Lots of programs or international projects scheme has been implemented during the last two decades but seemingly in-effective or no significant impacts recorded. Problems found during the implementation, which is more complex than ever. The involvement of NGO facilitators in project has not been successful. This situation cannot be separated from the perspective and the capacity of NGOs, donor and government staff itself.
NGO for example, as a “space filler” between community organizations and government, their capacity apparently is a key factor to test how capable they are in mediating the situation in the community when dealing with outsiders.
If the example of “village” as an arena or battle field of ideas of development, many examples from the field prove that often face a complex situation coming from both villager or from outsider.
For example; perhaps there are those among us (on behalf of the provincial department of education unit) if come to the village will ask, “what is the main problems in the village.” Because the visitors dress uniform from Education Office, villagers will certainly say “no school or no teachers.”
And, when someone comes and asking, -say the forestry official uniform-.”What is the main problems of this village?” Of course with spontaneous community (which could be the same person in the first case, would say, “We need seed or pine trees”, for example.
Staff or the community facilitators cannot dismiss an answer like this because community has been accustomed the problem and asked “what do you need?” “What exactly this village needs.”
How do I avoid if there is such a thing? To avoid this, let say, what is the best question or fit? It is clear that the outlook and good communication techniques of facilitators from NGOs or frontline staff need to be a common concern.
A friend who had some experience with the villagers might be very easy to approach and to develop the ideas. As usual, when you come to the village and meeting with them, just introduce and ask with a fine, polite and appropriate.
Start with a very short question, “what are you doing, what is this”. If you see they are gardening ask the names of plants and how much came from each type of plant, and so on. Maybe after that will come the others and they all happy to explain and as facilitators we just need to develop questions than explain.
If citizens are asked whether “problem” of course they will solid in answering, “yes that is my problem”. So please don’t ask them about their problem!