Revealing hidden issues - information for facilitators

Tearfund believes that people within communities know, better than anyone else, what problems they are facing. However, in all communities, some issues that impact the lives of women, men and children are ‘hidden’. This means that they are not talked about openly; this makes it difficult to address them or change things.

Issues are sometimes ‘hidden’ because talking about them would cause people to feel embarrassed or ashamed. Sometimes, people know certain things are happening, but they are not willing to discuss or address them. Sometimes, people do not talk about things or try to change them because they are fearful. They may be afraid of what other people will think if they speak out or, in some situations, people may be afraid for their own safety. At other times, there may be problems in a community that are being caused by something that a community does not yet know about, such as climate change.

When there are ‘hidden’ issues like this within a community, an important role of a facilitator or community development worker will be to help people to recognise and talk about such issues.

Section A1 provides background information for facilitators on hidden issues. We suggest you read through the whole of this section to become aware of the issues that the communities you are working with might be facing.