Today we would like to talk to you about the Project Department. It sounds technical and complicated, right? Do not be fooled, from here we do activities that we all naturally and unconsciously apply to our day-to-day life.
We understand projects as our plan to carry out an idea, and… does not everyone plan their next day? “Now, I have to get up tomorrow to leave a packet at the Post Office before work, then go eat at my parents’ house. I will not take the car since it is impossible to park in that area. In the afternoon I have Pilates, so I have to pack my bag in the morning. Oh, and I need to remember money to buy my brother’s birthday gift…”
Do you see? In the end we all organize beforehand to be able to fulfill a series of objectives. In the Project Department of Kubuka we do the same, but at a larger scale, with a series of major goals, more activities, with greater expenditure of resources and with many more people involved, but with the same intention; to achieve an end and to not get lost along the way.
To get a little closer to the whole process we want to share the stages that all projects go through. In the beginning everything seems simple, but we would like to share some details so that we do not miss anything.
The first stage consists of the “Identification”, to know the needs of the people, groups or communities. This is one of the most important phases, since we often do not detect the same deficiencies in each other, or we do not satisfy them in the same way. Therefore it is fundamental to know everyone’s opinion and work, especially the local people, because they always contribute with things that we forget (by ignorance, not being present, by assuming things in advance, because we forget…) and ultimately, they are the people it matters to.
A clear and simple example might be when working with a school. Here you must take into account the views of those taking part: teachers, principals, assistants, caretakers, as well as all the parents and students themselves. They will always be in the best place to determine where they have greater difficulties and what are the problems that need solving.
The second phase is “Planning”, where we clearly determine our goal to achieve and the activities, strategies, timing and resources that we need to follow in order to achieve it. In this case, we must be clear that it is impossible to respond to all problems, we must be aware that many times we work with heavily damaged populations and most of the time we need to understand one situation to be able to proceed to the next. Well, this includes determining, with the participation of everyone, what corresponds to the present time and how we are going to do it. Being able to decide involves being a responsible party.
Once the goals and the procedures to achieving the goals are clear, we get to work. This is called “Execution” or “Implementation”. Undoubtedly, this is the most pleasant part of the whole process and in which it is more important to get the local people to participate.
What would be the sense for a foreign/outside volunteer to teach math in a Kenyan or Zambian school? Our intervention is focused on ensuring that there are teachers in the area hired under good conditions, sharing pedagogical methodologies with these teachers or simply facilitating places of encounter for the parents, strengthening them as active people within the center.
Finally we have the phase of “Monitoring and Evaluation”, where during and once the planned time of intervention is over, the project is reviewed to see aspects of the improvement. Have we managed to provide the parents with workshops? Has it been sufficient or too short? Do the people involved fulfill the share of responsibility? What difficulties have we encountered along the way and how have we solved them?
As you can see and above all, you can imagine that there are many questions that needs to be answered, and most importantly…. We want to do it!!! Because it is essential for us to improve, to correct errors, be positive and always, always… continue growing.
“To start a great project, it takes courage. To finish a great project, it takes perseverance”