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IIRR Ethiopia - Communities Moving Faster Than Organisations!

Last week, we had the opportunity for the second support visit to IIRR Partners in Ethiopia. We were hosted by JeCCDO in Dire Dawa and joined by SOS Borana. On the second day of the visit, we spent a few hours thinking through how ACP and the IIRR Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) processes compliment and add value to each other. Then we made a visit to a community where 7 months ago JeCCDO had 'introduced' the dream and self-assessment. We spent the first hour sitting with people in their homes hearing stories of change. Change that comes when people care enough to come alongside each other, and accompany each other through choices that will make a difference in their lives. Then we had a community meeting, where in 5 minutes a community facilitator clearly and distinctly explained the process they use to help them move towards their own future. In 5 minutes they had done what it took us as organisations several hours to articulate! One reflection from the Ethiopia partners summed up what many of us learned that day: 'When we practise something and internalize it, then sharing it with others is very easy. When we see that something makes a difference in our lives and communities we won't have to look at a manual to remind us what worked...we will speak from our own experience. This community has moved much faster then us in the organisation because they have practised and used what we have only been talking about!' JeCCDO now has an opportunity to influence over 120 CBO's in Dire Dawa with this approach. The community experience will speak for itself! We will post photos from this visit, and look forward to hearing from some of our Ethiopian friends about their experiences! April

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Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on November 17, 2010 at 1:49pm
Dear April,

I liked what you shared- When we practise something and internalize it, then sharing it with others is very easy

You say communities moved faster than the organisations. Please can you share an example which will help me understand better. Also what happens when HIV does not come forth in the dream for the community and the project is related to HIV?

Look forward to learning from you, April.

Thanks and regards,

Comment by Jean-Louis Lamboray on November 17, 2010 at 11:51am

Comment by April Foster on November 17, 2010 at 9:01am
JL, good question. The community facilitator summarized their response as follows: We know our own situation and we have strengths to deal with it. We have a dream about our future. We assessed our current situation and chose the priorities that are important to us. We have taken action and are now ready to measure our progress. We can tell the stories of our own change and see that we are in a different place then we were some months ago. We are influencing others. We appreciate accompaniment from organisations but we don't depend on them for things we can do for ourselves. Their dream integrated issues such as HIV and orphans, care for the elderly, tree planting to reduce risks of flooding and improved livelihoods.
Comment by Jean-Louis Lamboray on November 16, 2010 at 1:20pm
Fascinating, isn't it!
What was the essence of the community facilitator's presentation?
Greetings to all in Ethiopia
Comment by Marlou on November 16, 2010 at 9:10am
Thanks April, and how true. Communities spread the virus!

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