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Nurturing the links between neighbourhood responses and broader systems change
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Stories of Response

Since 2008 AFFIRM has been providing occasional updates on a selection of its activities. See below.

December 2022 – Walking With Communities through trauma of war and harrowing asylum seeking.

The year of the book Walking With Communities

Ian presenting book to Langson's uncle

The focus on 2022 was the book 'Walking with Communities'. Launched at The Salvation Army's International Headquarters in London on 24th February it is a celebration of the story of local communities from 21 countries. Local people are the foundation of the book, and are the source of the core learning emerging from accompaniment with the communities over a 30-plus year 'journey'.

Follow-on launch events took place in Woking (UK), Lusaka (Zambia) and Alexandria (USA). They confirmed the local and global significance of walking 'with' communities, particularly illuminated by global Covid experience. Presenting a copy of the book to the relatives of Langson, the young man who killed himself 35 years earlier because of the stigma he felt about having AIDS, was poignant and inspiring, particularly to the next generations who were there to hear and commemorate.

Goma – Democratic Republic of Congo

Goma SALT chaplaincy team

For two years the chaplaincy training team located at HEAL Africa, a large mission hospital, have been practising SALT with severely traumatised local communities in six towns outside of Goma. Whilst health is a core entry point, the main result is reconciliation. They have mentored 75 fellow chaplains, men and women, who are forming SALT teams in their locations in villages, towns, and institutional settings such as police, military, clinics, and schools. Affirmers Elvis Simamvwa and Onesmus Mutuku have been resilient, inventive and faith-driven in their facilitation.

"We have finished the Bunia session, by God's grace. It was inspiring and awesome. We have experience and hear great testimonies from Military Authorities who are ruling the Ituri Province understand the Emergency State. They have appreciated and are very supportive to SALT Movement. God is good!"
--Sophonie, Goma, DRC


Denmark 2022

A SALT/Integrated Mission weekend hosted by The Salvation Army at Frederikshavn in northern Denmark, provoked commitment from a newly formed team of volunteers to give SALT a try. A family from Myanmar and a woman from DRC shared harrowing and courageous asylum-seeking stories which grounded the event.


Iceland 2022

For over 20 years, asylum seekers from Venezuela have stopped in Iceland on their way to North America. Many have even halted in transit and are trying to make Iceland their home. Over 6,000 people have applied in the past year to stay in Iceland, which has a population of just 350,000 citizens. Massive change is accelerating. The Salvation Army is emerging as a peak example of accompaniment and advocacy.


Reconciliation is a core outcome of 'walking with communities' in Iceland, Denmark and DRC.

And isn't reconciliation what Christmas is about?

Thank you for our shared walk in this direction.

Let's keep walking.


November 2021 – Learning from Covid and other issues

It has been two years since our last Update. In that time:

What have we learned?


Chieftainess Ellie Kalichi

We learned in Zambia, for example, that community conversations were instrumental in helping people accept that the virus is real. The conversations were held in late 2020 and were face-to-face (but at a distance), and they covered 300 villages including 70,000 people in the Mapangaya Chiefdom.

The team members are part of the 'Mapangaya Development Trust', which is linked to the office of the Chieftainess Ellie Kalichi. Financial support was provided by The Salvation Army in Zambia and USA (Chicago), and from a tiny church in Australia.

A shift of belief from 5% to near 80% happened within a three-month period. Indicators of the shift being owned locally (rather than from afar) included actions for preventing of Covid transmission at home and in the neighbourhood, readiness to care for each other, and referral to health facilities when needed.

The second phase, which is vaccination preparedness, is now beginning, even though countrywide availability of vaccines is extremely low.

Hong Kong

Puise Chan

In Hong Kong, Puisi Chan, who directs Cedar Fund, initiated a SALT refresher course online, facilitated by Alison and Ian over a period of three months. The course's four sessions focused on:

Our joint reflection is that online methods are useful for refreshment, but that we all need in-person mentoring to deeply embed the mindset and practice of SALT.

Over the years we have been together with some of Cedar Fund's people in Ethiopia, Myanmar, Thailand – and more recently, China. It is good to know that Cedar Fund has such experience with SALT. These team-mates can accompany others in the Cedar Fund as they try to help some churches in Hong Kong become examples of listening to local community story.

Unfortunately Covid and complex politics have combined to stir conflict even within churches – but the Cedar Fund team wants to facilitate reconciliation by motivating local church teams to do SALT visits regularly in nearby local neighbourhoods.

Goma – Democratic Republic of Congo


In Goma 'Heal Africa', a mission hospital and community development centre, is engaging with several provinces that are heavily populated and hard-to-reach. Many Chaplains (111 in total) have been trained to respond to health issues in a health care setting, yet more is needed.

Affirm was asked to facilitate a process of integrated process through embedding SALT practice. In response Elvis Simamvwa from Zambia, and Onesmus Mutuku from Kenya, visited in March and September of 2021.

Elvis and Onesmus have seen a transformed approach by the chaplains – they now see clearly that listening to local story generates optimism for change, even in a very fractured society. Longer term, they see reconciliation.

The learning event in January 2022 will be a time of analysis. It will involve distilling co-factors that have stimulated change, and planning forward with Heal Africa for expanding its facilitation role as is now needed.


The above examples, and others in India, Argentina, Sierra Leone, and the U.K., are a learning ground. We learned, not least, that 'safe proximity' trumps 'social distance'. Validated through conversations, team reflection, and progress reports, we have seen that:

Have you learned similar things too?

December 2019

Freetown, Sierra Leone

Sri Lanka

In January, Alison helped facilitate a learning review in Freetown, with friends of Health Communication Resources. A team of 40 people from three communities of the city has been doing SALT practice every fortnight for three years, having started after the Ebola epidemic of 2014.

The team has called its approach 'Amplifying Voices through SALT (AVS)', which reflects the host role of a local radio station, called BBN. Progress has been encouraging:

Castelvetrano, Sicily, Italy

Sri Lanka

Castelvetrano was the location for the fourth 'Integrated Mission through SALT' workshop, in March. In October a fifth visit followed, this time to Potenza, which is inland from Naples. These visits came after the initial catalyst event in Rome in early 2018, and demonstrations in Naples and Turin. Overall we see:


Sri Lanka

Pottsville, Pennsylvania was the location for a SALT workshop in April, with a follow-up visit in September. The initial response was illuminating for the local Salvation Army group, and they applied the SALT approach to many situations in the next weeks.

