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All change builds on what has gone before. It is helpful for a community to reflect on the changes that have already occurred and what has been learned from them. One very useful way to help discussion about this is to produce a ‘community timeline’.

A timeline is a way of looking back and recording how things were and how people have felt over time. Sometimes this is called a ‘line of well-being’. Agree on a start date – usually a particular time within the memory of most people present, maybe around 10 years ago. Together, remind each other of important events – a time of drought, or the opening of the school or clinic. How was life at that time for people here? Give an example of how to carry out the exercise. As with the maps, work in small groups so that each group draws a timeline. Then discuss each timeline to enable people to get a complete picture of the recent history of their community.


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