Innovative Development Program Design
Days after finishing our sessions on Innovative Development Program Design in the Rotary Peace Fellowship at Chulalongkorn University, the words of Professor Kai Brand Jacobsen came to mind over and over again.
I was in Chocó, the jungle of the Colombian Pacific region. A territory historically marked by violence between guerrillas, drug trafficking, and illegal mining, but with a very high potential for social change. The area has one of the most biodiverse territories in the world, and its talented and friendly people are living by abandoning that history marked by violence to develop tourism and culture in their territory.
Any intervention or social program that we want to generate peacebuilding and a high social impact in communities must be carefully planned. It is necessary to know the history of the community, their interests, what they face in their day and day, and respect their culture and traditions so that they can take ownership of the program and the changes can be sustainable over time.
In the sessions we had with Professor Jacobsen during our program, we talked about how to carry out project planning, the logical framework, and formulate the theory of change in our social interventions for peacebuilding. And although many of these processes or tools are commonly used in our organizations, it was fascinating and enriching to study them from another perspective.
In this program, we discuss how the tools of design, implementation monitoring, evaluation, and learning in a project should be used not only to guarantee the efficiency of the activities that we are going to carry out in the territory but it is also essential to use them to promote a process of integration of the community, they should be the ones who come up with their solutions and who manage them. Only in this way can we strengthen the social fabric that, in the long run, will be what guarantees sustainable peace.
Before my experience with Professor Jacobsen and my fellow Rotary Peace Fellows, all these tools were a desk job for me; they rarely accompanied me to the territory, to day-to-day work in the community. Today I can see the integration between these processes and the value they have for us as social organizations, for our projects, and, most importantly, for our beneficiaries.
Maria Gabriela Arenas – Venezuela – Colombia
Rotary Peace Fellow – Class 31