I share this story on behalf of Jean Baby Fulama, facilitator in DRC:

A little story which corroborates the concept of PAF in support of the definition developed from proposals by colleagues, facilitators of RDCCompétence:

A PAF is a concrete and measurable action, meaningful and relevant, implemented to introduce a change. It can be a change of habit.

A PAF is easily implemented with the available resources, without outside help.

It can be individual, but it will be even more effective if it is collective, that is done through the commitment and effort of the majority of the members of the community

and consensual, i.e. it is not imposed, it is based on voluntary adherence.

A story by way of illustration:

October 2010 in the province of MANIEMA, RD CONGO. We co-animate a training in the SALT approach of members of the provincial coordination of the Congolese Union of People Living with HIV/AIDS (UCOP +). A few days before our arrival in the city of KINDU (capital of the province), at least 15 people, including a majority of students of KINDU’s university, drowned in the Congo river during one of the many crossings with motorized pirogue.

Despite this disastrous event, the people of KALIMA (a town on the other side of the Congo river) have no choice but to cross in pirogues because they live in a situation of dependence vis-à-vis the capital, and, among them, one third of the participants of the training.

At one point during the training, we needed to illustrate what Small Doable Action means. Inspired by the recent event in KINDU, we facilitated the participants' understanding of PAF with a typical example, resulting from the correlation between the responses to the two questions below:

1. What would you see as the likely causes of the drowning of more than 15 people in the Congo river?

2. What could be done at the level of the population to prevent that such drowning be repeated?

The participants’ replies:

A.     1.  Ignoring the bad weather; overload; poor condition of the boat or engine; drunkenness or fatigue, etc.

B.     2.   Connect KINDU and KALIMA by a bridge over the river would be ideal, of course, but this would require high technology and means that we do not have. Even in ten years, we would not know collect these. However, together, we, pirogue and passenger operators, can prevent drowning ensuring all to the following:

• Always take into account the weather forecast;

• Limit the total weight (number of persons on board and quantity of goods);

• Ensure the good condition of the pirogue;

• Ensure the serenity of the driver;

• Limit the hours and the number of crossings.

Thus, the participants identified the likely causes of the drowning and found five Small Doable Actions that could now allow to secure the pirogue trips on the Congo River between KALIMA and KINDU and vice versa.


A PAF as simple as possible, so long as to reach a local response to a problem! Thank you.

Jean Baby FULAMA,


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