Rural Pulse: Understand Existing Cultures
Working in rural communities requires a special kind of finesse. So what should your participation in community development be like?
We asked Maureen Bii, the founder of Kipkogo Ogiek Women Empowerment (KOWEP), and a native of Ogiek, an indigenous community of hunter-gatherers, what community development should really look like. Here is what she has to say to people looking to work in rural communities:
My advice to them is to first have a passion for the community where they come from and be the change they want to see instead of running away and neglecting their communities. They need to understand the existing cultures and how to work with the members as well as understanding their needs. They should be people of good social standing. This helps to convince the members to join your cause and support your idea.
It is very important to involve them in the decision-making process and this will help them own the idea you are putting across. It will not work out when someone starts projects without the blessings from the community; they will feel that you’re shoving things into their throats.
They should be clear with their intentions as most people think that such ideas are used to benefit individuals rather than the whole community.
You can read our full interview with Maureen here