7 Day Live Workshop in Guatemala: Participants Developed Successful International Project Designs

7 Day Live Workshop in Guatemala: Participants Develop Successful International Project Designs.
DIPLOMA 340: Blended Online/Live Workshop Training Program
Designing & Funding Sustainable, Community Based Adaptation Projects
Guatemala Live International Training Workshop Held in Guatemala
Oscar Recinos with community member during the participatory needs assessment.
The live workshop that began on September 28 in Guatemala was a wonderful success. We had participants from Europe, North America, and Latin America.

As the week long live workshop was part of the two-month long blended training program some participants did two needs assessments in communities in their home countries. Other participants came to Guatemala two days early and did their needs assessments in a Guatemalan community partnering with a local Guatemalan NGO: Fundasistemas.

The workshop kicked off on Saturday, 28 September in a community called Union Huistas—a 45 minute drive southwest of Antigua, Guatemala, on the Pacific Ocean side of an active volcano called Fuego (Fire)
Union Huista A Community of 134 Coffee Farming Families
A map of the community and indicating where hazards cause the most damage
The 134 families that live in this community are coffee farmers – and were represented in the two needs assessments by 14 members of the community—one half of them women and one half of them men. These families were displaced during Guatemala Civil War in the 1980s and were unable to return to their farmlands at the end of the Civil War—so the government relocated them in 1998 to this new village location.

The two needs assessments were facilitated by Oscar Recinos of FundaSistemas and Tim Magee of the Center for Sustainable Development.

10 Seed technique Identifying and Prioritizing Community Need
Woman voting during the workshop to prioritize community need.
The first needs assessment was a participatory needs assessment using the 10 seed technique to discover and prioritize basic community and family needs. The 14 community representatives were able to discuss different needs within the community. We listed the needs that they described (12 needs were agreed upon as being the most important for voting purposes)and at the end of approximately 2 hours when they had exhausted their ideas we transferred them to a large sheet of paper. Each of the participants was then given 10 coffee beans to use as voting tokens to be placed on the needs that were the most important to them. They could put all 10 tokens on one need—or they could distribute them between several different needs.
The prioritized needs were then listed – and then the participants discussed them for another hour to make sure that they were comfortable with the prioritization as shown with the number of votes each challenge received:

  • 42. Health challenges
  • 25. Reduced family incomes
  • 20. Low quality of education for their children
  • 17. Lack of potable water
  • 16. Lack of a proper office and equipment for their coffee cooperative
  • 8. The lack of development of new income generating projects
  • 8. Reduced coffee production
  • 5. The need to form a women’s association to encourage income generation
  • 5. Insufficient housing for all of the families
  • 5. The lack of an easily navigable road to the nearest town
  • 1. Malnutrition
  • 0. Lack of proper drainage for gray water and sewerage
PCVA Identifying Climate Hazards and Community Vulnerabilities
Tim Magee and the prioritized results of the needs assessment.
The second assessment is called a Participatory Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment—and is designed to find out from community members what sorts of hazards they face. These could include earthquakes, flooding, fire, or torrential storms. We were also interested in finding out their perception of changing climatic conditions.
PCVA Process Mapping, the Annual Calendar, and the Historical Timeline
Community members developing a PCVA analysis.
The weekend workshop had four components—three for gathering information in the fourth for compiling the information:
  1. Developing a seasonal calendar of typical events that happen within the year of the community.
  2. Drawing a map of the community and indicating where hazards cause the most damage.
  3. Developing a historical timeline of hazards and events that may have changed, intensified, or become more frequent over time.
  4. Compiling this information to show which hazards have the most impact on which aspects of the community members lives.
Problem Tree Monday: Compiling the Prioritized Community Challenges
Detail of prioritized needs assessment.
On Monday morning the official workshop began with participants either bringing their needs assessments from their own villages or from the two day pre-workshop session in Union Huista. The first thing that we did was for each team to compile the information from their assessments into a simple project outline which defined the main problems, their underlying causes—and their negative impacts. Over the course of two days the teams investigated scientific climate information for their community’s location and compared it to the local knowledge collected from their community members. The teams then began researching evidence-based solutions to their community’s challenges and expanded their project outline to include these solutions. We have chosen to feature three Guatemalan teams and their three different project outlines.
Guatemala Team One: Lea Ritter (Guatemala/Germany) and Jesus Gomez Sanchez de la Fuente(Spain/US)
Team One: Lea Ritter (Guatemala/Germany) and Jesus Gomez Sanchez de la Fuente(Spain/US).
Team one focused on a project designed to improve coffee production using:
  1. A Climate Smart Coffee Production Practices Program.
  2. A program for farmer adaptation to climate change increased leaf rust fungus.
  3. An Alternative Income Generation Program for the New Women’s Association.
Guatemala Team Two: María Lucrecia Morataya (Guatemala/Fundaeco)
Team Two: María Lucrecia Morataya (Guatemala/Fundaeco) with Tim Magee.
Team two focused on health and hygiene challenges, low income levels within the community and malnutrition using the following solution oriented programs:
  1. Health and hygiene program.
  2. A water harvesting program.
  3. A climate smart agricultural program.
  4. An agricultural income generation program.
Guatemala Team Three: Oscar Recinos(Guatemala) and Angelito Narciso (Philippines/Canada)
Team Three: Oscar Recinos(Guatemala) and Angelito Narciso (Philippines/Canada)
Team three focused their solution oriented programs on community wide health challenges:
  1. A water use management plan.
  2. A community health center program.
  3. A community-based solid waste management program.
The last two days of the workshop focused on developing project management and funding tools which included a full log frame, a monitoring and evaluation plan, a project budget, and the project schedule. Each team also wrote a two-page letter of inquiry for presenting their project to a donor.
Teams then developed detailed plans for developing community project co-management committees and workshop plans for program activities which will be used to launch the project with capacity building workshops.
Finally we developed simplified monitoring and evaluation plans—and project management plans to be given to the community when our funding cycles end and we hand over the project to community members. This will help ensure the long-term sustainability and positive impact for continuing project activities.
After the workshop ended and participants returned home, they will spend the next month implementing the workshops that they developed during the live training program. This will include setting up the community management committees and developing a partnership relationship with them, and launching the first workshops. Examples could be initiating the development of a water management plan or starting the first activities in a climate smart agricultural plan that you can see in the participants example project outlines.
Everyone agreed the workshop was a success. They found the process of developing projects based on community identified need was very viable and that using evidence-based activities as solutions for the community’s challenges proved a strong step toward positive impact. Forming project implementation partnerships with the community management committees will lead to long-term sustainability.
Learn more about our next 2 month blended training programs coming up in January:
Oscar Recinos facilitating a needs assessment during the workshop.
This blended training program includes 5 days in the field.
In this training we will lead you through the development of a real project, in real time, in a real village, and leave you with the practical field tools to sustain it. Follow link for detailed syllabus.
  1. Conduct a participatory needs assessment with a community in your own country in preparation for the workshop—guided by CSDi staff.
  2. Upon arriving at the workshop, use the needs assessment to begin the development of a complete, fundable, launchable project in this 5-day training workshop.
  3. Return home and launch your project with the continued guidance of your CSDi workshop leader.
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If you have a question don’t hesitate to contact us at: Online.Learning@TimMagee.net.
The Center for Sustainable Development specializes in providing sound, evidence-based information, tools and training for humanitarian development professionals worldwide. CSDi is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
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