A4 Lighting the fire

  • Call together as many local people as possible for a meeting. Make sure you include people who are often not represented, such as women, people with disabilities, older people, youth and those of low caste. Choose a meeting place and a time that is convenient for most people. After welcoming people and giving introductions and explanations, the leader should ask: ‘Can we have a cooking fire burning here in two minutes time?’
  • At first there will be confusion and people will wonder if the leader is serious. Then a number of them will run off to collect firewood, matches and cooking stones. A fire is quickly lit and burns well for a few minutes. It is then likely to die down unless a few people bring more wood.
  • Using this practical example, begin a time of open discussion to discover what we can learn from it.

  • Where did the resources to make the fire come from?
  • Did anyone help to maintain the fire once it started burning well?
  • Who could continue to maintain the ‘fire of development’ in our area? What resources are available?
  • Can the churches (or other religious organisations) provide the necessary leadership and support? For example, will they lead and maintain the fire of development? Or will they act as one of the cooking stones, supporting the process?
  • Are there other organisations or groups able to help provide leadership and support for this process?
  • Are there certain community members who did not attend the meeting? Can you discover why they didn’t come? How can you encourage them to attend meetings in the future?
  • Was it the ‘rich’ or the ‘poor’ who were most useful in getting things going?