How ACP united a village to respond to its concerns

Viphoma is a little village perched on a hill top in Nagaland, Northeastern India. It has 80 households with a population of almost 800. The 17th generation of the village is presently making a living out of the land of the village. Like all other villages of Nagaland leaders are democratically selected, not elected. Very few government schemes reach the village because of remoteness and bad road connectivity.

The ACP team from Kekhrie Foundation visit to the village was a dream come true for the Village Chairman, who had
requested the District authorities for an HIV awareness program for his village way back in 2000 but nothing had happened. The team introduced the ACP concept, imparted correct basic information on HIV and 62 were tested for HIV by the mobile ICTC team in December 2009. This was followed by a second ACP SALT visit and had meetings with groups of men, women and the youth ( A total of 5 visits made to the village).

Each group was asked to share what made them proud of their village, their concerns and dreams.

The men said that they are self sufficient in terms of resources from the land. The air is clean, they are free from
serious diseases, and they have made the road with their own resources. Head teacher of the Govt. Primary School took the responsibility to improve the School performance that resulted in promotion of the school to Govt. Middle school. With government fund the villagers built the school and also constructed rain water harvest facility. The benches and tables were the villagers’ contribution, made of wood from their forest.

The main concern of men group was for better health facility and water, especially during the dry season. They
appreciated the SALT team for bringing the men folk together to discuss issues. Their dream is for the village to be united. (This happened to be the largest gathering of the men folk about 30).

The Women group were mostly house wives. With household chores they hardly have time to meet and share their views. ACP SALT team coming to their village has given them opportunity for the women folk to come together to discuss their problems, thoughts and share various ideas.

For the first time so many villagers had come together!

The Women have kitchen gardens which produce plenty of vegetables but because of distance and lack of transportation they have not really considered marketing fresh organic vegetables, fruits and grain. ACP team from Kekhrie Foundation stimulated them into thinking of sustainable livelihood options through gardening and formation of Self Help groups.

Many of the youth from the village have moved to the cities of Kohima and Dimapur for work and to pursue their
education. The youth are concerned about HIV and Substance abuse:-alcohol, tobacco, drugs and other risky behaviors.

Their dream is to organize a two and half day Awareness Camp, during the summer break of 2010. The topics would cover HIV, Chemical Abuse, Facts of Life(Sex & sexuality), and with HIV testing facility. The ACP Team of Kekhrie Foundation would be the resource persons; the village elders are extremely excited about the Awareness camp and have agreed to foot the cost of the camp.

We thought you have come to teach us, instead you have made us look into our own resources & strengths, looked at the deep concerns we have for ourselves and our village and made us dream. Today we are better informed about HIV and the facilities available. Even if one member of our village becomes positive we will take care. He is a member of the village.” Elders of Viphoma Village.

The village appreciated the ACP - SALT Team visits. But Community life is not just about HIV alone, it encompasses a lot of other issues – issues of body, mind and spirit in the community and diseases. Among them livelihood option is one of the corner stone for sustenance of Life which is not an event but a process
like the ACP – that stimulates community ownership of the problems and issues.

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Comment by Joyceangami on April 8, 2010 at 1:47pm
Thank you Rituu &Bobby fopr your encorament and support
Warm regards
Joye
Comment by Joyceangami on April 8, 2010 at 1:45pm
yes Phil will get you a picture of Viphoma, it may take sometime
warm regards
oyce
Comment by Phil on April 8, 2010 at 12:53pm
I like your description of what has happened in Viphoma. I read about the village and I start to get a feeling for what it is like. I begin to be aware of the triumphs and I can hear the concerns.
And I suspect that one of the important results of what you have been doing is to let the people of Viphoma understand THEIR village in a way that balances the achievements and the concerns, perhaps for the first time. I know that in my village it is all too easy to concentrate on the problems and not remind ourselves of our achievements.
Perhaps it is this balance between achievements and challenges that leads to opportunities and then to action?
Would you perhaps have a picture of Viphoma? I would very much like to see it.

Best regards
Phil
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on April 8, 2010 at 1:49am
Dear Dr Joyce,

This is a beautiful illustration of community life competence. Cheers to the Kekhrie Foundation team- Bazo, Vicki and others.

Hugs from Delhi,

Rituu
Comment by Bobby Zachariah on April 7, 2010 at 11:20pm
Thanks for the sharing Dr. Joyce. SALT stimulates people to respond to their concerns using their strengths. For us, the entry point has been HIV. It however goes much beyond that, as shared in your story.

It key skill for the SALT visit team is to help the community focus on the issues they have identified and not 'drift' around with multiple issues. A deepening of response is seen to be a key factor for effective transfer.

The Kekhrie foundation team is well on its way.

Thanks very much for sharing the story at this forum too.

Kind regards.

Bobby

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