May 4th 2009, Mr. Gaston, touched down at Dimapur 1:30 pm. The much awaited event had arrived, ACP National Review India in Nagaland. Gaston is the first to arrive. The next day, Bobby Zachariah-the Country ACP-Connector and Rituu B Nanda from UNAIDS joined us.
We had been gearing up for this event since September last. Many a hitches had kept the event postponed from December to January, then to March and then finally to May. The final hiccup came in the form of most of the ACP India NGOs expressing their inability to attend the event due to travel related reasons. Not to be outdone by the challenge, we invited more of local NGOs thus turning the event into an introductory ACP learning experience for the local NGOs. 16 local NGOs and 2 positive networks were invited to participate apart from Government agencies and community representatives.
On the 7th dawn, we had 45 participants on board, much above our expectations; including Mr. Manga Masih (Salvation Army) and Ms Sanghamitra Iyengar (Samraksha) Bangalore, as participants from the mainland India. The stage was set for the event!
Three days of hectic activity! Mr. Gaston and Bobby were at their best; they carried the participants through the sessions with the expertise of trained fighter pilots.
The SALT visit to the scenic, lively village of Molvum filled in, the afternoon of the first day. Self Assessment with the elders and leaders, interaction with the women groups and youth were the treat of the day.
In the morning of the second day was the AAR of the SALT visit. The day progressed with sessions on various ACP tools and its incorporation into the local scenario. The charts & stickers on the wall proved there was much participation and life.
Evening came, another visit to the small but bubbly village; Rilan -the dream building exercise with the youth and Self assessment with the elders. Inspite of her experience, Rituu was like one of the youngsters excited in dream-building!
The third day: much to do but the time has come. We had the AAR of SALT and experience sharing from the ACP implementing NGOs. Joe Ngamkhuchung shared Nagaland experience, Sangamitra and Masih brought in experiences from Bangalore and Delhi respectively. The participants said “Yeh Dil Mange More” (We need more).
The sessions were fun filled and enjoyable. Every good thing comes to an end; Time to make a plan, take it home and make it work. We put our heads together and in an hour each participants had one. We shared, found them great, had our lunch, a parting session, photo–op and there! It was time to say bye!!
Many thanks to all those who helped this event happen. Geoff, we missed you; well, there will be a next time and we will get you here with out any hitches. Rituu…. We kept your phone and inbox really busy, Bobby, we know that you are always there.. and Gaston, catch the next flight and be back!!
The event was funded by UNAIDS & SIDA