In Phayao, a province of northern Thailand, HIV prevalence had fallen from 20% among young men in 1992, to about 6% in 1997. This was the only the population in the world that had pushed back the epidemic to such an extent. What was their secret? "It is necessary to provide services to prevent, to care for AIDS, and to reduce its impact, but these services are not sufficient. The key resides in the actions of individuals, of families, and of communities in responding to the scourge”. Yet, global policy remained unchanged, based on the provision of services.
Founding the Constellation
In December 2004, Alison Campbell, April Foster, Dusit Duongsa, Fabiola Ngeruka, Geoff Parcell, Ian Campbell, Luc Barrière-Constantin, Marlou De Rouw, Sue Lucas, Usa Duongsa, Jean-Louis Lamboray and Alex Osterwalder met to found the Constellation. The perennial fog in Geneva blocked the view but our vision was clear: AIDS competence should spread faster than the virus. Our association would be called the Constellation. Local communities who mobilised themselves to address their own concerns would form the stars and illuminate each other for more effective responses. Facilitators from the Constellation would stimulate and connect local responses.
Fundamental Principle: Appreciation!
Gradually, we united around a fundamental principle - appreciation of our own strengths and the strengths of others. In our interaction with communities, we would not analyse deficiencies and needs in order for us experts to come up with solutions. Rather, through our dialogue, communities would become aware of their own strengths and, as a result, learn to use them to respond to their own issues. They would generate their own vision of success, identify practices that would enable them to achieve their vision, analyse their situation, take action, assess their own progress, adapt actions, and share experience with others. We call the combination of this process of systematic learning from action with appreciation as the “Community Life Competence approach”.
Adapted from Jean-Louis Lamboray's book "What makes us Human?" - read the FULL STORY of the Constellation.