Widows' learning - Re-energizing community life

Dear all friends. I just want to share this story below which shows how we can facilitate positive appreciation within a group. Hope you will find it useful.


In 2006, we visited a group of widows in rural Kenya. This group was formed in 2001 and to support orphans in the community, orphans from AIDS or any other issues.

The purpose of the visit was to learn about how they had come together and what they actually did as a group, as well as the results of their actions.

We met 5 or 6 of them at a local house. We put a long sheet of paper on the ground and drew a line starting from 2001 until the present day (2006). We then asked the widows to tell us the various activities they had done since 2001 in order to support these orphans.

At first, they were a little bit surprised by the question but then they started to talk. Initially one of them had a goat that they had sold and with the money they bought seeds to grow vegetables. These products were sold to the market and with time and multiplication of the activities, they could help children. They bought uniforms for schools and books; they fixed the roof of a house with a child at the head of the family. They paid for drugs for sick orphans etc…

They told about many different stories and facts and activities that they had performed during the past 5 years. This activity lasted almost one hour.

After one hour, one of the widows looked at the sheet of paper where we recorded these short stories. And she said, ‘Great! I had not realised that we had done so much during these years!  I did not remember all of that. But it is true. I think that we have done a lot and that we have done a lot of good things! And we can do more; we can do this and we can do that. We can ask this person to help us to do this. We can buy less expensive material in that place……’

Finally, they were realising how well they were doing, how strong their group was and how they could do more! They were becoming aware of their strengths!

This story taught me the power of positive appreciation and the role of the facilitator in raising the knowledge of these strengths. The widows group immediately started to plan for other activities. New energy started to mushroom.

When we ask the right questions and encourage people to talk about their achievement, they become aware of their capacities.


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Comment by Marie Lamboray on November 14, 2013 at 6:39pm

Ian and Alison Campell also use the timeline to let people appreciate their own strengths, for example in Divinéia, Brazil, last September. A community member commented the exercise: “The timeline helps us to see clearly all that has happened, and we see that from the beginning it was worthwhile. I was moved to see the result of our work.” GLoCon synthesis of the visit to Divinéia



Ian et Alison Campell utilisent aussi l’échelle du temps pour permettre aux gens de se rendre compte de leurs propres forces, par exemple à Divinéia, au Brésil, en septembre dernier. Une personne a commenté l’exercice de cette manière : « L’échelle du temps nous aide à voir de manière claire tout ce qui s’est passé, et nous voyons que, depuis le début, cela en valait la peine. J’ai été émue de voir le résultat de notre travail. » GLoCon, synthèse de la visite à Divinéia

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on November 9, 2013 at 10:02pm

Phil on facebook

This is a beautiful post by Luc Barrier-Constantin on Ning. It is a wonderful story that shows us that we can let people appreciate their own strengths. 'We' don't appreciate 'their' strengths. 'They' appreciate 'their' strengths. Please read it, comment upon it and share it. 
Comment by Loli Rey on October 29, 2013 at 3:58pm

Thanks Luc to sharing this story. 


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