So, this week we have been thinking deeply about making the SEEDS school sustainable. Some of the questions that we have been reflecting and researching are:
How will we ensure that this project really belongs to the people that it has been set up for?
What steps will we take to make sure that the project is going to be sustainable? How do we give the community ownership?
If this week was to have a theme it would be 'participatory development', this is defined as "a method that assists communities (including local people, the government and NGOs) in their collaborative design, implementation and evaluation of projects." I take it to mean that i.HUG needs to be in collaboration every step of the way with the people of Kabalagala to ensure that the SEEDS school will one day be run and managed entirely by Ugandans.
So, this week has seen much conversation with a number or experts in the field ( academics in the field of development studies, Ugandans who live in Kabalagala)
Nikki, our i.HUG volunteer sent me some notes about participatory development . I think this is great stuff:
"So good participatory development is about empowering. It is linked with distinctive behaviours, attitudes and approaches. "We" are not teachers or transferors of technology, but instead convenors, catalysts, and facilitators. We have to unlearn, and put our knowledge, ideas and categories in second place. Our role is to enable others to do their own appraisal, analysis, presentations, planning and action, to own the outcome, and to teach us, sharing their knowledge. The “others” may be local rural or urban people, women, men, children or old people, or members of an organisation or group. They are often those who are weak, marginalised, vulnerable and voiceless. They then do many of the things we tend to think only we can do. “They can do it” means that we have confidence in their capabilities. We “hand over the stick” and facilitate their mapping, diagramming, listing, sorting, sequencing, counting, estimating, scoring, ranking, linking, analysing, planning, monitoring and evaluating. Many practitioners and trainers consider the term Participatory development should only be used for processes which empower"
This week has been challenging but in such a way that we are becoming more and more rooted!