Development of a full life-skills program will be the outcome of an initial community assessment based on the Appreciative Inquiry model (AI). This assessment model seeks to discover the positive qualities, “the best of what is, in order to imagine what could be, followed by collective design of a desired future state that is compelling.”
Differing from some other community development approaches, AI assumes that there is good in every community, and that with positive guidance, community members may be encouraged to envision what could be, and together with Prohope leaders, design a path toward that future. The following figure illustrates this process.
The life skills development classes will consist of discussions that emphasize the values of a wholesome lifestyle. A lifestyle that fosters decision making that promotes the well-being of individuals, family, and community, such as integrity, truthfulness, respect for people regardless of gender, race, religion, age, or physical conditions. Likewise, the value of challenging work, responsible family life, and disciplines will be addressed. Other positive values will be included in response to local conditions and those challenges identified by local participants.
Because Prohope will establish aquaponic systems in each community where it works in the Sertão, theory and operation of these systems will be explained to all. An aquaponic operator's manual will be developed to guide those who work with these systems and to provide references for unusual situations that may develop with plants, fish, or the mechanical system. Some families may wish to establish such systems in their homes, perhaps together with neighbors, to provide fresh veggies and fish for their own families, or even for sale.
The Value of a Holistic Approach
By Ela Gandhi
From my experience in communities I realized that there is a need to develop a holistic approach to community work. A holistic approach takes into account the total wellbeing of individuals, groups, and societies at all levels and in all aspects. There are no divisions or boundaries between differing methodologies, individual problems, and problems of housing and food security or education, etc. They are all interlinked and interconnected so that housing is not an individual problem but everybody’s problem. In this way, one shares responsibility and begins to look at the total picture rather than through the lens of an individual one-by-one issue, which really will not solve the problem.
In line with this holistic approach, issues such as conservation of natural resources, the earth, water supply, food, and animals become of importance as part of the community programme.
Kosmos Journal, 2015
Another important aspect of the life-skills program will be an overview of business perspectives, although some participants may not consider themselves to be potential entrepreneurs. Even so, the entrepreneurial mind-set, including administration, bookkeeping, marketing, investing, etc., will undoubtedly benefit the community. While some courses of this kind exist in the Brazilian educational system, access to these programs is limited in remote areas of the Sertão. We plan to develop resources for teaching and modeling these values, hopefully in conjunction with existing national programs.