Community Mapping: An entire village on the floor

5th November 2016

The experience at Simaltar:

Following a morning of mobilizing to make the community aware of the mapping events, the volunteers spent their early afternoon collecting resources for the event. They gathered a few stones, leaves and twigs (to symbolise houses, toilets and handwashing stations respectively) to use in construction of a map of their community, as a part of their Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) work. The morning’s mobilizing had proved successful, as lots of happy and enthusiastic community members arrived to begin making the map of their village.

As everyone gathered, all the individuals registered their names and refreshments were offered by the volunteers. Using the floor of the community hall as the first base to draw the map, the youths of Simaltar took the lead, drawing the roads, river and stairs with chalk and charcoal, and placing rocks, leaves and twigs in the appropriate places. It was fantastic to see the excited youngsters involved in drawing the whole map themselves. The volunteers and villagers then worked together, using the map on the floor, to draw the entire village of Simaltar successfully onto paper, which the volunteers will now be able to use to plan future projects and activities. The event was a great experience for everyone involved, and the volunteers came away with a better understanding of the community and the community’s needs, as well a great sense of community integration.

a mapped out Simaltar
a mapped out Simaltar

The experience at Ghantikhola:

Similar to the event in Simaltar, the volunteers gathered resources for their mapping event whilst hiking up to Dhan Bahadur Thapa (a Ghantikhola local)’s house. Slowly individuals from the upper and lower belt arrived at the house to take part in the event. After a briefing of what was to be done, the villagers started to draw houses, toilets, taps and water tanks in the dry mud by using different symbols. After some time, the whole of Ghantikhola had been mapped on the ground.

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As the event came to an end, the mother of the house offered the volunteers and villagers attending, what we thought was a refreshing snack of large lemons. However, much to the horror of the volunteers, they soon announced that ten pieces of fruit had been mixed with 51 chopped chillies. The villagers found the response of the volunteers hilarious until they tried the fruit themselves. The event ended on a high, and although the language barrier was a bit of a challenge, the volunteers felt as though they had been successfully welcomed into the community of Ghantikhola.

The participation of 47 locals in Simaltar and 35 in Ghantikhola proved that the community mapping event was a real success, and left the Raleigh volunteers feeling positively motivated and uplifted for their remaining time in the community.

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-written by In-country volunteer Roshni, and UK volunteers Harriet, Sarah, and Constance (November Charlie 5)


Youth Economic Empowerment Nepal