Village local body (Panchayat) tastes SALT

We Imran and me are community facilitators from a NGO called Avani in Kolhapur, Maharashtra (India). We have recently been introduced to SALT through Global Fund for Children project. We plan to use SALT in 4 villages to build leadership of children, youth and community on gender equality.

As the first step, we decided to meet the village local government officials called Gram Panchayat to seek their permission to  start SALT process in this village. The plan was to submit an official letter to them regarding our project. We decided to use SALT with them.

 

What happened in the meeting?

Avani Sanstha was called in the meeting of Gram Panchayat on 28th Sep’21. And after their official meeting was over, we were asked to join the meeting.

In the meeting, the head (Sarpanch) asked to discuss our  the work in just 5 minutes but we started the meeting by assuring him that we will not take too much time. First, we told the local leaders about our project. When we told about SALT, no one understood anything. We asked an appreciative question. They were perplexed, as no one had asked them about what they have done well in their lives.  So, our team members started with our life stories. The, the meeting local leaders showed interest and started sharing their stories. The stories they shared from their lives were very powerful. One of the female leader shared that if a beggar comes to her house, she does not stop at giving money. She serves them food and ensures that he or she does not go hungry from her house. We were touched by this story. Narrating her story, the Female Panchayat leader said, "I'm not too rich to help, but I help as much as I can" to which Imran responded, "You don't have to be rich to help, you just have to be rich in mind, and you have this.”

Results of our meeting

  • Along with the sarpanch, all the body members told the good things they had done, through which their strength was known to all. The panchayat leader told the strength of their companions and a new enthusiasm was seen in everyone and we saw that their respect for each other had increased. We also liked it very much and got an idea of ​​their hidden strength as well.
  • By going through the SALT experience themselves, the leaders understood the concept of SALT very well. They showed great enthusiasm around the idea of SALT and its introduction. This is a good way of introducing SALT and our project.
  • The village body (Panchayat) offered full support to our project in preparing children and youth as leaders in their villages using the SALT approach, who would be able to solve their own problems and give courage to others.
  • Earlier we used to go and submit a letter to the Panchayat body and get permission for our work. By using the SALT approach, it has made our work easier and strengthened our relationship with the village local body.

 

After Experience Reflection (AER)

  1. In the next meeting, we felt we need to allocate more time for the session.
  2. We will use SALT with local grassroot level workers in the village (Asha worker and Anganwadi Sevika).

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