Special Edition: News from SALT in Assam, India
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News from The Constellation 

Information around and about The Constellation

December 2017

Happy 2018!
On our way to shared governance
Special Edition: News from SALT in Assam, India
Engaging all community members
Signs of community ownership
Community engagement to increase immunisation coverage: “We want to reach level 5!”
Other local responses
Presentation of the SALT study at the 2017 International Indian Statistical Association Conference
The importance of documentation
What else is happening in The Constellation?
GLOBAL ‒ Openings for the online SALT programme
FRANCE ‒ Self-assessment adapted to children on well-being at school
BELGIUM ‒ First event facilitating an individual's encounter with him/herself

Happy 2018! 

Dear Constellation Friends
As certain as every morning’s sunrise
is our capacity to Love.
When Love knocks on our door,
are we letting it in?
Are we taking enough care of ourselves
to let Love work through us?
Over 2018, let us further explore how SALT enables Love in Action.
Just Love, by Jean-Louis Lamboray

On our way to shared governance

The founding meeting of the ‘Constellation for AIDS Competence’ took place on 8 December 2004 in Geneva. In the 13 years since that first meeting, we have evolved and developed as we have worked to learn from our experience. In 2011, we changed our name to ‘The Constellation’ to reflect the reality that our understanding that communities had the capacity to respond to a broad array of challenges that they face.

In the 13 years since 2004, the Constellation has stimulated communities to take ownership of their response to their challenges. Perhaps it is inevitable, but it took us a long time to understand that the Constellation was itself a community and that the methodology that we espoused on other communities should be applied to ourselves.

At the end of the Global Learning Festival in Entebbe, Uganda in October, a broad group of Constellation voices came together to discuss how we could govern the Constellation in a way that was more consistent with the Constellation’s Way of Working. The group reached the conclusion that the members of the Constellation were indeed a community and that we should develop a form of governance which reflected our ideal of shared ownership of the Constellation by its members.

During 2018, we will explore how we translate that ideal into a practical form of governance that is faithful to that ideal. If you would like to be part of a transition group that leads us towards what we are calling shared governance, contact Alessandra Satta (

Philip Forth


Special Edition: News from SALT in Assam, India
The Constellation, the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-NES), the Voluntary Health Association of Assam (VHAA) and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) are working together on a project supported by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) called:

“Impact assessment of the SALT (Stimulate, Share, Appreciate, Listen, Learn, and Transfer) approach of community engagement to increase immunisation coverage through ownership‒a mixed methods study in Assam, India”. 

Since the beginning of 2017, facilitators from C-NES and VHAA support the approach in 120 villages in 3 districts of Assam: Kamrup Rural, Bongaigaon, and Udalguri. PHFI will be evaluating the SALT intervention using a randomized controlled trial from March 2018 to January 2019.
Despite challenges, facilitators of the Kamrup, Bongaigaon, and Udalguri teams are doing tremendous work: “Everything is going well and community engagement is increasing day by day in the SALT process. Yes, we also have challenges, but we are always hopeful”, says Monjur Hussain of the Bongaigaon district team. 

All following pictures and activities were taken in December… An overview of the work of Ashok Rau, Babymoni Bordoloi, Jahirul Choudhury, Monjur Hussain, Baharul Islam and Sujit Ray (Bongaigaon team), Trailakya Das, Dipak Nath, Ruchira Neog and Akhil Kalita (Kamrup Rural team), Jyotika Barua, Mantu Boro, Santu Das and Amrit Rabha (Udalguri team) and villagers of Assam. 

Photo courtesy of Neog Ruchira.

Engaging all community members

“A group of women build their dream, self-assess and plan their actions in Harir Char Pt I, Bongaigaon district.” Courtesy of Babymoni Bordoloi.

“Men participate in dream building and self-assessment in Dihina, Kamrup district.” Courtesy of Trailakya Das.

“Children participate in dream building in Arrengpara, Udalguri district.” Courstesy of Mantu Boro.

To engage all community members, district team facilitators strike up random conversations on the streets, they do prior and follow up visits in villages, they have After Experience discussions with participants, and they involve villagers in facilitation.
“We took what we call Verbal Action Plan as people were not available due to their daily work and National Register of Citizens (NRC) related issues. Discussion started with 3 women which were later joined by many people of the community including health worker. We achieved the plan we made for the day.” Courtesy of Jahirul Choudhury.
Some facilitators like Mantu Boro, go to the village on the previous day to invite people to the meeting: “At the action plan meeting at Talumbari, Udalguri district, the 26th of December 2017, there was a good mix of old and new participants. Some people who had done dream building and self-assessment turned up for action planning.” 
And numerous follow up visits are made; in the photo, at Barjana pt 2, Bongaigaon District. Photo courtesy of Babymoni Bordoloi.
“The last rays of the sun peep through the trees as we wrap our session in Dihina, Kamrup District, with an After-Experience Reflection (AER) where the community members take part seated in circle with facilitators.” Courtesy of Neog Ruchira.

