The SELL programme arose from a desire to engage young adults with life-shaping issues and assist them to make conscious choices on how they will live their lives and shape their communities into life giving places of peace. In the 1st set of manuals we said we envisaged an initial journey over three stages Opening, Deepening and Sharing (each to be a facilitator’s manual). Each stage is to have six units; these stand as a process in themselves. The hope remains that even if a person is only able to take one of the units they will have received support with that aspect of life. Having worked in the field with the 1st set of manuals we saw the need for changes and felt the need to review the manual making it more open and inclusive. This then is the reviewed manual for the Opening stage of the SELL programme.
The title of the programme, Sharing Education and Learning for Life, indicates that it has a participatory approach. As outlined in the overview handout, this methodology is based on the thinking of Paulo Freire. Most of the material we reference is based on a participatory approach to education and learning.
The manual seeks to be user friendly. Our hope is that anyone interested in Human and Spiritual Development will be able to successfully run a workshop on a particular area (unit) of life with any group. Some basic facilitation skills are necessary and most of us have those, if we but trust ourselves. We have mapped out the units in accordance with what has been tried by us and worked well for us. Of course, and this is very important, only you who use this material will know the nature of the groups you will work with. You therefore may wish to reshape the units or draw in additional material. Our maxim is ‘do whatever works for you and is life-giving for your group’.
All the materials used can be locally produced and we have avoided dependency on modern technology. Should you have access to audio visual resources we have referenced films that are appropriate to each unit. Our main intention is to ensure that anyone who wishes to run a programme to support young adults with awareness on their critical role as peace builders in their community will not be hindered by lack of modern technology. All the necessary resources for each unit of the SELL programme can be prepared locally at minimum expense. If the visual presentations are laminated they will last for many years before having to be replaced.
We have found that people find it difficult to take time off from work or other responsibilities and that the best opportunity for people to participate in the workshops is at weekends. Each unit therefore is designed to run as a weekend programme. It could also be done over three or four evenings but these would need to be consecutively run. There is a wealth of material in many manuals to support you as you deliver these units, we have referenced the manuals and books we have found most helpful. The intent of our work and of this manual is to invite people to touch in their hearts the hope that humankind can live in unity and peace while celebrating diversity.
While we have been working with groups we have been doing so out of a profound belief in the dignity and potential of each human person. This is the vision that impels us. Our desire therefore is to develop this manual in a way that recognises religious pluralism and celebrates the diversity of faiths and spiritualities. A deep sensitivity to people’s Spirituality, Culture, and Identity is critical. The other areas we encourage great sensitivity around are inclusive language, the rights of women, the protection of children and care for the environment. All of these concerns are opened up in this the first of the SELL manuals and will be further developed and reflected upon appropriately in the following set of manuals entitled Deepening. We have attempted to use inclusive language throughout.
We are grateful to all those whose work we have used and who have stimulated our thinking. Your material has been referenced in our bibliography. You know who you are and to you we offer an unreserved THANKS.
Jonathan Ekhator, Maria Dagogot, Moses F. Alokpa, Leo Traynor, Mary James, Isaac Oni, Beji Jibe