Breakfast was at 7:30 but everyone in my house didn’t wake up until 7:20 as the alarm did not go off. We rushed to get washed up and hurried to breakfast. But surprisingly we were not the last group that made it there as there were others still coming in after we got there.
After breakfast the next morning, the group gathered together and we began to conduct a series of activities that would benefit us with the improvement of the overall project. The projects that we have done have reached a certain stage where we are able to start evaluating the outcome of each individual project. What we did was to walk around the village and talk to the villagers about the outcomes of certain projects and look around the village to get an overall better understanding of how the village is becoming while all relating it back to the SDGs. After the walk around, a map of the village was drawn with all of our findings.
The exercise continued after lunch where we learned a very helpful skill from Graham, a staff member from the Buffalo Tours team that was accompanying us on the trip. He taught us a new way of using just 10 seeds to conduct needs analysis and getting the exact information about what the villagers need. What he told us could be summarized in three overall points. First, we must not do what they can do, but instead do what they can’t do. This is very important as doing what they can do is just a waste of everyone’s time and effort as our time up in the village is limited. Also our help is much more useful in areas where the villagers are not capable of achieving. Putting our efforts would push the project forward and allow actual action to occur. This results in a “win win win” situation, which is also the second lesson. It is a win for us as we are learning, a win for the villagers as they having improved facilities and a win for the teachers who have taught us a great lesson.
The last valuable lesson is that we should not just give things to them as that is charity. That is placing us, as outsiders, at a higher level than the villagers, which is absolutely not what should be happening. We must work with the villagers and connect with the villagers so that the projects we work on are a bilateral cooperation, where we do what the villagers can’t do and the villagers do what they can. This would also prevent the villagers from relying on us as donors as they have to put in their part to receive as well.
These three lessons are very valuable and every needs analysis should be conducted in that type of mindset. This would ensure that the most important issues are addressed, not what we, as outsiders, think the village needs, but instead what the village really needs according to the villagers.
After dinner, we headed towards the school to meet with the villagers and continue on our evaluation of the projects. Everyone split into smaller groups and we utilized the 10 seed technique that we had just learned that afternoon. We started to ask the villagers question and asked them to move the seeds into the different circles we had drawn. It took a little while before the villagers felt comfortable working with us as they were all a bit shy. After almost an hour of back and forth conversing, translating from English to Thai to Karen and then back, we felt like we got the overall evaluation that we wanted.
After heading back home from the school, my housemates and I were not very tired so we decided to play some cards. It was a great way to end the day. Tomorrow we were going to start building bathrooms!