'Our whole approach has been influenced a lot', says Brad Harris who is the 'in-charge'. The team there has noticed a rapid growth in its youth program between April and September, with over 40 local youth participating, most from the nearby neighbourhoods.

SALT practice has been applied by a school crossing guard, and by the team at a recent community fair, where many encounters happened that built trust and friendship.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka was the location for the annual GLoCon visit. In mid-July we reconnected with seven communities around the Hikkadua area, which had been affected by the tsunami of 26 December 2004.

A consistent pattern now is resilience, which is shown by sustained neighbourhood 'togetherness', evolution and adaptation of income generating initiatives, interfaith trust and local collaboration, and invitations to return.

We were joined by Berni Georges of the Salvation Army International Headquarters Communications Unit. Berni had designed the layout of the original post-tsunami psychosocial document. Berni was joyful on meeting some community people who were the subjects of stories and photos from 2005. Now for the first time, some 14 years later, they could meet each other face-to-face. Respect and love flowed!


Sri Lanka

Ethiopia is an ancient land which for the past two years has a new government. A lot of political change is happening affecting local mindsets and approaches.

In partnership with Cedar Fund based in Hong Kong, and with Ethiopian hosts Abraham Kasaye and Amanuel Atile, who had joined the GLoCon visit to Kenya in September 2018, it seemed the right time to stimulate SALT practice in the southern regions of Sidama and Walaita. Each location represents large church and community development networks in Ethiopia.

Sri Lanka

Through SALT practice reconcilliation of local connections emerged, despite political instability. This involved local stigmatised-families, program officers, self-support groups and local churches.

Mulugeta Dejenu of Tearfund (Ireland) reflected:

'... The churches/project officers are within walking range from the families and neighbourhoods but have distanced themselves ...'

And, Hollace Chai of Cedar Fund:

'... SALT keeps our eyes the same level with the reality ... humanity is again restored in such natural conversation ... reminding us how we can better observe (God's) work ...'.

Bratislava, Slovakia

Sri Lanka

In late August, in two Roma communities located in the city of Bratislava, Slovakia, Alison and Ian listened and learned with Hannelise Tvedt, the Salvation Army leader in the Netherlands, which supports the work in Slovakia.

A compelling moment was a short situational depiction in the street, reflecting what we had all learned. The local Roma families, the nearby 'white' neighbours, the Salvation Army kindergarten and church, and State policy people, were represented. Bridges for conversation to help reduce conflict were imagined.

Soon afterwards a call from the State Ministry for Education was received; it invited a face-to-face handing-over of the official registration certificate for the kindergarten. The uprising of mutual respect happened after it became clear that TSA has been making an effort to facilitate reconciliation, not just 'fix things' through services.

7. The Netherlands

In The Netherlands an annual orientation course in late August for Salvation Army employees and prospective officers/ministers in Europe included SALT practice as an element of integrated mission. In such courses this is a very good element.

Despite the constraint of doing an interactive process indoors, the response was vigorous and focused. For a similar situation in the future, we would set up SALT visits with hotel staff, and near neighbourhood if it is there. That would help embed more concretely the critical skills of strategic questioning, and active relational listening.

Hong Kong, Myanmar, Thailand

Sri Lanka

In early November a visit was made to Hong Kong/ Myanmar/ Thailand with the Cedar Fund team from Hong Kong, their associates from Kunming in China, and partners from Myanmar and Thailand. There was shared learning about going beyond normal project culture, as for Ethiopia earlier in the year.

The common deep concern in the cross-border situation is the plight of migrating families and trafficked people of particular ethnic minorities. Local community conversations happened on both sides of the border, with reflection about their responses to painful separations of family members, associated with drug use, HIV, and sex work related 'slavery'.

Sri Lanka

One group member, who has long project experience, reflected:

'... it is very simple and very good ... one positive aspect is that the project was followed-up without actually feeling like someone was ... judging the project process.'

Immediately afterwards Pui-shan visited India, and says:

'This time I have been wearing the SALT glasses during the whole time. We are all reserved in appreciating people yet we all witness God's miracles when practising it. I am learning the appreciation mindset.'

What are we learning?

There are globally relevant patterns of response, within and across cultures and language groups.

Let’s keep going wherever we are, with our local teams, neighbourhoods and work/worship places. The three circles of home, neighbourhood, and programme centre can and must intersect. When that happens, we know the answers to the question 'Who am I?' and we see the future more clearly.

Thank you Affirm facilitators, associates, and friends for being pathways for hope where you are and beyond.


July 2019


A conversation summary of the GLoCon visit to Ethopia 14-19 July 2019 is now available.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

In July Ian and Alison visited Sri Lanka as part of the ongoing GLoCon initiative. They were accompanied by Berni (champion creator of the TOGETHER film) and some locals.

As usual the purpose of the visit was to reconnect, encourage and learn. The history of relationship and accompaniment is long – AFFIRM first visited there 26 years earlier in 1993.

AFFIRM had been active after the 2004 tsunami ... Claire and Swarna had worked there with trauma counselling, which we know more generally as SALT. Sri Lanka

In Hikkaduwa – an original home-host for trauma counselling – the tsunami had brought water nine-feet high, a mile from the beach.

Colonel Suresh Pawar was there – wow! He's been a long-time team-mate in India and other countries, and is now The Salvation Army leader in Sri Lanka. His insight into vision and process for local neighbourhood movement is astounding and inspiring.

Sarat was there, and Berni was delighted at last to met him in person. In 2006 Berni had inserted Sarat's picture into the booklet called 'Learning by Participating'.

Sri Lanka

John Solomon was there. 'Exhausting time but strangely not tired', said John. John has been contributing to the work since Adam was a boy.

One of the strengths we observed to have flourished after the tsunami was hand-loom weaving. 40 women. First prize in a national weaving contest. Confidence!

Transfer is happening. Swarna has mentored Danuka. Brilliant. Compassionate. Ranjith is a natural SALT champion. The next generations carry the story forward, ready for the next wave if it comes.

