PSA Reflection – Great way to start the week!

UniED student hold a group reflection on their Preparation for Social Action initiatives.

Posted May 30th, 2011 by alexandrarobertson with No Comments

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This morning I had the privilege of joining 47 UniED students for a reflection on their Preparation for Social Action (PSA) curriculum and subsequent community projects.

CORDE’s Director of the Board Dr Lee lee Ludher was visiting from Malaysia to facilitate the reflective session along with UniED tutors Mrs Ridvan, Mr Voha and Mr Samnang.

Students broke up into groups of 9 or 10 to discuss 3 reflective questions.

The first one being, what motivates you to participate in PSA?

Some responses and discussion around this question included:

“Seeing people come together to be active contributors to their communities well being.”

“The joy I get when I see people learn a new skill, feel productive and achieve things they found difficult.”

This question further prompted Mr Samnang to ask the group I was participating in,

“how do you feel when PSA says you are not a problem but rather resources with talents?”

The students collectively responded with,

“I feel happy, an important part of the community and like an active participant not just accepting aid and help.”

People discussed what motivates them to instigate and partake in PSA initiatives within their communities is working collectively to solve key problems their community is facing.

UniED Tutor Mr Samnang said,

“a problem is like a shadow, the more you run the more it will follow you. The more you speed up, it will speed up.”

It’s important for us to work with each other to face the problem and solve it. Mr Samnang also said,

“PSA is like a seed that can grow into a tree with the right care and cultivation and this tree then produces 100 fruit.”

The second question asked, what is the principal purpose of the PSA Program?

Through more group discussion it was general consensus that it’s purpose is to help people recognize their own value, ability and strengths they can use to be active contributors to their community.

One student Mona captured PSA’s purpose in a nutshell when she said,

“all of us have capacity and talents.”

It’s about helping people realise theirs!

The third question asked, what are the philosophical elements that characterize the PSA Program?

The key responses were,

“Don’t see people as recipients, see them as valuable resources. Help people recognize their own strengths, talents and capacity.”

“Listen to and learn from their experience and local knowledge and work together to generate new knowledge and skills.”

Applying PSA teachings

After the group discussion, 3 students shared their experiences with implementing PSA initiatives in their communities.

Mona said she was working on an education project that encourages critical and creative thought in children. It involves a series of hand crafted puppet sticks used to tell a story incorporating different animals from around the world.

Song Reaksa shared his experience of encouraging city gardens in his community and providing education around best agricultural practices for the environment. He specifically said,

“you cannot force people in the community to stop using chemical fertilizer, you can only educate and encourage them to use environmentally friendly and natural alternatives.”

Sopheak talked about his experience implementing Diversifying High Efficiency (DHE) practices when planting crops, which means how to plant your plot most efficiently. This involves using a ‘living fence’ as opposed to a wooden fence. For example you can use Papaya trees to keep the cows out and plant pineapple’s to keep out the chickens. You also need to understand what grasses and insects are on the land, as some grasses make great fertilizer and some insects help aerate the soil. Sopheak further talked about the concept of co-planting. For example beans produce good nutrients for corn and do not need much sun to grow so they can be planted together.

These students are all taking their PSA knowledge into their communities to instigate social change for their communities well-being. It was great to hear their different approaches to actioning PSA principles.

To see a room full of young people dedicating their Monday morning to collectively brainstorming, problem solving and reflecting on how they can best get people to discover and grow their own potential and strengths is inspiring beyond words!

Posted in CORDE Blog CORDE Training PSA UniED
Tags PSA Training
Written by alexandrarobertson

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