Facilitating Agency for School-Based Support in Teachers through Asset Mobilisation

In: From microscope to kaleidoscope

The purpose of this chapter is to report on a funded1 research case-study that formed part of a greater research initiative2. The reported case-study was conducted to explore and describe the process of mobilising assets in a HIV&AIDS-infected and affected rural community. The working assumption was that the mobilisation of assets within a community could support and enhance school-based community support within the context of the HIV&AIDS pandemic. A qualitative research approach as methodological paradigm was followed and participant rural appraisal (PRA) was used as methodological design for the reported study. A primary school in the Nelson Mandela Metropole was purposefully and conveniently selected as an information-rich case for in-depth study. Ten teachers participated in the study. The study was theoretically founded on an asset-based approach, with the focus on school-based community support. A number of data-gathering procedures were implemented: focus groups in combination with workshops, visual data, observation and field notes, as well as a reflective journal. The 10 participating teachers that took part in the study were enabled to identify and mobilise assets and resources within their community and to continue with the facilitation process on their own. The teachers identified 3 priority areas and succeeded in establishing a vegetable garden on the school grounds, a support group and an information centre for HIV&AIDS-infected and affected members of the community. These initiatives resulted in the community as a whole being better equipped and enabled to deal with the daily difficulties associated with HIV&AIDS that were being experienced on the emotional, spiritual, material, social and knowledge levels.