Sri Lanka

Sadly, the next tsunami is drug abuse. But, there is strength and hope, and the lessons and capacity arising from the tsunami are already being applied. In Dais Place, Colombo ... neighbourhood SALT radiates from newly opened alcohol and drug addiction base.

The visit had been planned earlier in the year, before the tragic events of Easter. Such events open old wounds – but the people are resilient.

Overall, the visit was a high-quality immersion in recalling and reaching forward ... seven communities showing serious progress and faith-related change in 14 years.

December 2018

Italy – Rome, Naples, Turin

Rome, Italy

All three cities are different, yet are connected as a national family, each with specific history. In each the Salvation Army is moving toward authentic local neighbourhood engagement.

The context at present is peculiar, with diverse political views and anxiety about immigration, jobs, and integrity of family.

The demonstrations of community conversation are growing, and institutions are starting to adapt. Affirm's facilitation work will continue into 2019, starting with Sicily in March.

USA – in the 'Empire state'

Rochester, New York state

New York state covers a large area, touching the Canadian border. SALT demonstrations have continued in cities like Rochester, Syracuse, Saratoga Springs, Batavia, Geneva, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Tonawanda, Oneonta, Troy, and Utica.

The goal over three years has been to nurture the emergence of a state-wide facilitation team, and that is now visible, and growing, in terms of conceptual grasp and practice.

Kenya – Kithithuni

Children, Kenya

A return GLoCon visit to Kenya happened in September, a year after the unexpected road-traffic death of John Mutua, a local champion.

We met John's family, and we reflected, acknowledged memory, and thanked God for John.

The Kithithuni facilitation team re-awakened to its local opportunity, particularly in engaging youth, district wide, through sport.

Two international team mates were from Ethiopia, sent via a global partner called Cedar Fund, to which Puisi Chan is connected. Puisi is a practitioner of integrated mission in China and has been linked with Affirm for a long time.

The Ethiopians – Abraham and Emanual – want SALT to happen in their respective locations; they intend to facilitate, step by step.

South West Coast Path ('the walk') – ‘Walking with communities’, June 2018.

Wow! Never again – not at that distance and pace – but it was the best.

A total of 630 miles, in 28 days, at an average of 22 miles per day, up and down, rain and sun, exhilarating, exhausting, with solitude, isolation, and sometimes lonely, yet not to be missed. See the daily accounts and reflections.

The fund-raising partner was Arukah. The funds that were raised helped towards Affirm's Kenya visit and Arukah's work in developing a global community of health clusters.

Book – 'Walking with communities', 2019

Expect something by end 2019. There will be 24 chapters, each of them grounded in a GLoCon story from 2012/13, refreshed by encounters along the walk in June 2018.

The resonating stories point to a core theme that is relevant to global health and development and faith. The walk allowed space for reflection, which was gathered into a thematic analysis each day, and dictated into a phone. It covered themes such as ‘Care linked to change’, and ‘Reconciliation’.

So far the book's content seems surprisingly coherent. The first three chapters have been shaped, with Alison and Robin editing and co-writing.

GLoCon June 2019 – Sri Lanka.

You are welcome to join a visit to Sri Lanka, probably in June 2019, to appreciate local neighbourhood community, where some of us have been connected for many years.

Our aim is to encourage the local team-members, connect them with other communities in other countries, and together learn to adapt and to facilitate transfer.

The visit is also an opportunity to bring together the book chapters, to shape consistency and to note links between chapters.

So that some can join us who otherwise couldn't, we'll have to raise some funds. Stay tuned – but there won't be another walk like this year's, that's for sure.

In May 2019, though, there will be the West Highland Way walk, in Scotland. It's a six-day adventure; more gentle. It may allow a fund-raising opportunity. Any of us are welcome to join.

April 2018

walk with communities

Walking with communities

Affirm is linked with Arukah, a like-minded global community health organisation. In partnership with Arukah, Alison and Ian will be raising funds by doing a long walk. The comment from Arukah follows:

Dear Friends,

The picture above is taken along the famous 'South West Coast Path' – a 631 mile route along one of the UK's most beautiful coastlines. If you were to walk all of the path in a month, you'd have to walk 21 miles a day, every day. That's a lot of walking!

But in June this year, Dr. Ian Campbell, an associate of Arukah Network, will attempt to do just that. He's raising money both for Arukah Network and his own organisation, Affirm Facilitators. They, like us, are involved in walking with communities on a journey towards health and wellbeing.

Ian puts it like this: 'We will enjoy, write, reflect about grace in local and global story, work and walk hard, and raise some funds.'

The fund raising is an after-thought actually. It might work.

I will be doing the walking, and Alison the logistics (with some walking, tea, etc.)!

631 miles, 30 days, 21 miles per day! Someone in Australia committed one dollar per mile today – that is Aus$631 – wow! I was going to be happy with a lot less as the grand total from all sponsors.

Family from the United States and Australia will be joining. They might find their own sponsors. Others from our local church linked people will join for a day or so. Some Arukah friends will walk some sections.

For more information, and to sponsor Ian and Alison, see walking with communities. Perhaps you can send the link to people you know, who might have an imagination for doing this walk, and who might know us a bit, but cannot get there.

Fundholding is available through:

Arukah (UK)
P. O. Box 854
Exeter, EX1 9XN
Registered charity number 1162564


In September, with team-mates from China and New Zealand, we will visit a community in Kenya – one that has sustained its work on HIV and health and development and faith for well over 15 years. They need encouragement to go further with the many nearby communities (over 100) that they have stimulated.

December 2017

1. Film release

The highlight for the year has been the film release – 'Together: a journey of neighbourhood conversations'. See for the film, the four film segments (one per country), the Exhibition, the Discussion Guide, and the SALT protocol, as well as the 'how to' guide called 'Integrated Mission Frameworks'.

General Andre Cox hosted the launch on August 3rd, at The Salvation Army International Headquarters, in London, and strongly endorsed the message that local relationship is the key pathway into hope, worldwide.

Martin Lee of ECHO and Global Connections facilitated a panel discussion. Over 100 people attended.

