REFLECT is an acronym for “Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques”. The REFLECT concept is based on the Theory of Conscientization. A Brazilian Educator “Paulo Freire” conceptualized and pioneered this approach. “Action-Aid” then further developed this approach with its programs in 1993. First application of this innovative approach was in El Salvador (South America), Bangladesh, (Asia) and Uganda.
REFLECT relies on volunteer facilitators chosen from among men and women in the community who can read and write Emphasis lies upon dialogue and action, awareness raising, cooperation and empowerment. It opens new horizons for exploring development challenges and to find ways to overcome them. The empowering process gives an opportunity to freely discuss any issues including sensitive cultural traditions.
REFLECT Circles are actually the best-organized groups in the local areas. These could be better used in the annual planning process and to analyze community problems. REFLECT circles become focal points for discussion of community problems such as water, roads, soil fertility, health and HIV/AIDS, agriculture, and the factors causing poverty. Small-scale income generating activities may be initiated. These create an opportunity to explore effective collective action.
Gender disparity may be reduced among REFLECT Circles members. Families may learn to share the workload and to plan together in the best interest of the family. Participation of women is increased in meetings with enhanced confidence and talk in public and to take part in active discussions. It helps women to make sincere efforts to develop the abilities to get their voices heard.
There is increased awareness among people. They get to know that their problems are not “God-Given “.This awareness is not merely the result of telling them “How Things are “, but it brings in a process whereby people learnt through experience. This allows them to question their reality independently. It changes their attitudes and the way they look into things. They know that there is a lot they can do for themselves instead of waiting for the government to do everything for them.
REFLECT is now used in over 60 countries to tackle problems in agriculture, HIV/AIDS, conflict resolution and peace building.