Mantu Boro observes that AER with the community is helpful to encourage more community members to attend meetings.
Active participation of villagers is also encouraged thanks to local facilitators of the community. From the beginning, district team facilitators engaged community members in facilitation of SALT visits, and now these members are also helping in the Community Life Competence Process (CLCP). “Akan Boruah was interested in home visits and the SALT process made him happy as he realised this is the only process to improve immunisation levels.” Courtesy of Dipak Nath.
“The local champions are active, enthusiastic and engaged. They understand what this process is all about. They are a powerful force for good,” shares Phil Forth after his visit in Assam, from the 4th to the 8th of December 2017.
Signs of community ownership

Let alone local responses, district team facilitators are happy to see signs of community ownership as spontaneous transfers, invitations by the villagers to facilitate the next step of the CLCP and other various initiatives.
Two men said: “We feel as if we were sleeping for the last many years, and today it seems we have woken up from our sleep and trying to know more about immunization.” They decided to transfer it to 5 other men and they will tell them to transfer to other 10…through this, one day, all people of the community will be aware. Courtesy of Jahirul Choudhury.

He also shares the story of a mother who was not aware of the disadvantages of not having her two children immunized: “After yesterday’s exercise and the discussion, she has now taken the responsibility to discuss with others so that no one will repeat the mistake she made.”

“In Talumbari, Udalguri district, two women from a neighbouring village accompanied the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA, health worker). They were very impressed and said that through community conversations the immunization rate will go up. They added that they will go back and share this in their own village.” Courtesy of Mantu Boro.

Another example of spontaneous transfer shared by Phil Forth: “We were driven to Bongaigaon from Guwahati by a man that had been recommended by Samina to Rituu and he had taken Rituu on her journeys to Bongaigaon and Udalguri. At the end of a day when he had driven for perhaps 8 hours through Indian traffic, he spoke to Rituu. He had been listening to what Rituu had been doing in the villages and he thought it was a really good idea. He had built his own dream and was now working on his Self Assessment.”
“The community was having a meeting on last month progress on the action plan and we, district facilitators, are feeling good to share that we were invited by the community to join them as participants and to understand the present status. The local facilitators actively participated, and we are hopeful to see further effective changes.” Courtesy of Monjur Hussain in Bashbari, Manipur block, Bongaigaon.
“Follow up visit at Burhapujasali, Udalguri district. After developing the Action Plan, people were busy harvesting. Now, community on their own held a discussion for implementation.” Courtesy of Mantu Boro.

In Talumbari, action planning discussions made a 65-year-old want to address the issue of the children’s education. The AWW (Anganwadi worker) teaches the children at the Anganwadi centre (mother and child care centre), but the AWW is not regular. He will meet others in the village and discuss how to address this issue. Villagers also decided to ask the ANM (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife) and AWW for more information on immunization.

Community engagement to increase immunisation coverage: “We want to reach level 5!”
On this photo, the ASHA is making villagers aware of the details of the immunization schedule. This was a meeting/awareness programme conducted at the behest of the community people. She is very happy that people are coming forward to know more about immunisation as she always wanted: “Earlier, people did not know about their Routine Immunization for 8 antigens (RI8: tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B causing meningitis, more information here), but now they are eager to know more, and they could take action for it.” Courtesy of Jahirul Choudhury.
Fathers have started taking their children for immunisation. Photo courtesy of Jahirul Choudhury.

Mantu Boro shows, in the villages entrusted to him, a photo from Deepak's village where men have started to take their children for immunization. In one village, an ANM subsequently encouraged the fathers in the village to get involved in immunization.
“In two homes of Silamahikhati village, family members have written the date for next immunization at the entrance of their homes so that the family can see it every day and not forget the immunization schedule.”  Courtesy of Dipak Nath.
Community designs its own reminder, by Rituu B. Nanda.

“People now know the immunization schedule and they don’t need to be invited for immunization sessions by health workers at Chatpara, Bongaigaon District” Courtesy of Jahirul Choudhury.

“Now, the health workers in Barsapari feel very happy because before our SALTvisits, they had to inform the parents about the date of immunization of their child, but today the parents inform health workers about their child immunization date” shares Dipak Nath. The community has started coming forward to ask ASHAs and ANMs if the vaccination supply is there for the immunization of their children.
Second self-assessment in Dumuria pt3 of Bongaigaon District: the village is fully immunised, and villagers are joining the ASHA for home visits to talk to dropouts. “We are at level 4.” Courtesy of Baharul Islam.