What matters now is dissemination:

Thanks to so many people – Neil MacInnes, the film person and producer; ECHO for supporting the editing costs; Kevin Sims and Berni Georges of The Salvation Army International Headquarters; and the local communities featured in the film. Thanks also to Andrew Wilson for web-site support, and Rituu Nanda for social media dissemination and team leadership. There are more credits at the end of the film. Take a look if you have not already done so?

2. Sierra Leone

'Amplifying Voices through SALT' (AVS), hosted by FEBA (UK), partnering with BBN Freetown (a local community based radio station) and Affirm, has focused on SALT practice as a means of trust recovery by local communities with health and church structures and groups following the Ebola epidemic of 2014. A team of 40 people from three communities and associated clinics, churches and mosques have assembled every two weeks to do SALT visits. There are now seven communities actively responding, each with stories to share of locally driven change e.g. reduction in teenage pregnancies in Sumailatown following relocation of water pipes; and reawakening of a dormant youth organisation in Grey Bush, where youth are now fixing water problems and electricity supply.

The latest community is Motomeh. There a mudslide occurred on August 14th and caused a chill of anxiety throughout whole country. During SALT visits there in early November the common response was relief that some caring people are finally listening to their story. BBN staff are sensitively following up, and many stories are being amplified via radio.

In January 2018 a participatory action research visit will happen. That will enable some stories to be explored in detail.

Elvis Simamvwa is the consistent Affirm presence in Freetown – he visits every six months.

3. AVS – West Bengal, India

In May a similar process was launched in Jalpaiguri and Siliguri, West Bengal. The local radio partner, supported by FEBA (UK) and FEBA (India), is teaming up with local church and community people. Together they're exploring how SALT can deepen and widen relationship and local community change. Bobby Zachariah is the Affirmer who is involved periodically with the FEBA and AVS team.

4. The Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory Integrated Mission

The process has expanded for 53 locations where SALT teams have formed over the past three years. Three 'Divisions' have formed facilitation teams to help sustain and expand the approach. The most recent summary report is available from the Mission and Culture part of the Program Department. See

5. The National Social Services Conference of The Salvation Army in Canada

The conference hosted a SALT learning event on October 23rd, in Toronto. The local demonstration site, at a Salvation Army church, hosted SALT visits by the group of 40 people who gathered for the day. Follow up will happen in April 2018.

6. Next steps for Affirm?

The aim is a GLoCon visit each year. These visits encourage local community to keep going, and enable next steps to crystallise. For 2018 the time will be after August, in a location to be clarified (possibly in India).

Fund-raising for the next GLoCon visit will happen in June. Ian will walk the South West Coastal Path of England – 630 miles in 30 days. Sponsors (per day or per mile) will be needed. More later, including details of a partner arrangement with Arukah (UK) through which an on-line donation process will be set up.

Along with follow-up in New York State and Canada in April and October a SALT process will be catalysed in Rome, Italy in February. It's in support of The Salvation Army in Italy and Greece and has continuity planned for two years.

January 2017

The Affirm family is concerned about facilitating connection for expanding care and change from the inside out. There is no need to fear for the future, given that home and neighbourhood based relationship-building is sustained.

Many 'pointers' or signals let us know this reality. One is our shared experience over the past 30 years of moving with and through the HIV and AIDS immersion. Other pathways soon opened for listening to the local story via SALT practice through any engaging entry point, particularly those associated with violence, stigma, conflict, and reconciliation. Another signal is that personal and community healing is very often faith inspired, and grace based. We also know that the influence of countless acts and thoughts of loving kindness in living spaces, as well as work and worship places, outweigh negative politics and cultures of division, separation, and conquest.

So we can look reflectively at some experiences from 2016, and keep moving toward a relational 'post-organisational' culture of learning and action, characterised by local movements for care and change, linked with adaptive structures and people who intentionally support such local movements:

The GLoCon Documentary:

The GloCon documentary will be finished by mid-July, ready for a launch in London on August 3rd, 2017, at The Salvation Army International Headquarters. The next few months will entail editing of the footage from Zambia, Atlanta, Yunnan (China), and Mizoram (India), and sharing the 'rough cut' in each of these field locations to open distribution channels, and listen to feedback.

The audience is the local and global faith community involved in health and development work, yet the messages are relevant to all communities and development organisations. By imaging local response sustained over many years in four communities, each in one of in four countries, we aim to show that neighbourhood matters most for health and wellness, that health and other systems need to adapt to the local strength for response, and that personal faith is a real foundation to sustained motivation for action and change.

We need some final bits of funding to complete the follow up visits before July. If you can help, please be in touch.

The Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory:

The Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory is now well embedded in the practice of SALT, as a way into the 'Integrated Mission' vision. After two years, there are 34 SALT teams, one in each of 34 towns or cities, with a Divisional Facilitation Team forming in the Empire division in upstate NY. Other facilitation teams are emerging in New Jersey, Western Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico are on the way. There is a long way to go, but the 'normalisation' process is well on the way. The shift of working culture and neighbourhood mindsets is actually inspiring to see and to contemplate. But why not try? It is no less complicated in other diverse and conflict tinged locations such as Freetown, in Sierra Leone.

Freetown, Sierra Leone, November 2016:

One year after the last documented 'case' of Ebola, Freetown, Sierra Leone was a different city, with bustling traffic jams, and small business working hard, with the whole city trying to move beyond the dark tunnel of the Ebola era. Apparently all is normal now ... but not really. A major influence of SALT practice is that residual anger has been uncovered, which has been suppressed simply because regular neighbourhood conversation has not happened enough. SALT visits have been sustained for the past year, every two weeks, by the 40 people forming the FEBA supported 'Amplifying Voices through SALT' (AVS) facilitation team.

Spill-over from the original three communities now involves seven communities. Community radio through BBN is making a positive difference to transfer of vision and action between clinics and church structures as well as communities. Tangible results include road making, safe water access, and football field construction. These actions actually reflect deeper concerns, such as vulnerability of young girls to sexual risk. Families are watching progress carefully. An example is reduced teenage pregnancy, and they connect SALT visits very closely to local change through trust building.

