Friday, October 31, 2014

The 4 Steps...

(Photo: http://www.ibermaticasb.com/wp-content/uploads/procesos-personas.jpg)

The Childhood and Youth Empowerment project team of ICS (the International Citizen Service) works on the basis of a simple 4 step structure that all development projects should have: diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation.

The diagnosis, which we do to find out which theme or problem we are going to tackle, comes mostly from the meetings with each partner children’s centre. Before these encounters with the coordinators, ChildFund contacts our project Team Leader to inform him about the proposed module. The theme for the module lasts three months, and in this period it was decided to work on Children’s Rights.

The time we spend at the central office is dedicated to planning our activities using the internet, books and documents from previous work around the same theme, which helps design the focus and the workshops that we do in the centres. In order to manage the information obtained, we use activity templates to improve our time management and organisation.

Implementation is the most practical part of any development project. In the particular case of Childhood and Youth Empowerment, we go to the four children’s centres an average of two hours per day, four days a week. The encounter with the children is a very significant moment, not just because we share laughs or shows of affection at the start or end of the session, but also because that is the space where we can achieve impact and start a process of development. Success in the project delivery is subject to our personal effort, the dedication we invested in the previous steps and on how much we can improve after evaluating and reflecting on our daily performances

It is easy to misunderstand the evaluation part as something that is done just at the end of the project, and which is just useful to show if our work was a success or a failure. However, in order to do a more rigorous analysis, it’s necessary to identify some indicators for crucial moments within the project: at the beginning, in the middle and at the end. For that reason, the team will use different assessment tools like observation diaries, comparison charts, interview videos, etc. We hope these techniques will improve the quality of our work and most importantly will guide us in finding out the best way to empower  the Bolivian children and young people with whom we work.

It usually happens that once we start to get the hang of using these tools and get used to the way of working it’s time to close the three-month project, due to the rotation of new volunteers. In spite of this, the Cohort 10 team of the Childhood and Youth Empowerment project wishes to give continuity to the project using this simple work structure - so that it can be used as an example for the future generations of volunteers that are going to be in charge of this important project, given that we work with people that in the years to come will be leaders of their own decisions and their own personal development.

Written by Alejandro Reque

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