We have all traveled different pathways before we have united in our belief in community strengths. It is interesting to reflect on the journey.
I was introduced to ACP in the beginning of my career and at that point, it did not make much sense to me. I tried hard to understand. Community immersions in various countries where ACP was practiced followed by constant debriefing with my mentors, reading up on manuals, participation in process analysis oriented on ACP followed. One day, I had access to the verbatim notes of community counseling done by the teams in Africa and then suddenly the 'how' part of ACP clicked for me. I was excited about how communities and organizations could be transformed. It took me a couple of years to reach this point. Having applied ACP in different contexts and for different life issues, I am convinced that this is the best way forward, which I am aware of.
Once our team (Gaston, Rituu and myself) were facilitating the National Review of ACP in Nagaland and we visited Moulvum community for a SALT visit. Before the visit, we had explored the key concepts of ACP through participant’s own stories and experiences. During the visit, the community shared how they have turned around the situation in their villages (addiction, joblessness, early marriages, infrastructure…) by actions formed by ongoing discussions and reflections. The visitors were swept by waves of community strength which was emanating from the community’s stories of action, wisdom, experience and a disarming humility. A SALT visit focused on community strengths helped us the group to see a different way of relating with the community. The sense of eagerness to be a part of this ACP movement, practice and cultivate it further was bubbling during the debriefing and synthesis meeting. A Nagaland ACP team was soon formed after the consultation.
I have had the privilege of being with people during their ‘aha’ moments when suddenly ACP clicked for them.
Since we have traveled different ways to become ACP champions, it would be interesting to reflect on why/how we were convinced of ACP. What were your struggles/hindrances on the way? I hope this reflection will help us to understand others, as we communicate about this approach.