The Household and Village Level

Epicenter Managers facilitate Village level development using a variety of techniques and methodologies including Community Action Planning, appreciative inquiry, visioning techniques, transect walks, community resources identification with the community members to agree on implementation of community action plans (vision) derived from the designed module of Village Technologies for Creating of 18 weeks. The strategy enables individuals, groups, and villages to evolve self help projects based on their visions and aspirations. Over time, these projects attain self reliance in interdependent villages. Through Community Action Planning (CAP), interdependence, community learning and social capital development are enhanced.

The Ems build capacities of individuals/farmers and villages to creatively innovate sustainable livelihood projects like; Agricultural projects (piggery, plantations, poultry), Cooperatives (SACCOs), water and sanitation projects (water jags, sanitary facilities), and homesteads construction in achieving their shared visions/common goals.

EG a vision of the kind of farm they want, kind of trees,………..

Community Action Planning (CAP): is a methodology to enhance community learning and people working together for a common good. It ensures that all members are involved and participate in all stages of change: inception of idea, visioning, defining strategies, implementation, and evaluation.

The Individual: Keeping with the principle that each person is a change maker, the Epicenter Strategy strengthens people by introducing to them new knowledge and skills, attitudes/values so as to shift from being victims of circumstances to creators of their own circumstances. People are key to their own development. Once such individuals in a village become change makers, a network of change makers is established. This forms the basis of social capital.

Epicenter strategy recognized that several individuals make up a household, and several households make up a village. So, as people who have mastered the understanding that for development to take root in the villages, there must be structural shift, they also know that to effect such a shift, the best leverage points in the system must be identified. In social economic system, the key leverage points are individuals. Through their aspirations and conscious choices, the people can shift their own life orientations from merely reacting or adapting to the events as they occur (problem solving), to a life orientation in which they themselves are the creators of the events in their lives. In the Epicenter strategy, this is what consciousness raising does.

At the individual level, the Epicenter managers mobilize communities to prioritize and set individual development agendas through collective learning that includes introducing the Basic or Foundation in Technologies for Creating using the illustrated village module of 18 weeks. Each lesson that is discussed people go back home and take a step of action to implement what they have learnt.

In working with the people, the Epicenter Managers introduce them to certain important principles that make the life of a creator easy. These include; Choice making, focus on results rather than problems, direct energy to what is most important now (MIN), that men and women are creators, that it is important to work with the vision/goal, keep in touch with one’s values (walking the talk),  that nothing happens until the first step is taken and there are times when things are not going the way they were anticipated. This is the time of great power, if one can keep focused on the results and integrate the situation into one’s current reality.

Once the individual masters the principles of the creative process and systems thinking, visionary leadership emerges. Such individuals lead their life according to what matters to them and make supportive choices for a good life. The person becomes a model living in the creative orientation.

What has been learned from using illustrated Village Technologies for Creating in rural Kibaale?

  • The best lessons come from the people themselves and the results they have created. The examples are many. To cite but a few,
  • In Bukungwe village, Kagadi sub-county, after the third lesson of the course, members mobilized 3 other villages and worked on three roads joining those villages that had not been cleared in years. Now children enjoyed using a clean road to and from schools.
  • In Kabuga, Muhorro Sub-county, the parents of URDT Girls School formed a saving and credit group and have set up a nursery bed of coffee with 40,000 seedlings.
  • In Kisenyi Village, Pachwa Sub-county, they have a well-articulated village vision drawn on a sack (white Kaveera).
  • In Kyanaisoke Sub-county, Kyarutare saving group has 50 million Uganda Shillings now and aspire for a village bank.
  • In Nyamarunda Sub-county, Honourable Akanga a councilor, made a family vision that he shared on the second day of the training.
  • In Rugashari Sub-county, Kyalikunda Eunice, the Epicenter Manager shared, “After the training, a village decided to protect their water spring. They have enough stones collected and money and sand ready to hire a mansion”.