AllHumanity Blog

I am preparing for a trip to Bangladesh and possibly Myanmar in December.  I will be fact-finding and helping to tell a story of my visit to the people in Southern California.  I would very much appreciate being able to dialogue with members of this platform to help begin to amplify my voice, and build power relations that can advocate for change...

I am not normally a 'name and shame' type of guy.  I learned during my career with UNHCR about how it is possible to make change come to be, using and leveraging technology, but always ensuring the citizen voices were being hear.

Citizen voices, especially those voices of people who have fled their country and are vulnerable is certainly very complex.  But helping people to help themselves has always been very rewarding for me personally.

Allow me to make a quick introduction to the problems that I am preparing to face -

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  • Thanks Mr William for bringing this one here for dialogue with members to help amplify your voice and demonstrate solidarity and strengthen power relations that can bring about the much needed change...

    I have always supported the idea of helping people to help themselves and would like to share lessons learnt in Kenya, facilitating  capacity building and development programmes across the Kenya communities.. The voices of the target beneficiaries, especially the caregivers of orphaned and vulnerable children and community opinion leaders have always been key in these processes and I have always used entry questionnaires to capture certain basic information about agents of change concerning age, literacy levels, marital status, number of dependants, leadership category..occupation, estimates of income and expenditure on a monthly basis, economic activities status of housing,source of drinking water, description of children's general health, information on school attendance for those of school going age, meals per day, description of diet, expectations and experiences..The change agents also have the opportunity to appraise themselves, based on certain carefully selected statements gauging attitudes and general behaviour;

    This approach is informed by the the common framework of "helpers" trying to provide autonomy -compatible assistance to a certain set of "doers":

    • Help must start from the present state of the doer- not from an "empty plate"
    • Helpers must see the situation through the eyes of the doers-not just through their own eyes.
    • Help can not be imposed upon the doers-as that directly violates their autonomy.
    • Nor can doers receive help as a benevolent gift-as that creates dependency, and most importantly
    • Doers must be "in the drivers seat"-which is the basic idea of autonomous self-direction. 

    One main application of the helping theory is to the problems of knowledge-based development assistance. The standard approach is that the helper or in this case, knowledge -based development agency , has the "solutions" and disseminates them ex cathedra to the doers.

    This corresponds to the teacher-centred approach..The alternative approach of helping theory is the learner centred approach of the active learning approach..The teacher plays more of the mid-wife, catalyst, facilitator to build learning capacity in the learner-doers so that they can learn from any source such as their own experience, the teacher or the other sources of knowledge.

    In addition to capacity building, a knowledge based development agency might function better not simply as a source of knowledge but as a connector to those who face concrete problems with those in similar situations who have learned how to address the problems..

    Once again,I say thank you for our friendship here and may we work closely for the greater good of humanity.

    Every blessings,

    Mr. George O. Owiti, Community Development  Facilitator | trainer


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