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Indeed there is an other way:bottom up approach and S.A.L.T, best practice for malaria competence

Well this is my first blog and i want to first talk about my inspiration with the bottom up approach of the community life competence before loading blogs on my specialty as a malaria coach and facilitator.

My journey with the Constellation started in the summer of 2005 when I joined the Constellation community of learning and sharing of malaria competency experiences and in building and strengthening communities to scale up for impact. This experience is remarkable most especially in knowing that you are part of the process in helping people to transform and be more responsible for issues that affects their lives.

The constellation community experience taught me the other way; that in addressing development needs; certain things are of essence such as:
• Appreciating and building on communities’ strengths,
• Stimulating local response for ownership and;
• Learning and sharing of experiences

These essentials will serve as catalyst for community participation and will in the long run ensure sustainability. Working with the Nova Scotia –Gambia Association, a local NGO involved in health education for behavioral change though the employment of the Peer Education Model , a very participatory community approach ; coupled with the bottom up experience of the constellation community of learning and sharing exposed me to a wide varieties of development planning ,implementation and evaluation realities. The fact that my work gave me the opportunity to involve directly with communities made me realized that many a times development experts usually tend to “think” for the communities in project proposals and thus packaged programmes sent to communities without taking into cognizance of the importance of communities perceptions and participation in the planning and implementation of programmes.This is where the constellation community experience makes a difference for it beliefs in the people as the agents of change and development.

This belief in people as the agent of change and development made me envisioned a dream and that dream is:
  • To live in a malaria competent society where every individual is able to self assess themselves and innovate the necessary measures to prevent / curb it.But most importantly is living in a society where people can possess the ability to apply S.A.L.T in every aspect of their lives


I believe this is possible for it has been done on small scaled and community response was marvellous;thus we need to scale.It is time to tightened our belts for we (communities) now know that there is another way,a more sustainable way.A way that emanated from our collective local responses and resources to combat malaria.

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Comment by Ridge Rigo Garo on October 27, 2011 at 5:14am

i will comment when i have my own PC but thanks for accepting. Cheers Ridge Garo



Comment by Marie Chorr on August 19, 2011 at 10:44am

Rituu,my experiences in this has been using the existing local community structures that  were already in place at grassroot level and it really did work.However giving the diversity in cultures,situations might be different between India and The Gambia but some suggestions for the group might be:

  1. for them to register inorder to access local donors (Grassroot NGOs CBOs etc) funding as all donors (either local or international) needs assurance that they are putting their money into legitimate community action and  registration  gives  them that assurance.
  2. they may also want to look into local organizations beyond the community of Nagaland for funding.It might be in another region of india or in another principality/district/region or district
  3. likewise they may also look into  fostering partnership with local NGOs and government organizations that are doing that kind of intervention at community level to synchronize their intervention plans.Once the group becomes an integral part of these local NGO's or CBO's strategy for intervention,they (group) will be included in their (NGOs/CBO's) proposals for international fundings.

I hope this information helps Rituu :)


Gaston thanks for providing Amy with the link.

Comment by Gaston on August 18, 2011 at 7:38am
Amy, please also refer to this application of Community Life Competence to the issue of WASH in Suriname: and this one of the application in a village:
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on August 17, 2011 at 3:48pm
You have raised an important point of local resource mobilisation. There is a local youth group in Nagaland, India which has been stimulating communities, running blood donation camps, doing home visits etc. They raise funds through charity and volunteer their time. They would like some funding but they have to be registered for this. Moreover, generally funders prefer to fund bigger organisations and not local organisations. What has been your experience in this?
Comment by Marie Chorr on August 17, 2011 at 3:29pm

Yes Amy prevention is better than cure and so has been the slogan for community development for decades BUT we (development workers/experts) have come to realise that giving communities the right amount of education on causes and prevention as well as providing them with the right tools is just not enough.For example:you can give all the right education /sensitization on malaria causes and prevention to a very poor individual in a community BUT if this person does not have the money to buy a simple bednet or the tools / equipments needed to get rid of malaria breeding sites;likewise if the person  does not access to the bednets distributed by development workers at field level this person is still at risk of malaria.Thus, malaria competence is saying,wait a minute, communities have potentials and can do certain things for themselves therefore we will give them that opportunity to be the agent of their own change.Thus development workers are only facilitators of the change BUT communities are the agent of the change itself.That kind of development is more sustainable.Lets not forget that communities have capabilities.They can mobilize themselves as well as their resources for their common good.I think  as development experts this is what we usually tend to forget.We always think that by giving them bednets,education/sensitization e.t.c the issue at hand can be addressed.That is why many projects fail as the sustainability element was not built from the begining.

On the issue of the clean water challenge:

  • maybe mobilizing your community for a 'clean water competence' assessment session might be a very good starting point,though not forgetting that water,sanitation and hygiene all goes hand in hand in the process.

Haddy that is absolutely right,'welfarism' does not work! Welcome to the platform for learning and sharing.

Gaston,i am doing great.I am not in The Gambia but not for long.Way forward for the dream is :

  • continuous belief in community capabilities and potentials
  • not only facilitating the process of communities envisioning and living their dreams BUT also in their quest for local resource mobilization
  • encouraging learning and sharing within communities,between communities and even between local regions/municipalities
  • At our level (development experts/workers) we can be sharing our experience,best practices,challenges,way forwards e.t.c on this platform and other related platforms e.g Rollback malaria website e.t.c.
  • Likewise,we (development experts/workers) can also learn from other regions and platforms at  global level.
  • Do our best to mobilize resources needed to facilitate our  global learning and sharing process

We can catch up on skype on one of these days when i am off work

Thanks once again to all of you for your brilliant contributions.

Comment by Gaston on August 17, 2011 at 6:11am

Many thanks Marie. It is great to read your blog. Three questions I have: 

How are you doing?

Are you back in the Gambia again? 

How can we best move forward towards your/ our dream? 

Perhaps a skype conversation soon to catch up again? 

Comment by Haddy on August 15, 2011 at 6:51pm

Absolutely brilliant Chorr and I applaud your effort in this. Please consider me as part of your network for scaling up our efforts in this area of community development.  I am also a very big proponent of social change that is backed by popular participation in all the phases of program design from planning to implementation. Strengthening local capacities to deal with development issues is in and of itself empowerment; it is also freedom and ensures the sustainability of development programs. "Welfarism” is at best a rapid response measure but not a sustainable measure. Thanks for inviting me to join community life competence.



Comment by Amy Ndinda Mutunga on August 15, 2011 at 8:56am
Thank you Marie for your strong views about Malaria. Prevention is better than cure. We need to educate the community about the causes of Malaria and provide them with the right Materials for prevention. Demonstrate to them and it will be a daily routine for them to Apply what they have learned. Lets not forget that WATER IS LIFE. Clean Water is a Big challenge in Our communities. Amy

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