I visited three cities in DR-Congo the last 3 weeks. In each city, the AIDS Competence Process, called l’approche SALT’ here has been implemented for 9 months with impressive results.
For example, I was in Matadi in the province Bas-Congo. Facilitators and members of the communities shared beautiful changes in their community. Discrimination went down, people now talked about sexuality and HIV in their family, PLHIV came out in public, large groups went for testing and a general increase in community’s confidence to deal with HIV and other issues. In another city, I heard SALT being mentioned in almost every video that talked about the progress. Thanks to SALT, this happened. Thanks to SALT, that happened…..
One thing worries me. Many attributed all these results to the SALT approach. SALT was amazing and changed their life. One facilitator even said: “This SALT approach is divine”! Why does this worry me? Because people should not get attached to the approach or the acronym.The Buddha would say: SALT is empty. SALT is just ONE way for communities to make progress in terms of their concerns. It’s a means to an end. We should never ‘worship’ the means to an end. We use SALT as a little boat that we can use to cross the river of the HIV challenge. We are happy to be at the other side, but should not get attached to the little boat that brought us there. Certain religions and spiritual paths already do this enough and it’s not beneficial.
The SALT approach is only the 4th run of a ladder. If we think that this is the top, we are wrong. But to move upwards, we should not be afraid to let go the ideas linked to the 4th run. For me, SALT is certainly not divine. The results of SALT (or another approach) are divine: compassion, inclusion, care, confidence.