“It takes a community to realize its possibilities”
For the past three weeks the Kufunda facilitation team has been into three different communities working with community farming groups to help them connect more strongly, exploring their community assets, dreaming together and prioritising those dreams.
During this time it has become clear that people from the communities are used to have a teacher in front of them teaching, while they write notes and listen. When we introduced the simple practice of the circle they were all amazed and eager to practice it and how it works giving them opportunity to speak from the heart. They discovered that they were the ones who were talking(!) When we started the five capitals (which is a wider view of the capitals or resources in a community) they realized that they are rich in their community and they were giving testimony that they never knew that they have these capitals, and they decided to take care of their resources, their environment, their infrastructure and their team work.
After realizing the power of team work, they discovered that when people work as groups and teams they can create something amazing. This came out after the story telling – looking at past experiences and also looking at the possibilities. Out of this there were groups formed to start up something.
It was already there in individuals but it came out after the question was asked “what is you dream for your community and your group” So many dreams came out, and with them so much energy.
The challenges we faced was from one of the community from Chipinge where they are many donors who normally come and donate things and pay participants for attending workshops. They were expecting us to pay them. However we made it clear that we we are offering them knowledge and connection to each other, not money or donations. It made us worried at the impact on communities of some donor led development, in which it seems that people now sit and wait for the donor to come and pay them to look after their own community.
This work has left us proud of ourselves. The strength of the simple act of helping people connect in circle to each other, to the resources of their community (more broadly) and to their dreams was identified in every check out at the end of a two-day session. In the words of one community member at the end of our time with them, “It takes a community to realize its richness. Or another: “Dreams can only be true when they are shared.” You could see many smiling faces, exchanging of phone numbers and invitations to come back again to these communities. Kufunda has spread its wings to the central points of Manicaland encouraging people to guard their resources and improve them – a very different way of paying them back.