OL 101 Assignment Four Discussion
Online Learning: OL 101 Sustainable Development
Center for Sustainable Development


This week’s resources:
Assignment Four Homework
The Best 100 Sustainable Development Student Projects
Magee Example Project
Assignment 4 Family Garden Field Guide Example

Assignment 4. Will the community buy into it?
Asking for feedback from your community, writing a ¾ page field guide on one simple activity, and assessing expertise.
By now your project is beginning to take shape.

Part one. You last saw your community a month ago after completing the participatory needs assessment. Although they had an idea of what kind of project you might be developing, your project has progressed tremendously since then. It would be a very good idea to return to the community, just for a short meeting, to let them see how the project has evolved before you invest more time in it.

Meeting with the community at this stage will let you see if you’ve accidently designed any cultural taboos into the project. But it also has a larger purpose, and that is that as you are seeking their comments, they are beginning to feel a sense of increasing ownership of the project. They will perceive this not as an outsider presenting a canned project to them, but as someone who’s working on their behalf following their suggestions.

This buy in is absolutely paramount in the long-term sustainability of the outcomes of the project. If they like what they see as the project design evolves, and truly feel that it was based upon their ideas, they are going to protect and take care of the outcomes long after you’re gone.

Part two. The second part of your assignment for the week is to pick one extremely simple activity from your Assignment Two project outline and write a step-by-step guide about how to implement this activity.

My suggestion would be to talk your way through the description as if you are discussing it with someone — and then simply write down what you say. Don’t overlook the opportunity of using resources from the Internet that you may have discovered when you were searching for your scientific papers last week. You might have found a guide that had already been written and that you could simply modify and adapt it for your region.

The guide which we’re writing this week is quite important because it means that if your project is successful, your organization can scale it up in other communities by using your guide for replicating the project. It also leads to the sustainability of your organization: if you leave, they will have documentation on the project.

Part three. Part Three of this assignment is to make a list of aspects of your project activities where you and your NGO have no experience nor expertise. This course is all about “What works in development?” So we want to make sure that each activity has someone in charge who has the expertise to make it successful — and sustainable.

What expertise do you need to implement your project?
What expertise do you have?
What expertise do you need to acquire?
Where can you get it?

Okay click on homework for Assignment Four to get started.

Tim Magee