Vision, Commitment & Action Workshops

“Before I had attended the workshops at Zakpota Epicenter, my contributions to discussions in the village weren’t heard. Now I know much better how to articulate my opinion…I have become much more self-confident, and I am consulted more and more often when decisions are being made in my community.” – Louise Lagni, Dotan, Benin

 

One of fundamental elements of The Hunger Project’s work is to mobilize communities for self-reliant actions. Mobilization is a process that shifts the underlying mindset — awakening people to the possibility of self-reliance and the possibility of being sustainably hunger-free.

The process then builds confidence and creates a community-held vision of a new future beyond hunger, and generates commitment and action at the individual and community levels to achieve that vision within their epicenter community.

All of this happens through an intensive workshop called the Vision, Commitment and Action (VCA) Workshop. The VCA Workshop combines leadership training (which enables a community to create its own vision for the future) with a public commitment to realize that vision and the identification of a clear set of actions necessary to achieve the vision. Each participant is asked to develop a specific action plan for a project that she or he will achieve independently within three months, using her or his initiative, skills and family resources. The VCA Workshop is repeated in a succession of trainings throughout the course of a community’s development. With each workshop, new members of the community are engaged, the vision for the community is further developed and new openings for action are identified.

The first VCA Workshop is attended by all members of the community as well as local government officials. Often, communities will elect committee members to oversee certain aspects of their development process. For example, in Africa, members of an Epicenter Committee — six men and six women — are elected  to oversee the regular operations of the building after it is constructed. Additional committees include: Finance Committee (to collect income and monitor the finances of the epicenter); Water and Sanitation Committee; Education Committee (for the nursery school and functional adult literacy classes); Food Security Committee (managing the Food Bank); Food Processing Committee; and Health Committee.

At this first VCA Workshop, The Hunger Project recruits the most committed and motivated people — women and men — to become volunteer leaders, called “animators.” Using advanced VCA Workshops, The Hunger Project intensively trains animators in community-based strategic planning. These animators identify and prioritize activities according to the community-held vision created at the first mass VCA Workshop. They empower their fellow community members to recognize their own capacities, determine possible solutions, and then plan and implement the solutions independently from the project.