Other local responses
Currently, the Assam facilitators are doing second self-assessment in many communities, and they are invited to see the results of activities. Santu and Montu facilitated a complete CLCP cycle and second self-assessment in all 10 villages under their responsibility.
“In Banderigaon, Udalguri district, villagers applied for an Anganwadi centre (mother and child care centre).” Courtesy of Mantu Boro. 
“This group at Barangajuli pt 3, Udalguri district, added one new action: cleaning of the Sub-Center (first contact health point) by community.” Courtesy of Santu Das. 
“Community in Anadhowapara planted fruit bearing tree at the Anganwadi centre as planned in the action plan.” Courtesy of Jyotika Barua. 

Presentation of the SALT study at the 2017 International Indian Statistical Association Conference
Santanu of PHFI presented the SALT study at the 2017 International Indian Statistical Association conference in Hyderabad. Arpita presented her work on childhood diarrhoea using SALT study baseline data. The talk was about the impact of household water and sanitation, mother’s handwashing practices and village-level sanitation on childhood diarrhoea in rural Assam. Application of statistical methods in such a relevant problem for India was highly appreciated in the conference. 

The importance of documentation
Rituu B. Nanda published a blog about her work with the Constellation for KM4ARD (Knowledge Management for Agricultural and Rural Development): Collective Planning from the Ground Up. “At Constellation we reflect a lot, but we don’t document systematically. Documentation is important, not only to help with sharing of lessons, but when you document you reflect and learn even more. Therefore, I decided to participate in the Goa workshop on experience capitalization.” Here you will find the steps of experience capitalisation that unfold like a CLCP cycle.
What else is happening in The Constellation?
GLOBAL ‒ Openings for the online SALT programme
Interested in enhancing your SALT/CLCP facilitation skills? The Constellation offers an online training program. More information here or contact Luc Barriere-Constantin (

FRANCE ‒ Self-assessment adapted to children on well-being at school
“To assess their "competence level" on each practice, the children were asked to tell, for each of the practices, what was really happening in the courtyard. […] This has helped to surface anecdotes reflecting the behaviour of children, and the stories can serve as a starting point for future actions. The feelings provoked or felt by the children and the solutions they implemented to remedy situations experienced were also mentioned. This helped to guide discussions about what can be done in the schoolyard with respect to these priority practices.”

A group of children aged 6 to 12 from a Montessori elementary school in Haute-Savoie are embarking on a project to re-enchant their playground. They are delighted to be given this responsibility: "We are the leader of us!". Description of the process and adaptations put in place for children in the blog SALT with children by Luc Barrière-Constantin.
BELGIUM ‒ First event facilitating an individual's encounter with him/herself 
“If I have the experience of formulating a dream for my life, I will contribute to the elaboration of the community dream with greater coherence, depth and commitment."
Sunday, the 3rd December 2017, was held a first meeting at the encounter of the deep 'self' led by Laurie Khorchi, Nathalie Legros and Celicia Theys. They propose a series of regular meetings, in the line of circles of life*. If you are interested in the process, do not hesitate to contact Nathalie Legros at
A SALTy dance between personal and collective, by Nathalie Legros.
*The presence of the participants, simply sitting in a circle, gives strength and courage to touch and express what is a stake deep inside each of us.
  • Birgitta Schomaker is inspired by Insoo Kim Berg, the founder of solution-oriented therapy. Here, Insoo Kim Berg explains why you don't have to analyze problems in order to create solutions.
  • From Friday, the 2nd February 2018 at 18:30, to Sunday, the 4 February 2018 at 17:00, will be held the next SALT training in French organized by BelCompetence. See here for more information. For a training in English at the same date, contact Anita Sheehan at
ARE YOU IN? Working towards Constellations dream
“Is it possible to imagine [...] a world where individuals and communities recognise and respect their common humanity, and live out their full potential to contribute to society as a whole?”

To join our organisation; to be a member, a facilitator or a coach:
To take a SALT and CLCP facilitation course in English, French or Spanish:

If you are interested in becoming an online SALT facilitator, contact Autry.
Sponsor a documentary on local responses!
For more information:
Life Competence Online Community
This Newsletter is produced with input from members, facilitators and coaches of The Constellation.

The blogs referred to in the Newsletter are posted on the Constellation’s online platform at:

Previous Newsletters are posted on the Constellation’s site: under the subtitle 'Follow us'.

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Some articles of this newsletter have been translated with the help of Google Translation and Linguee.

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