I was working as a volunteer in the women’s development network association in Kassala state when the Practical Answers project began.
The knowledge centre was one of the activities and when I saw it I simply asked myself, can these centres change the behavior of rural communities? We visited four villages in order to assess the needs for these centers.
We found people ignorant of simple things. One very malnourished child, in second grade at school, caught my attention. When I went to visit the village again after a while, I asked after this child and learned that he had died. This increased my fear and apprehension. Would these centres be able to change the behaviour of a poor community if even their most basic rights aren’t found – clothing, food and drink. This is a great challenge for Practical Action.
The centre was furnished with a digital TV and DVD player, chairs, table, mattresses and a generator. We started producing informative materials in Arabic and also translated into local dialects.
When I next came to visit I found a significant change in the children. They were so much cleaner! I asked them about this change and one of the trainees in the organization who spoke the local dialect surprised me with the response of one of the children. He told me that when they watch TV they do not like to their clothes to be dirty. And so a shift is taking place in these villages.
After a while the Country Director of Kassala came to visit one of the knowledge centres and I was worried whether what we were doing would be clear or not. A meeting was called and we asked 45 year old Sadiq Omar Koliel, what interest there is in these centres in the village and he explained.
“We can now make dairy products from our abundant milk. Previously surplus milk would go bad. I felt very proud when I realized that we had reached a turning point from ignorance to knowledge.”
“When you plant a seed and wait for it to grow you are afraid for its future. But when you look at success, you are dazzled.”
This has happened through our knowledge centres and we hope that more and larger communities will benefit through knowledge.
- Challenge poverty with knowledge
- Knowledge centres sustain development
- Developmental theatre is an effective tool for change.