Group 1 conducted its first SALT visit with a group of very shy young workers from Denmor Manufacturing Company in Guyana, a member of the Guyana Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GBCHA).

We knew in advance that the group we were to meet would be reticent and that we may experience a challenge in reaching our objectives of "LISTENING" and "LEARNING". The group was large, so we split into two (13 each) with two facilitators to each sub-group.

We conducted the "Hopes and Concerns" activity as a way of getting the young people ranging from ages 13 to 30 years to actively participate. We STIMULATED the group by asking variations of these questions: "What hope do you have for your life?", What concerns you the most?", "How would HIV change your hope?", "What are you doing to ensure you do not contract HIV?"

We did get to listen as the groups revealed very, very simple hopes and concerns and in so doing also revealed dread of a disease for which many of them lacked adequate and correct information. But their revelaed strengths were their capacity to cope in light of their present situations, their capacity to care for and love the people who depend upon them the most and a strong desire to improve their circumstances, even if it meant drastic lifestyle changes.

We found ourselves asking a lot of questions in order to draw them out but we came away from this SALT visit feeling enriched and APPRECIATING the priviledge of being entrusted with the private feelings and yearnings of a group of young people who are not usually inclined to bare their sousl in such an open way.

We do hope that we are given another opportunity to interact with this group again or a group like this one. But in terms of our experience, we've learnt enough to ensure that we TRANSFER it especially as we continue addressing HIV in the world of work.

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Comment by Naomi Singh on December 7, 2011 at 7:49pm

Dear Gaston,

It will be nice to work with this group again, but what may be more feasible is to contune work with the Company itself. We will obviously have to repeat this activity and then continue the competence process when we do. Perhaps the Guyana Business Coalition can facilitate this.

It is our goal as a programme addressing HIV in the world of work to link various companies so that learning from local response can be broadened and deepened. We will keep you informed.

Comment by Gaston on November 25, 2011 at 8:10am

Thank you Naomi. It is great that you're applying SALT so practically. It seems to have been a good choice to divide the groups. Sometimes, it works even better to have even smaller groups. As long as everybody can have their say. 

I also like the strengths you have observed. These we can find in many places, no matter how challenging the situation is. 

Did the group express interest to further work with you? Perhaps to do 2-3 other visits for Dream building, self-assessment and action planning? If that goes well, we can link various companies to each other to learn from their local responses. That would be really powerful. For example, we did this in Mali in West-Africa. Read a short article on this here: http://www.communitylifecompetence.org/en/pages/73-partnership-mali...

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