Activity: Talk or presentation › Lecture and oral contribution
In this seminar, we will explore the how professional NGO facilitators conduct circle work practices to localize, legitimize and sustain social change processes in rural Malawi.
Over a 5-year period, from 2010 to 2015, Jonas Agerbaek has conducted an ethnographic study of a development program called Action for Social Change (ASC). ASC is driven by a network of NGOs in Denmark and several East African countries, including Malawi. The ASC NGOs are all members of the international Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
The REFLECT circle is a pivotal element within the ASC strategy. REFLECT is a participatory form of development practice that invites community members to identify, discuss and prioritize issues that affect them, and seek feasible ways to address and solve them. In addition, REFLECT promotes a distinct view of ‘literacy’ understood not only as the ability to read, write and do mathematics, but also in the Freirian sense as a prerequisite for ‘conscientization’ or becoming ‘critically aware’ of one’s own situation.
In the Malawi, ADRA also encourage local community journalists to source stories through the REFLECT circles. These journalists work closely with community facilitators contracted by ADRA, who in turn take responsibility for broadcasting their stories on wider media platforms, including debate and edutainment programs on national radio and television, all produced at ADRA Malawi’s headquarters.
In the seminar, after making an overall presentation his research, Jonas will facilitate a joint analysis of video-recorded empirical materials from his fieldwork. By collectively exploring and reflecting upon how REFLECT unfolds in actual practice, we will raise questions such as how circle work may enable or inhibit specific types of utterances or discourses, as well as how REFLECT participants, if at all, can use such space to gain control over wider processes of development.