One major stakeholder for our project are the various women’s rights groups in the area. Since our main goal is to benefit the Paradise Village Women’s Co-op, it is natural that local groups that support women’s rights will have an interest in our endeavor. Our goal is to design and build these four machines that the women can use and eventually create products that can be sold and will provide an income equal to the minimum wage in the Philippines. Providing an additional income to marginalized women is an excellent way to empower them and to give them more agency in their life. Since local rights groups also strive to empower women and give them more agency, they would be a valuable asset to our project due to our closely aligned goals.
Another major stakeholder is the University of the Philippines. The various student led teams at the UPD have been closely involved in this project for a long time, and much like the Lehigh team, their motivation is to learn as well as to enact positive social impact on their local community.
The third major stakeholder in our project is the Catholic church. Similar to the various women’s support groups in the area, the Catholic Church seeks to aid those who have been marginalized by society, and will also be a very important ally to our team. The Church has a very strong impact on communities in the Philippines, and can provide extremely valuable insight into the culture and characteristics of Metro Manila.
The fourth stakeholder is the surrounding community in metro manila, Philippines. One of the major components to our project aside from empowering the marginalized women in the co-op is to create a means of recycling the plastic waste generated by the community, such as plastic water bottles, plastic bags, and other common plastic waste products. Ideally, our project would help the surrounding community by finding a use for the plastic waste, and create worthwhile artisan products that in turn make the community that much more “green”. The benefit of this project is that there are many different potential beneficiaries once our project gains solid footing in the area.
Lastly, the fifth stakeholder is the women’s co-op itself. Naturally it is in their best interest that the project will be a success because it would be an opportunity to greatly benefit the members of the co-op. It will be very important to maintain a good relationship with them to not only benefit the center, but to also provide the most effective learning environment for the students on our team. Ideally, our project would impact everyone in a positive way; it would benefit the local community’s plastic recycling efforts, it would provide an excellent real world learning experience to the student teams at Lehigh an UPD, and most importantly it would create a valuable means of providing an income for the women at the Paradise village Women’s center.
One way that we can validate our project and enhance our credibility over the course of the semester is to maintain a very close line of communication with all of the major stakeholders in our project field. It is extremely important that we share our findings with the student teams at the University of the Philippines and vice versa. After all, we are splitting up the machine designs and therefore must coordinate our efforts to ensure that the project is a success. Having a tangible line of communication and collaboration with UPD will validate our team;s project as we will have not only contributed to our own research, but we will have also contributed to an international research effort as well.
Another means of validating our project and boosting our credibility is to keep track of our accomplishments and to set a reasonable schedule over the course of the semester. Having a tangible set of goals that we can gauge our successes along the way will prove to be an invaluable benchmarking tool and will show others that we are actually on our way to accomplishing the overall project goals that we set out to achieve.
Lastly, the third way to ensure that the work we are putting into our project is worthwhile and credible is to create actual prototype recycled plastic products while we are still in the United States. It is very important that we create test product designs before going abroad, for several reasons. First, we do not want to waste any of the limited time that we have abroad, and it is important not to waste any of that time tinkering with prototype designs. We should have a list of products nailed down so that we can hit the ground running and start training the women at the women’s co-op to use the machinery immediately.