Monday, July 20, 2009

Our Work on the Ground in Gigante

In January 2007 WOO Program Director Adam Monaghan moved to Gigante full time and began implementing our strategic model in earnest with the villagers. He spent the first half of the year making friends, promoting cross-cultural relations, and cultivating a reputation among the locals as a foreigner who is genuinely interested in creating opportunities for locally led development.

WOO Program Director Adam Monaghan talks with local community leaders as they work to repair the main road into town after flooding due to heavy rains

For two months in June and July 2007 he facilitated the Project Selection process where the villagers came together to discuss the past, present and future of Gigante in diverse forums such as open town meetings, individual house visits, and impromptu chats at the fish market, corner store or baseball field.

Adam and Project Manager Norma Prendiz hosting a town hall meeting about the Transportation Project in February 2008

Adam talks to the fans before taking the field to play second base for the Gigante baseball team in July 2008

During this course of events the Gigante citizens created a list of ten possible projects they desired to carry out with Project WOO’s help; the list included micro-loans to fishermen, teaching English, building a clinic, and public transportation, among others. By the end of July that year he and his local counterparts were already taking steps in the right direction with these achievements. They:

  1. Produced two key community diagnostic documents
  2. Identified local development goals
  3. Created a comprehensive list of potential projects
  4. Hosted a town hall meeting to democratically elect the town's priority project

Gigante community members gather for one of the WOO town hall meetings to voice their opinions about what projects they wanted to undertake

Coming out of the initial Community Entry, Diagnostics & Needs Assessment, and Project Selection phases of our program in Gigante it was clear that the community members had chosen to focus our joint development efforts in two key areas: transportation and education. Since that time the Project WOO staff has been working closely with local Gigante citizens, business leaders, students, teachers, government officials, development organizations, and donors to design, fund and implement our three current projects in Gigante:

  1. Transportation and Economic Development
  2. Elementary School Support and Teacher Training
  3. WOO After School Club

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