Nutrition, First Aid and Searching Questions with the Acholi

By Helen H

Normally when we take teams to Acholi quarters in Kampala the focus of the programme is providing educational activities for the children who, for financial reasons, aren’t able to go to school.

We do also always spend a bit of time with the ladies  learning how to make beads out of paper and that is a lovely opportunity to chat more with them, but the main focus is usually the children

So it was really good earlier this week to be able to deliver some training opportunities for the ladies, and two men, of the Co-operative that we work with; and help build their skills, confidence and sense of self worth, which can often be low due to their back stories and what they have been through in the past.

The first of the sessions we delivered was ‘Healthy Nutrition’ – helping to give more understanding regarding a balanced diet, the benefits of different foods, and suggestions for making good choices as well as busting some myths

The First Aid training was also very well received, and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to learn about what to do if someone is unconscious, the recovery position, first response for burns, scalds and wounds, and various other bits of useful knowledge that can be critical in a community that has very little in the way of health care, and even less in the way of affordable health care for those living in poverty

The third training session that we delivered was around the use of questions to help with developing ideas. It’s based on a concept called The Art of Hosting, which is a collection of ‘tools’ that help folks to explore ideas and develop thoughts in a range of settings.

In this instance, we wanted to give the members of the cooperative a tool by which they could support each other through questioning in a number of ways. It could be to develop ideas on small income generation schemes, work out what steps are needed to journey forwards with a plan, or determining whether an individual is ready to receive a loan from the cooperative’s savings group. Having explained the concept in simple terms, we then demonstrated it in practice, using Evelyn, one of the members, as an example.

Evelyn has a dream to develop a cake-baking business – she knows what she would like it to look like eventually, but until now hadn’t known how to start working out how to get there, what steps to take, who she needed to link with re supply and demand etc etc. By the end of the session, Evelyn had a much clearer picture in her mind of the next steps, and the other members had seen the power of questions to help develop a process, rather than the individual with the idea just being told what to do by others.

The conversations that followed showed that the members were thinking through how they could use the process in different situations, and to help various individuals, as well as in their group – it was lovely to see them feeling more equipped and empowered to move forwards.

Next week I have the good fortune to be in Acholi again with a team who are supporting the children. I have a sneaky suspicion that I’ll also be doing some more ‘questioning dreams’ conversations as well – the hunger for development and moving forwards is so great, and I am looking forward to asking questions that help various individuals work out what their next steps are to moving towards their dreams and goals.

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