Connecting local responses around the world
In development sector, we talk about going to scale. Can the NGOs do this on their own with limited funding and small staff? What if the community takes on the responsibility to share their vision, strategies and actions on issues they have taken action? What would happen? Here is an example from Mumbai area in India where the Constellation team, India competence, facilitated community life competence a strength-based approach with migrant communities on the issue of HIV. Some interesting findings came out during the Participatory action research.
Transfer by Bangla Speaking community
We observed that female migrants and a few male migrants in Shanti Nagar, Thane have begun to respond to HIV. They have begun to transfer this to other communities.
Here are the questions we asked on transfer them during the participatory action research:
Why do you transfer?
We are very excited about how we have begun to respond to HIV. We like to share with others, because we are concerned about them. “ Earlier we would not open our mouth. And now we can speak openly, we are no longer shy because we have realized that HIV is a disease. If we keep quiet we and others around us are at risk”- Mariam
What do you transfer?
We transfer information on HIV, how it can be transmitted, where to go for testing, how to address our vulnerability, where is treatment available. We speak about non-discrimination of PLHIV. “I work in a home in Byaculla where the mother-in-law is discriminated as she has TB. I care for this old lady, was her clothes, I try to show that nothing would happen to me” Manora
How do you transfer?
Through meetings, gossip sessions, phone, whatsapp, facebook. There is a banner of Care project in our community, curious outsiders ask about it and this gives us an opportunity to share. We also used TV programmes to initiate discussions on HIV.
Whom do you transfer to?
We transfer everywhere to our husband, our families and to our community. “ I have told my husband that you go outside, now you have a baby, so please use a condom if you visit other women and thus protect your family” says Saleena, a young mother.
We transfer to new migrants in the community. We transfer at our workplace , we do domestic work in homes, or work in a catering company. We share with our friends and relatives, even while travelling on local train we share with people. “When I go to the mosque, on my way back I share with my friends” Abul.
We have shared with the police station near our community. We have shared with girls in our community who work in bars.
Which outside communities have you transferred to?
In Mumbai- Thane, Bandra, Govandi, Rey Road, Ghatkopar, Byaculla
What have you learned from transferring your response?
We have learned that transfer does not come from teaching but by sharing personal experiences. We have realised that successful transfer needs consistent follow-up. Also we have to use multiple channels to reach out to people. While NGO can reach out to limited, we know many more from our own community and outside communities and our reach can be many times.
What has been the change where you have transferred?
We have seen through transfer within in our community there has been a lot of change. Condom Kiosks are everywhere now. Our husbands are going for testing. The discrimination against PLHIV is no longer there. People have collected money to help sick people. Police who used to earlier harass us have now they have become cooperative.Bar girls in our community seem to fall sick less.