The first part of last year saw an intensive process of selection and training of volunteer Community Development Workers. These workers, who were chosen by their own community, are now representatives of Operation Hope Swaziland for their community and vice versa.
Training topics have included gender, the environment, child protection, reporting mechanisms, communication, conflict resolution, referrals, assessment and community development.
The local team, through emailed training notes, continues with the training when the Australian team are not in Swaziland.
This system has been very time and fuel effective with direct referrals coming in via the Community Development Workers. This year the Community Development Workers drew locality maps identifying the assets that already lie within their community. These included schools, care points, health clinics and community gardens, as well as skills of the community members like teachers, agriculturalists, farmers, builders etc.
These maps will be taken into their respective communities so other members can also have some input. The purpose of this exercise is for the community to see that they already may have some skills and facilities within their reach to achieve their desired outcomes and goals. Our job is to facilitate and help them to discover what is already in their backyard.