December 2015

South-North transfer:

The Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory 'Partnership in Integrated Mission' links the College for Officer Training SALT mentoring with field demonstrations in 18 church (corps) locations in the north-eastern part of USA. Three facilitation team visits to each location during the year have stimulated SALT teams in each. Transfer to other locations is the next step. The latest reports from October 2015 can be accessed via Robin Rader.

The significance includes the reality that all the methods and tools used in the 'north' have been learned and refined in the south of the world, across 30 years. Local relationships for enabling change are becoming as evident in USA as anywhere.

Social justice Poland:

Another Salvation Army initiative for Integrated Mission is in Poland. Social justice is the theme, and SALT with allied practices such as sustaining neighbourhood conversation is the way forward. The second year of catalysing response has included two more cities – there are now four city 'demonstrations' in total, including Warsaw. All have SALT teams that visit regularly. Reports are available through Joan Munch.

The GLoCon documentary:

Filming in Zambia in October 2014 was followed by Atlanta, USA, in May 2015, hosted by John Needham and The Salvation Army School for Officer Training. The final two communities/countries will be China (Yunnan Province) hosted by the Cedar Fund, and India (Mizoram), hosted by The Salvation Army, in July 2016. ECHO has funded the editing. A version of the documentary will be produced to support the policy emphasis of ECHO ie health related cross community learning. We are privileged to link with the highly experienced video team of The Salvation Army (UK). More funding is needed for travel and local expenses, but we push on! This summary [PDF 1.2MB] can inform any interested potential sponsors. Share the word!

See the trailer online!

Post-Ebola recovery Sierra Leone:

'Reconciling for a healthy future' would be the correct header for the FEBA sponsored visit to Freetown in November, 2015. Affirm facilitated a 'human capacity for response' process with a group of 40 people from a local radio station, government community health centres, churches, and three communities. The working group is hosted by the radio station. SALT is scheduled to happen with the collaborative group every two weeks. 'Amplifying Voices through SALT' is the term for the initiative. WHO in Geneva has welcomed the demonstration, informing its effort to reform toward a 'socialised response'. A WHO external working group on 'Community Engagement' will form next year, and Affirm will participate.

An audio clip with slides produced by the radio station is informative.

Allied movements for health, faith, and reconciliation:

Affirm continues to learn and share with allies through which intention synergy of influence is expressed. These include Global Reconciliation based in Melbourne, coordinated by Paul Komesaroff; The Salvation Army; ECHO, based in London; the Constellation for Community Life Competence, based in Belgium and Geneva; FEBA, based in Worthing, UK: the Community Health Global Network, based in London; and DIFAEM, based in Tubingen, Germany, (which hosted the formation meeting, in October, of the European Network for Christian Health and Development, of which Affirm is a member).

Posted 16th January 2016

August 2014

GLoCon Phase 2: Documentary

GLoCon Phase 2 starts in Zambia end October followed by Kithithuni, Kenya early November. Stay tuned to the Facebook page ... join in if you wish and can ... contact Ian Campbell for more information. It follows from the 20 country visitation of 2012-2013 for synthesising local community story of sustained response to HIV and other issues.  Thirty-nine local community stores were gathered. (For more on Phase 1 see the map on the Web site home page, and the GLoCon Participants Facebook page.)

In 2014-2015 five locations in Zambia, Kenya, China, Haiti and Atlanta (USA) will be revisited as participants in the GLoCon documentary.  The core themes are

The Laing Trust in the UK has committed a 50% funding match if we can find the other 50% -- that means finding GBP 50,000, ideally from several sources.

There will be a short core 'body' to the film, with at least 6 different endings tuned to the local communities that 'star' in the film: local health and church, global health and church, interfaith, and the so-called 'ordinary person' in more affluent and disconnected locations who want to help out in some creative way.  Other endings can be added for particular partners if it is in harmony with the main body of the film.  

Affirm partnerships

"We are US" (UK), in Ghana, Malawi, India, and Lesotho.  The international team has almost competed its role with the London Us office (by end 2014) - the national / regional Affirmers will probably remain connected for a further period (Elvis Simamvwa--Zambia, Ricardo Walters--Lesotho, Bobby Zachariah--India, Onesmus Mutuku--Ghana).  Significant progress is happening regarding 'response baseline' measurement, to show that local community and faith are co-factors in stimulating health outcomes.

We have just returned from Baoshan County in Yunnan Province, again with Puisi Chan (also an Affirmer) of the Cedar Fund, which is based in Hong Kong. This is the third encounter we have had since March 2013, with the HIV and addictions journey of local communities and local churches There is much to learn and to be inspired about!

The Community Health Global Network (CHGN) continues to catalyse new clusters with Affirm support -- in March 2014 the third 'lift off' happened in Yangon, Myanmar.

Alison and I are now visiting The Salvation Army College for Officer Training in Suffern, New York three times yearly, working with the students in training for a ten day period each time. The focus is mentoring 'integrated mission' via SALT and self assessment approaches.  Alison is now finalising a curriculum with a facilitation guide.

We visited the Memphis (USA) based Centre of Excellence in Faith and Health, of the Methodist LeBonheur HealthCare -- again we were impressed by the serious effort to engage local congregations and to go beyond into local neighbourhoods. This is really relevant in USA, as seen in Nashville, where we participated in the continuing education program of Salvation Army officers in partnership with Trevecca Nazarene University.

Ian and Alison co-presented at the meeting in Tubingen in Germany at end of June, hosted by DIFAEM (German Institute for Medical Mission). The topic was the 'Christian contribution to revitalisation of Primary Health Care'.  We will co-facilitate again with DIFAEM at a meeting in Malawi in early September, at which a regional network on 'asset' approaches will emerge.

September 2013

GLoCon Phase 2: Documentary

GLoCon -- the Global and Local Community Conversation -- continues.  For the story so far see the map on the AFFIRM Web page and the GLoCon Participants Facebook page.

Ten major themes have been identified, deepening what has been learned over the last 30 years of HIV and other entry points to life change and formation of future.  

We think the best way to share the story is a documentary, supported by a short document and a GLoCon blog linked to the AFFIRM Web site.  Three meetings of the documentary working group have happened so far.  We see the possibility of revisiting 5 countries in 2014-2015 to capture the essence of local movement stimulated by SALT, community conversation, and facilitation team accompaniment, and the fact that local neighbourhood matters most.

