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The Reunion

We're all meant for interdependence/complementarity

I was born into a large, extended polygamous and disjointed family whose spread stretches beyond our borders to Eastern Uganda. On that backdrop, my efforts in empowering the youth at the local community level would always face obstacles from a fraction of the family.

Use of the Community Dialogue mechanism

Given that we had never met as a family except during funerals and burials, the urge to open a new family chapter became irresistible amidst the glaring challenges of mistrust, distance, and pulling apart. To overcome that, I embraced one 'take-away' from Learning Lab I, Appreciative Inquiry, to reach out to key influencers in the family who played an enormous role in charting a new family course.

During the December 2015 holidays, we set up a WhatsApp group through which all communications and messages were passed. By January 2016, barriers had been broken and over 70 family members were actively online. This allowed us to set up a meeting date, venue, budget, and a coordinating/organizing committee for our family reunion.

Results & Outcomes

In spite of a couple of challenges like transportation from far flung areas of the region, the meeting finally took off on the 6th February 2016, with an attendance of over 90% of the family members. We managed to have a meal and a feast that lasted the whole weekend. A framework on how to manage the common family assets and liabilities was agreed on and witnessed by a reputable advocate and clansman. We agreed on a follow up meeting to agree on finer details on the 30th of April, 2016 with yours truly as the secretary.

The meeting was finally realized in spite of the formidable challenges, and a follow up meeting was set. Our father, who married 5 wives, is still alive but could not make us pull together! I am the 7th in seniority out of my mother's 11 children. Before I learned about C4D, I was combative, quick to anger, judgmental and biased. I had never appreciated the power of participation by all stakeholders and rights holders.

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