Connecting local responses around the world
As we focus on SALT and gain insights in ourselves and those with whom we work, we also bring to it a variety of experiences and knowledge that we have accumulated. These additions need to be pondered over specially to see whether there is harmony between SALT and additional learnings, or some contradictions take place. While inadvertent contradictions present a challenge to all SALT champions, the harmony elements too need to be acknowledged, and not ignored.
Community development workers are accustomed to the word participation, and strive to put this concept into practice. Under the rubric of participation of communities, many methods and approaches have emerged . The most well known are the ones based on Paolo Friere’s approach for facilitating the oppressed for social transformation. Many tools have been developed, and the four volumes titled Training for Transformation provide a great source of material for facilitating the community members to become analysts of their own lives. The Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools also function in a similar manner, whereby the community is the analyst and the outsider using the tools are facilitators (and not teachers/experts wanting to tell people what to do).
So, what is the relationship between SALT approach, participatory tools and PRA tools? is SALT meant to exclude them or use them to support the SALT approach? Here is one example:
In the Community Engagement Centre (CEC) of Indus Health Network (IHN), Karachi, SALT approach is being integrated in the community based programs of CEC. While SALT provides the entry in the community and help build community’s social capital, PRA tools are also used to help community to become more conscious of their own realities. Thus, the community draw an illness matrix, and draws circles on the ground to see the distribution of class amongst them, livelihood of women and men, distribution of children in and out of school, to name some elements of the work. All this can be said to belong to step 1 of the CLCP learning cycle.