Peacebuilding

Reflect has been used as an approach to post-war community development and for programmes in internally displaced people's camps, addressing issues of power and communication. Here is a selection of examples:

‘Building community based child protection systems using Reflect: the Uganda experience'

by Mafalda Marchioro Programme Assistant (DRC & Uganda) War Child

War Child UK has worked with support from UNICEF to develop community-based child protection systems using Reflect in schools and communities in Pader District, Northern Uganda.

Following 20 years of civil war, nearly 90% of the population of Pader were displaced people. The effects of war on children persists: poverty, exclusion and family breakdown have meant that many vulnerable children in the region are out of school, forced into the worst forms of labour, or left without the protection of their family. Traditional family and community child-protection mechanisms have been eroded.

Some 91 Reflect Circles have been established in the villages in three sub-counties of Pader District. The Circles have been discussing issues affecting children and identifying children at risk in their own community. The adult Reflect Circles have mapped local referral service providers in order to create referral networks for children in need of support. Issues identified include child neglect, sexual abuse of children and children at risk of dropping out of school. Literacy modules based on the identified issues have been developed and the groups are using these to learn how to read and write in their local language. Children's Reflect Circles, or Child Rights Clubs, have been set up in 12 schools in the three subcounties, using Reflect as a tool to plan activities and campaigns.

The groups have found that children drop out of school for a variety of reasons, sometimes to work, look after siblings or older family members, engage in prostitution, or steal to contribute to their family income. Faced with these issues the groups have proposed and developed a number of solutions. These include ways of improving household income such as providing livelihood grants in the form of seeds, tools, cattle, etc. Or constructing community-based child-protection hubs to provide education, care and prevent abandonment.

Excepted from: Education Action 24, p.40 (2010)

‘Sudanese women win UN literacy prize for Reflect' 

Sudan's educational authorities approved the GOAL Reflect approach as an appropriate adult literacy approach for internally displaced peoples. The programme won the United Nations International Literacy Prize in 2005, and has had a significant impact around Khartoum. It is based on the well proven assumption that development is intrinsically linked to literacy.

The use of the Reflect approach has been the core of the programme and has proved a versatile and creative way of providing women with opportunities for empowerment, economic improvement and increased family welfare. The aim is to allow women greater participation in equitable development through the acquisition of literacy.

Facilitators and participants have mobilized their communities on a number of issues, including HIV/AIDS education, cleaning campaigns, health education and sanitation. Key to the success has been that the process is based on what the participants know, rather than what the facilitator knows.

Owing to the successful completion of the process by 2,000 participants, the literacy rate increased from 20% to 36% among the women in the age range 18-45 years old. Over 250 participants organized classes for higher formal education and 300 joined basic education government schools. 21 facilitators took up part time university studies.

The impact of Reflect at the community level was very positive. Since Reflect circles started the whole community has been positively affected by its benefits. Groups identified problems and in some cases succeeded in taking actions including: basic maintenance of roads to facilitate daily traffic and movements; creation of local markets and small shops in isolated areas; establishment of new kindergartens where there weren't enough; and promotion of different campaigns on HIV and health. For bigger matters, they addressed the local council, obtaining services such as running water and power as well as better public transportation. Women's contribution to household income has increased as a result of income generating activities. The increase has a positive impact on spending on nutritious food and health. Women feel that they now have a voice and a sense of involvement in community-based organisations and in family decision-making.

Excepted from Education Action 20, p.39 (2006)

‘Facilitating women's participation in post-war community development: glimpses from Reflect in Afghanistan'

ActionAid, GOAL, Children-in-Distress and other agencies, including a local NGO, CCA, partnered in using the Reflect approach to facilitate women's participation in post-war community development. The Reflect approach was felt to be an appropriate way to awaken the dormant strength of the women.

An inter-agency training of trainers (TOT) on Reflect took place. One area that the training focused on was communication and power. One of the key components in this was the role of information in post war Afghanistan - access and control over relevant and appropriate information. A series of exercises such as Venn diagrams, mobility maps and flow charts were used by participants to describe and analyse communication and power from an angle of gender, class, age and ethnicity. Through a couple of exercises, the participants came to discuss, debate and understand ways of challenging power through enabling people to communicate in their own context and then related it to women's situation in Afghan society.

Impact so far:
Through Reflect, there have been marked changes in the following areas:
Women's voice: Women have started raising their voice at least at the family level.
Influencing Government: The national government is going for constitutional reforms. Through participatory dialogue, the community has been involved in identifying reform areas.
Influencing donors: Donor agencies like Eco have been influenced to provide resources for the plans identified by the community in their community change plans.

Excerpted from Education Action 18, p.32 (2004)