Nelson Mandela Foundation

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Tom Mkhize, a master trainer in the CCE methodology, explains the methodology during a refinement session

May 22, 2009 – Community conversation teams gathered from around the country, on the outskirts of Johannesburg, to continue their training in the Community Capacity Enhancement (CCE) methodology (link to downloadable PDF).

The six-day workshop, from Tuesday, May 19, to Sunday, May 24, looked to gather feedback from the teams on the facilitation of the community conversations to date, and to review the theory and application of the CCE methods and tools used in the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s community conversations programmes.

The aim of these community conversations, a continuation of last year’s programme, is to help communities identify the underlying causes of the problems they face and create their own sustainable solutions.

The facilitators within the community conversations teams who focus on HIV/AIDS issues began their training last November, having been selected by their communities.

Following November’s training these facilitators returned to their communities and began preparing for this year’s programme, with a goal of holding 10 community conversations in their respective communities in 2009.

The facilitators and other members of the community teams, gathered to report back on their work and brush up on their skills.

“We wanted to know how they applied their skills,” said lead facilitator Lesley Nkosi at the training. “These few days allow the facilitators to provide feedback and review the CCE methodology, allowing us to provide the teams with a slightly deeper understanding of the methodology.

“The aim of these ‘refinements’, as we call them, is to ensure that the community conversation teams are able to stand on their own two feet.”

“These are a real skills reinforcement,” added Tom Mkhize, a master trainer in the CCE methodology.

It’s something that the facilitators attending the training have found useful.

“There were certain elements I was unsure of when I was facilitating,” said Lebo from Soshanguve, a township on the outskirts of Pretoria in Gauteng, “and this revisiting of the principles has been very helpful.”

While many of facilitators have found their new role within their communities challenging, all of them have expressed their enthusiasm for the project and noted that their communities are enthusiastic about halting the spread of HIV/AIDS.

“I spoke to the group from KwaMakhutha [a community in KwaZulu-Natal],” said Mkhize. “They said that the community there had been very involved. The team felt that their biggest challenge moving forward was to keep the community interested.

“One of the aims of these conversations is to ensure that the same members of the community continue to attend the conversations throughout the year.”

The reason for this, Mkhize explains, is to ensure the lessons inherent in the CCE methodology are internalised by the community. The conversations are not a one-off intervention, but rather an ongoing process aimed at halting the spread of HIV/AIDS.

For the newly chosen facilitators, being part of a solution is something that has affected them deeply.

“Being selected to become a facilitator changed my life,” said Lebo. “It’s changed the way I look at my life. If I’m going to be living the legacy [referring to Nelson Mandela’s legacy], I have to adopt certain principles in my own life.”

“I’ve had to postpone taking an exam to be here,” said Precious, a facilitator from Mhluzi, a township near Middelburg in Mpumalanga. “It’s been an honour to be chosen.”

The teams return to their respective communities on Sunday. They still have a lot of work to cover and will be developing stories to use in their communities on the themes identified during the refinement process. In addition, the teams will adopt an implementation plan as well as a code of conduct.

Once an implementation plan has been adopted a full schedule of dates for the conversations will be made available.