a piece of paper and were told to hold firmly on this piece of paper using both hands, and at the count of three pull the paper as hard as you can. They all complied without asking any questions, after tearing the paper, they were told that they have one minute to put the paper back together.


We asked, what helped them put the pieces of paper back together? And some things that were mentioned were, co-operation by holding the pieces together, by communicating and sharing ideas on how to fit it back together, but moving fast knowing that they have only one minute to accomplish the task.

We then related that the paper represented their community and unknowingly they can tear their community apart but now that they know how to identify their strengths on working together they can build that community back.

This exercise was very meaningful for the officers, they expressed how they realize as a team they can work together to overcome situations and it showed them some of their strengths.


Self Assessment

We discussed how important it is to assess ourselves, here we introduced our self assessment frame work and explained each level to the officers. We used exercise as an example to help the officers understand each level of competence in the self assessment frame work which is,

Level 1 – Aware, Level 2- React, Level 3 – Act, Level 4 – Continuous Action, Level 5 – Act Naturally


After the officers understood the levels, we asked them to assess themselves on one of the hopes mentioned, it was mentioned that they hope or aspire to be leaders and have the leadership qualities in society, so we allowed them to assess themselves on that. They were, at first, a bit reluctant to choose their levels openly but after a few words of encouragement they did.

We then mentioned , the fact that knowing where you at present does not meant that’s where you  have to be, but knowing that you can now start acting on moving forward using the strengths you have.



Dream Building 

This exercise the officers was asked to look at their hopes and concerns and identify the commonalities, the listed five elements and using those elements we ask the officers if they would like to go into five groups and have each group choose one element, and they agreed. They were then asked to discuss it and visualize how they would like to see it in 3 to 5 years as being more competent.

With this process they created a community dream, having each group dream of one section of society that they wanted to see more competent.



 Education: Group 1 focus on Modernize School Buildings (computers, better labs etc) for all schools from Nursery to University, Free educational supplies (text books, pens pencils, rulers), School busses to provide free transportation for students and teachers, Hot meals for every student not only in the hinterlands, a healthy solid meal will help children focus / concentrate better, Free School Uniforms and Better Wages and Salaries for teachers who will be more qualified and graduating from a modernize Teachers’ Collage. 



Family: Group 2 aspiration of the family is that families can have Quality Time, to have their own Home and Vehicles which will provide comfort to the family, Clean and Secure environment/ community, for the family to have God in their life and for parents to teach their children good morals.                                       


Modern Prison System: Group 3 aims for a bigger and more secure prison, better and more prison programs to rehabilitate criminals, at bigger and higher tower to overlook the prison grounds, more ungraded scanners, more qualified trained officers and more surveillance system in and around the person to provide better security for officers etc.          



Jobs: Group 4 focused on creating Jobs not only for your people but everyone in society, they suggest one way would be by investing in some call centers which will provide jobs for over 1000 people. They also would like to see abandon buildings around the city be demolish to create new factories and businesses which will provide jobs and it will help reduce a haven for the addicts who occupy these abandon buildings.


Youths: Group 5 focused on the development of youths in society, and they came up with 6 elements the youths in society can benefit from such as, Education as a main focus in the lives of youths, encouraging youths to attend school, Spirituality, knowing that being spiritual can help mold a more compassionate youth, Physical fitness and in youths, healthy meals and more exercise will help develop a energetic individual, Family Time is important for the youths so that they can learn the qualities of family time, Mental development of the youth through studying, allowing them a period to revise their school work and allowing our youth to also have Social life which will allow then to interact with peers and learn social communication skills while having fun with their friends.




In the Reflection, the officers expressed how useful the workshop was for them and how they can see themselves using it not only in their working environment but only in the families and their communities where they live. Each officer agreed that each groups dream represented them and that they can see themselves living in the community they draw.

 Using the famous CLAP of Appreciation  (*_*)



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Comment by Gaston on November 25, 2011 at 8:34am

I lover the Ready Pull! exercise. I am learning a lot here as well. 

I was wondering: 

- Was it easy for them to draw their dream? Did some dreams not align with the rest? If yes, how did you deal with this as facilitators? 

- Why did you choose to divide the different issues to the different groups for the dream building? I can see pros and cons of that and would like to learn more about your rationale. 

- I like those five areas you mention. With the subdivisions, you have a first start for a self-assessment framework that they can use to check where they are in relation to their dream. Are you planning to develop such a framework and do the self-assessment with them? 

Thank you, 


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