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The power of the community

A story of Local Response by Tebogo Joseph from Botswana

My name is Tebogo Joseph from Botswana. We have been doing SALT in the community. The community comes up with its concerns. One of the concerns that the community identified was the low number of community members who had tested. So the community went into the dream building where they said that our dream was to see many people testing in our community. From the dream, the community went into the Self Assessment and the action taking to say that our concern was that we are not testing in numbers. We had a dream of many people testing. 

And they had to ask themselves why people in their community were not being tested. What is it that we can do. The community agreed to come up with an action plan for HIV testing. And then they identified the resources that they needed. Then they started to look around them. What is there in their local community that they can use to address this concern of the low numbers of people being tested for HIV. 

Then they identified a local NGO in the community that is doing HIV testing. They approached them and they told them of their concern and that this what we really want. We want you to come and test us. And so that organisation came and did testing for that community. And in that activity that the community organised, 31 people tested. And then the community felt that this was not enough. We still have to go for yet another HIV testing. They went back to the local organisation to say that we still want to test more. 

And so the local organisation came again for testing and 29 people were tested. 

What I have learned is that with SALT is that the community is able to identify their concerns and that they were able to know how they can address those concerns. And I have learned that the community has the power and the knowledge to do things in their own way.

When we approached the community with SALT, the community had the power and the knowledge to do things in their own way.