We will need to find funding for the visits and technical 'know how'. US$ 50,000 should do it.  

Let me know if you want to be involved in the working group. In the first week of September the GLoCon visit for 2013 will be in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.  Seven of us will gather along with local hosts.  Follow through the GLoCon Participants fb!

Affirm partnerships

A partner with Affirm is the Anglican "We are US".  The Affirm link people in four countries are Elvis Simamvwa--Malawi; Onesmus Mutuku--Ghana; Bobby Zachariah--West Bengal, India; and Ricardo Walters--Lesotho.  The human capacity development approach was applied to health facility redevelopment in the Sarenga catalyst meeting.  The catalyst is followed by participatory design several months later, then by a learning review after about 12 months of action.

Another creative faith inspired learning partnership is with the Cedar Fund based in Hong Kong and working in many countries including mainland China.  Alison and Ian facilitated an evaluation of their HIV prevention and church mobilisation work over the past 6 years. They recently returned from a stirring SALT based workshop in Baoshan county with 4 of the county teams involved.

The College for Officer Training in Suffern New York hosted a SALT visit in April.  Salvation Army ministers in training, along with local church members, felt the power and joy unleashed when they got out of their building and into the community! 

All Nations Christian College is a well established faith, development, and mission school located north of London.  A session with students happened recently -- Ian shared on HCDR with reference to vision direction and mission foundations.  A similar opportunity is scheduled for mid-September in London with the Health Care Forum of Global Connections.

So the interest in an 'inside out' relational health approach to doing excellent health and development work is there.  Let's be part of the global debate by always being local, provoking policy shift, invisible in a sense, yet belonging through respect, invitation, and 'love in action'.

January 2011

UNAIDS, combination prevention staff workshops, Geneva

The series continues with a New Staff Orientation (NSO) session scheduled for 22nd March. On 23rd March Ian will be facilitating a UNAIDS Prevention team strategy discussion—the challenge they have is for all parts of UNAIDS in Geneva and worldwide to take on prevention as a key agenda.

A result of an NSO session of 2010 was the invitation from the UNESCO representative in Bangkok to guide the process of a regional meeting on HIV prevention in December. This apparently went very well.

Habitat for Humanity, community counselling and conversations, Haiti

Bobby Zachariah spent three productive months supporting the Habitat work in three community locations, by mentoring SALT and community counselling to complement the rebuilding interventions of Habitat. Alison joined for the final week, and despite post election disturbance, she was able to engage in community visits and staff interaction with potential partners including The Salvation Army.  A report will eventually be released through Habitat, but in short the local response was fresh, unifying, strong and connecting. And spiritually uplifting!

Global Reconciliation, Calcutta and Gaza

Paul Komesaroff has visited Gaza again, with a team, to facilitate a research seminar. Ian and AFFIRM associates will, we hope, follow up with Paul later this year for community mental health practical engagement and application of human capacity for response approaches.

Build It, Zambia

Elvis Simamvwa has led the facilitation team visit arranged by Sue Lucas, for Build It, linking the building of a clinic with community ownership of HIV. A report is in preparation. The response was optimistic, and local Build It staff and communities want more stimulation and shared learning.

DIFAEM, Germany

Ian and Alison visited DIFAEM (the German Medical Mission Institute) in Tubingen in October, for a day of discussion on human capacity development applied to district wide primary health care. A partnership is emerging with DIFAEM and Hands on Health of USPG (headed by David Evans, an Affirm associate), with action plans forming for Malawi based work.

St. John’s HIV evaluation, Africa

April Foster has led the interaction with St. John’s based in London. The task is to facilitate an evaluation of some of the HIV training in home care in Africa. The decision is pending awaiting response from South Africa—meanwhile Ian has been invited on to the newly formed development board of St John's, which meets for the first time in February 2011. HIV response through home care and youth engagement is a St. John's priority for 2011.

Nelson Mandela Foundation, Johannesburg, HIV community conversation

Ian was invited to present the key note at a meeting on November 15th, in Joburg. Alison participated in a panel on ‘evaluation’, the core message being that shared learning and long term accompaniment is vital elements for authentic measurement. See: Nelson Mandela Foundation, Johannesburg, HIV Community Conversations. [link]

Constellation for Health and Life Competence with UNAIDS, Russia

Ian will be participating in the facilitation of 'AIDS Competence' processes in 2011, in each of three cities including Moscow.  The work in Russia is spurred in part by the signing of the MOU by the Constellation and UNAIDS Geneva.

GLOCON: A Global Local Community Conversation

Help is needed for sponsorship of facilitation team mates, and for communicating the story. All donations and sponsorship funds will be channeled through the AFFIRM account held at InterHealth, a registered charity.

The UK reference group met last October, and a sub group will meet in January 2011 to discuss and plan for sponsorship, etc. In May, Ian and Alison will be visiting Asbury University in Kentucky USA to discuss potential dissemination of the GLOCON story. Whilst the UK and international reflection groups will engage with these questions of sponsorship and communication, all AFFIRMers are invited to help.

Plans are now forming for the first quarter of next year, i.e. visits to Africa. Locations and the months in which they will be visited are on the planning charts, while the basic objectives and methods are outlined in the core document, or template. Both documents are available from the Web site home page. Sign up form for visits will be available from February. Anyone who wants to support, or join in the journey at any point, please contact Ian Campbell.

Posted 23rd January 2011

October 2010

University of East London

Alison is the lead for a module called 'Consultation in Practice' on the theme of HCDR (human capacity development for response), which is part of a Diploma Course on Humanitarian Response. It is ready to go. Technical group video training for Alison and Ian happened at UEL on 1st October! A master’s course will soon be developed. The curriculum content is worth looking at – I will clarify how that can be possible.

Community Health Response Programme (CHRP)

Zambia is doing SALT effectively without funding in several locations – this is a very excellent result after two years of reflective interaction.

Hands On Health... re-activated now that David Evans started his full time Health Director role at USPG in September. A USPG visit by David, with Ian, to Copenhagen is planned in October, to forge a partnership with the Danish Mission Council.

Mildmay International

An excellent strategy interaction with the board in June in Uganda by Ian was followed up with meetings about policy and programme by Ian with Fi McLachlan. See attached story of response.


