Nepal ICS

Centre of attraction

21st March 2017

Community mapping is one of the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques that kills two birds with one stone. Where it helps our volunteers to identify the location of resources available in the community, it also serves as a good opportunity to integrate with the local people. Thomas, a UK volunteers from November Charlie 6 shares his experience of how they became the centre of attraction, despite the initial lack of participation by the locals, when they decided to hold a community mapping event in Dumrekuna.

For our first workshop with the community of Dumrekuna, we decided to conduct a social mapping of the village. This is where local people would create a miniature version of their area themselves, out of a variety of bits and bobs that we could get our hands on (twigs, dirt, etc.)

The day before, we had walked around the village inviting a range of people that have a balanced demographic at the workshop, and we thought that we had a solid group of people who said they would attend the next day at 11:00. We arrived at 10:15 the next day to set up early, and then we waited. 11:00- nobody was there. 11:15- two women slowly arrived and took a seat. 11:25- one woman gets bored and leaves. At 11:40 we probably had about six people at the workshop, as well as a few kids playing nearby, and a group of older men sitting nearby playing cards. We decided to just start.

In-country volunteer, Nabin, waits for the participants to arrive

A pebble was placed down, this was the house that we were hosting the workshop at (a host father for some of the members). A road was sprinkled down in dirt at the front of his house, and outline of the immediate vicinity began to appear. The more that people drew, the larger the crowd surrounding the map became. The detail of the map accelerated exponentially, as well as people’s involvement in creating it. People were gathering their own item to be added to the map- bowls, saplings, tika. Details were being changed up to the last moments of the workshop, and by the end, the crowd seemed rather pleased with their creation.

I’m not sure how many of the people that we invited came, or who was actually supposed to be there, but it reminded me about how curious people get when a crowd begins to form.

Written by UK volunteer, Thomas (November Charlie 6)

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