Sharing learnings on community ownership in India

By Global Fund for Children | September 12, 2023 | Asia | Youth Empowerment

This blog post was written by Evakordor Syngkli, Ribansing Nongbsap, and Arnicia Kharnior from GFC partner Faith Foundation.

Grassroots partners in GFC’s Combating Child Trafficking in India initiative offer their reflections on participatory monitoring, evaluation, and learning.

In May, Global Fund for Children facilitated a three-day Knowledge Fair hosted by Avani, a GFC grassroots partner located in Kolhapur, in the state of Maharashtra, India. This was an opportunity for five GFC partners from across India to learn from other organizations’ work and experiences and to share their own. The focus of the Knowledge Fair was participatory monitoring, evaluation, and learning, as well as community ownership.

The Knowledge Fair focused on the Community Life Competence Process (CLCP), a step-by-step method for people to participate in community ownership. CLCP helps community members to realize their individual and collective strengths and the power they have to take action and create change in their community.

Arnicia Kharnior presenting an organizational assessment. © GFC

One component of CLCP is SALT (Stimulate, Appreciate, Learn, and Transfer), a method of interacting with people in the community on a one-to-one basis to help them identify their strengths. Once they know their strengths, they are able to see the kinds of contributions they can make in their community. SALT also helps people to delve into their hopes and concerns, which can motivate them to act, individually and collectively, toward that change.

Among the GFC partners invited to attend the Knowledge Fair was Faith Foundation. Located in northeast India, Faith Foundation works to prevent child sexual abuse, early marriage, and domestic violence and provides care and support for trafficked women and girls as well as abandoned women. After the Knowledge Fair, three participants from Faith Foundation shared their thoughts with us.

Reflections from Evakordor Syngkli, Community Facilitator, Faith Foundation

This was my first time traveling by flight, and I could not believe that I was getting the opportunity to travel far away from home. Coming from a small community in a small village in Meghalaya state, I felt scared but also full of curiosity and excitement. I wondered how it was going to be – a place with different food, a different language, a different culture, and different weather. But all this changed when I got to know the people there. Even though I was far from home, I felt like I was home.

The program was full of shared learning from each other’s work. Each partner got the opportunity to facilitate a session. This made us feel like it was our program and that we had as much responsibility as the organization that hosted it. We felt a sense of belonging, and we took ownership of the sessions that we had to facilitate.

My most memorable day was the second day of the program, when we were able to connect with members from the community.

A presentation on actions taken by young people in villages. © Avani
Reflections from Ribansing Nongbsap, Community Facilitator, Faith Foundation

I learned more about the process and power of SALT and how it has the power to bring people together to take community ownership. Everyone got to talk about their work, what they did, their thoughts and ideas, and their dreams. This experience gave me more strength, ideas, and confidence, and a renewed desire to work for our children, our people, our community, and ourselves.

Reflections from Arnicia Kharnior, Program Lead, Faith Foundation

The Knowledge Fair created a space for shared learnings from individuals, organizations, and the community. What was amazing for me was when, during our community visit, men shared their dreams for their own village. They are actively involved in creating a dream of gender equality, gender equity, and access to good healthcare. The courage and passion of the participants were impressive to see.

It was also inspiring to see how children are taking an active part in raising awareness about the social issues in their villages, including through a play. Toward the end of the play, the children asked the adults if they will support them in bringing about change, and that was so powerful.

Faith Foundation delivering a presentation on the root causes of teenage pregnancies. © Avani

What was most significant for me at the Knowledge Fair was an activity facilitated by Corey Oser, GFC’s Vice President of Programs. She had asked all the participants to bring something of significance to share with the group. I had a hard time thinking of something that was important to me until one day I opened my purse and stared at my mother’s picture. It was then that I realized the pivotal role she plays in my life. The Knowledge Fair helped me to see that my mother’s photograph was more than a picture; it was a sentiment that I had been carrying with me all along.

On day two of the fair, we participated in a SALT session with the community where we were asked to recollect a time when we did something to bring change. The SALT process helped me bring out a memory that had been suppressed. I now use this particular memory to define me, to recognize the courage that I had as an 8-year-old who dared to change the situation because I knew it was not right. This memory helped me see the person that I am today, and it has become my source of motivation every time I feel incapable of doing something.



Editor’s note: The blog posts linked above include reflections from Avani, Purnata, and Rural Aid, other GFC partners that participated in the Knowledge Fair.     

Header photo: Participants in the Knowledge Fair. © Avani

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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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