The last staff Prevention Refresher workshop series is to happen in November, including the New Staff Orientation. Ideally such a process should happen in-country in several locations. We would prefer that focus in the new year.

Partnership with Global Reconciliation

Three follow up pathways to the December 2009 Amman meeting are happening: Gaza (community mental health, and research methods, coordinated by Paul Komesaroff), India (Calcutta community health), and Israeli-Palestinian dialogue. Affirm is a participant and/or facilitator in all three pathways. Funding is needed for the first two in order to ensure learning and progress.


A link with Habitat for Humanity has formed through Rachel McIlroy, who is now working with Habitat in Haiti. Neighbourhood based community counselling and Participatory Action Reflection (PAR) with SALT is the agenda, to complement interventions, post disaster. Bobby Zachariah is the Affirm lead, and Alison will visit in late October.

St. John Associations in Africa HIV training evaluation

A proposal was submitted by April (the lead) in August, and the prospects are favorable.

HIV AIDS Research Conversation (HARC)

Gillian Paterson explained the possibility of connecting innovative exploratory approaches to research and evaluation through HARC. We can all join HARC and be part of particular elements of the conversation through on-line groups.

UK NGO AIDS Consortium

The value added of faith to HIV response: Gillian will explore connections (academic and practice) with Affirm support. We agree that agencies need to self assess and base the locus for reflection in local relational community.


Ian and Alison are shaping a literal face to face 'global and local community conversation' which will start in 18 months. It will be a year long conversation, with longitudinal community faith related journey as the subject. Such an experience has not yet been captured anywhere. GLOCON will contribute to the understanding of measuring local community capacity for response – it will illustrate how the locus for initiation and transfer of response needs to change if measurement is to be effective.  GLOCON will be an expression of appreciation above all, whilst seeking stimulation of expanding local response to HIV and other issues, and adaptation of approach, policy and practice. A sign up page will be added to the Affirm website by the end of the year – expectations, context, approach, thematic options for particular emphasis. See also the comment on Funds below.

The core document is attached, along with some planning charts in early development. A UK reflection group and an international group has formed to reflect, support, advise, and connect. If you want to join please let me know?

Build It and Zambia

In some communities local people are being trained through experience based learning in Build It initiatives e. g. school structures. Sue Lucas is the chair of the Build It board, and has found an opportunity to link community based construction to HIV issues. Elvis Simamvwa, with Sister Beatrice, is the lead in Zambia. The CHRP experience is finding expression through the Build It collaboration.


Alison and Ian will co-work with DIFAEM (the German Medical Mission Institute) in Tubingen in Germany in late October at a health mission workshop. The CHRP initiative was the meeting point with DIFAEM.

The Constellation for Community Life Competence

Ian will attend the board meeting in Belgium in October. A recent visit to UNAIDS in Geneva, in September, with Jean Louis Lamboray (Chair), and Marlou de Rou, was energetic and authentic in terms of conversation with UNAIDS about global community engagement.


We are not making money! But that has not been the aim. We are a little in debit at present, and we will need at least US$114,000 to fully develop the GLOCON, even though US$30,000 is already committed. Of the balance required, which is about US$84,000, about US$40,000 is needed for the top priority sponsorship of facilitation team members (those who cannot self pay) to join the segments of the journey that will happen in their country. The rest, if found, will help cover local community expenses, and other facilitation team visit costs. So pray if you can, and make GLOCON known to your visionary connections, friends, and organizations? The reflection groups will spend time on this question.


The Affirm website is now hosted by GoDaddy. Thanks to Heather for her commitment, professional skill, and patience during set up and initial activity. Thanks to Gillian for her links with Heather at the beginning and for her willingness to provide administrative support. Thanks to Sue for keeping the links with GoDaddy and guiding me on administrative aspects now and then over the past two years. Thanks to Robin who is now managing the site, with technical help from Nick. We expect to add more profiles and content soon. The site is well appreciated and serves Affirm effectively. It provides an introduction to curious explorers, to those seeking to validate us, such as UNAIDS; and to groups with which we may try to connect for HCDR related partnership.

Supportive links

Thank you for the supportive links. Affirm practice is now consolidating around the core HCDR vision and direction framework – any of us can take an initiative forward within this framework. The examples show the lead being taken by many people, each of whom can count on a large team behind them – each will know they have the spiritual and moral support of all the Affirm global team.

Is this an indicator that we are in some way part of a spiritual and community movement? I suspect so – perhaps more than we realise.

Posted 19th December 2010

March 2010

Haiti earthquake

In the wake of the Haiti earthquake, Rachel McIlroy is exploring with colleagues in Boston a possible post trauma neigbourhood psycho-social support process. Rachel was involved with Claire Campbell’s post tsunami work of 2005/6 and there could be an opportunity for AFFIRM to adapt the learning to Haiti.

SALT Woking

SALT Woking is alive and well. A meeting is scheduled for the first week of March in Woking to agree on a project document which, if accepted, will enable a more systematic SALT-based approach in Woking and Oxford with immigrant communities living with and affected by HIV.


UNAIDS asked AFFIRM to facilitate a Prevention Refresher course for all staff in Geneva. This went very well. The second phase was completed by mid February. Some of you saw the workshop outline and supported its development. Responses included: Humbled by the distance to the needs of individuals -- People are in the centre – Learn and care -- Wealth of community experience We look forward to country based connection with UNAIDS on a similar theme in association with partners such as the Constellation for AIDS Competence.

Hands On Health

The USPG (Anglicans in World Mission) HIV and PHC project in Ghana is moving ahead after a design visit by David Evans, Alison Campbell and Ian Campbell in mid January. Human capacity development is undergirding PHC revitalization. A small start-up proposal has been submitted to the Churches Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) which should allocate some funding by mid March sufficient to develop a demonstration.

Community Health Response Programme (CHRP) Zambia

CHRP needs sustainable operational funding in order to start work. Following a visit in early February, which included AFFIRM support team of Alison Campbell and April Foster and in-country team member Elvis Simamvwa, CHRP is weighing options for moving forward in line with core priorities within and outside the country.


