ABCD…at the Raphael Centre

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Thirty one learners recently successfully completed the three and half days of training in Asset-based Community-driven Development. The course was facilitated by Nomaxabiso Fani, Sanelisa Mtwalo and Anne Loeffler from Raphael Centre. Nombulelo High School provided their facilities and their intern teacher, Siviwe Ngcingci, assisted with logistics and organising.

The course built upon the introductory sessions the Raphael Centre held with local High Schools during ’Trading live for Mandela week’ in July last year. This was the first time for us to facilitate the full 3.5 days course with High School youth. Also, it was special to us to be able to bring together youngsters from different areas and schools. There were represented Ntsika High School, T.E.M. Mrwetyana High School, Nombulelo High School, Mary Waters High School, Khutliso Daniels Secondary School.

The centre’s former director Mary Humphreys once said that: “ABCD provides the ideal framework to position, and motivate active citizenship.” One essential element of the training was the practical ABCD work. Raphael Centre introduced different tools of asset-inventories, visioning and of planning. The youth practiced and applied them for projects which support the enhancement of the learning environment at schools – but from a pupil’s perspective.

One group of students came up with the necessity and idea to reduce crime at schools; another wishes to improve the safety of drinking water from tanks and sanitary systems; the third group of students intends to take action against the dumpsite next to their school-building as they find it unsafe and unhealthy and it smells terribly. The fourth group wishes to improve the pass rate at their school and has found a tangible way for trying to do this.

The Raphael Centre has been facilitating the ABCD in Grahamstown since 2015 with a vision to see people believing in themselves, working together, to create healthy and caring communities.

“ABCD puts people at the centre of their change to uphold their dignity and rights,” read a press statement, “The workshop aims at unlocking and unblocking healthy processes where people use their skills, talents, knowledge, material and social resources to drive their own change and local growth.  This, we found especially helpful for young people to make healthy life choices, feeling independent and strong to work hard towards fulfilling their aspirations for themselves and their communities.”

The training started with activities which emphasised an alternative way of thinking away from a needs-based condition (which focuses on problems, deficits and needs) to asset-based thinking (acknowledging resourcefulness of people, fostering confidence of people, and focusing on assets people already bring to bear to their daily lives). It was followed by activities and short films highlighting the importance of good and ethical leadership.

After the school holidays, Raphael Centre staff will meet the project groups again to help with planning their activities and have have more ABCD training with High Schools at the end of the last school term.

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