There may be a collaboration developing with Build It International, a group with which Sue Lucas is closely involved.


We want to have a meeting opportunity in 2010 probably in India, in October, possibly first week. We need to enjoy each other, share experience, and clarify what we are learning about movements for response to various issues, and how we can each influence their development.

Posted 16th August 2010


UNAIDS (Geneva) Prevention refresher workshops

The refresher workshops are a part of a UNAIDS strategy to engage all staff, globally, in prevention. Ian Campbell was part of the ‘Joint Learning Planning Process’ 27-29 October, and David Evans participated in the 15-17 December follow up.

About 66 UNAIDS staff members finished the first series of workshops 11 to 28 November 2009, with uniformly positive response and serious personal and workplace application. There will be another series of workshops in February.

Thanks to Geoff Parcell and Usa Doongsa for help with preparing the self assessment tool (which can be adapted by NGOs for their own use), and to David Evans and Alison Campbell for the resources document.

AFFIRM could be involved in more country workshops in 2010, possibly working with the Constellation for AIDS competence. There is interest in Uganda and Botswana.

Global Reconciliation

Ian Campbell, Zannah Jeffries, Rachel MacIlroy, Elvis Simamvwa, Sima Barmania, Paul Komesaroff, Kevin Belcher, and Onesmus Mutuki found each other in Amman, Jordan, 13-18 December for the summit on Pathways to Reconciliation. Paul Komesaroff led the summit. Ian Campbell convened the theme on Spirituality and Celebration.

As a demonstration of engagement, Paul and Ian are hoping to visit a Community Mental Health Programme in Gaza in early May 2010.

The reconciliation theme is an example of shared engagement by AFFIRM, the Community Health Global Network (CHGN), and InterHealth Worldwide.

Zambia: Community Health Response Programme (CHRP)

We hope there will be some funds released for the initiation of Zambia -CHRP. In preparation for this, there will be a meeting on 23-26 February 2010 to discuss monitoring and evaluation. AFFIRM (with DIFAEM: German Institute for Medical Mission) will facilitate the process of implementation. We wish the Zambia team strength and optimism as they leap into the future.

WHO (Geneva) meeting on training Community Health Workers (CHWs)

Primary Health Care is a strong theme of WHO this year. Ricardo Walters and Sumon Vangchuay represented AFFIRM in November 2009 in Geneva for a meeting on CHW training. Ricardo helped initiate a tighter working group approach to follow up.

UK NGO AIDS Consortium

The Consortium has a faith based organization (FBO) committee, which is seeking to review the added value of FBO work. Gillian Paterson has been asked to shape the approach and she has enlisted AFFIRM.

Hands On Health

David Evans, through a working group of Community Health Global Network (CHGN), AFFIRM and USPG: Anglicans in World Mission, continues to facilitate the design of Hands on health. This is the USPG initiative aimed at revitalising health work in at least 3 countries, including Ghana and south India. Mirriam Cepe of World Vision (UK) has been very helpful in linking the initiative to WV country contact people. Design and partnership development visits are planned for January 2010.

Heythrop College, London

Gillian Paterson organized a day of discussion and reflection on AIDS: a Sign of the Times, around the themes of Stigma, Sin, and Hope. The goal was to link theologians working with HIV with practitioners, and with communities responding to HIV. Ian and Alison Campbell participated. AFFIRM is well placed, if asked, to arrange SALT visits with moral theologians and Christian leaders.

SALT Woking

The next meeting of SALT Woking will in February 2010 at the Woking Salvation Army building. The meetings and SALT (Support, Appreciate, Learn, Transfer) visits are always inspiring and point to an urgent area of work: HIV care and prevention within and by immigrant communities in the UK.

Strategies for Hope

The 20th anniversary of the launch of Strategies for Hope (a series of booklets on AIDS care and prevention) was celebrated on 19th November in Oxford. Glen Williams arranged the event. Ian Campbell, who co-authored the first book with Glen, attended, with Alison Campbell.

Posted 2nd February 2010

November 2008

Dear friends,

The last month has been productive. Thanks to many for specific contribution in thought and action, and for all Associates and Affiliates who add strength by belonging and by supporting the HCD vision. Read more: AFFIRM Update Nov 2008 (.doc) AFFIRM 2008 Self Assessment (.doc) Community Health Response Program - Process outline (.doc)

AFFIRM and the promotion of gender equality

Drawing upon a stock of knowledge-based practices and experiences of facilitating a human capacity for response to HIV and other issues critical to communities worldwide, the methodology and tools which AFFIRM utilises facilitate the promotion of gender equality (individual) from a ‘community’ perspective (shared relational/collective) through assured inclusivity and meaningful engagement of all voices. Read more: AFFIRM and the promotion of gender equality (.doc)

Posted 22nd November 2008

In memory of Simon Mphuka, a friend and Affirm member.

I was asked to write for dissemination through the Constellation for AIDS Competence, and with the thought already in mind to acknowledge Simon from many perspectives, including Affirm, I responded. (Ian Campbell). Remembering Simon (.doc)

Posted 24th August 2008

An analysis of the AFFIRM approach to 'Human Capacity Development for Response', in relation to HIV

click here to download...

Posted 11th August 2008

AFFIRM at work - learning from local action and experience

local action photo

All AFFIRM members and advisors/friends are welcome to a catalytic learning and strategy consultation 8th -14th March, 2008 , at Chisikesi Zambia. We will be hosted by the Gwembe Health District manager who is Elvis Simamvwa and some other local friends, who also coordinate a small youth focussed programme called 'Spring of Life'.

Objectives include - AFFIRM identity discovery; stimulation and support, with learning from 'Spring of Life'; exploration of 'Human Capacity for Response' to HIV, applicable to a district wide approach over a two year period (inclusive of access to ART); spiritual reflection and renewal; visits to Lochinvar National Park (birds), and Victoria Falls National Park (falls and rafts and...) We will form small thematic teams to discuss and document critical elements such as measurement of response patterns; community to community transfer; facilitation team development; project writing as a support to community driven initiatives.

For all who request we are exploring co-funding options for tickets and costs - not yet available but we are hoping. Sign up in faith if you wish to come and we will expect to see each other.

The contact person is Sue Lucas –

website by nickbee media